Banana-Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
I know what you are thinking… banana-chocolate chip bread pudding sounds too good to be true. Well, that’s at least what I thought when I first saw the recipe in Veganomicon (I’ve been cooking through this book a lot lately!). I had been waiting for months to try this recipe and now looking back, don’t understand why I waited so long! Even though I had never made bread pudding before, I found this recipe to be simple and easy to execute. The bananas work really well in the recipe and they are a fun twist to this traditional dessert. Who would have thought that stale bread could turn into something so good??
The next time I make this recipe, I will only change one thing: use only half the amount of chocolate chips. I never thought in a million years that I would be calling for less chocolate, but my husband and I agree that the bread pudding was just a bit too rich for our taste. It would also be fun to toss some walnuts in next time. This bread pudding serves as an excellent dessert and it would also be great for brunch or a special breakfast.
6 cups (1 inch cubed) stale bread (about 1 pound)*
2 1/4 cups unsweetened rice, soy, or almond milk
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder or tapioca flour (I could only find tapioca flour)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 or 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
3 large ripe bananas, cut 1/2-inch thick
*I used french bread, but any good, crusty bread will work for this recipe!
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (I think a square 9 x 9-inch cake pan would work as well). In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk and the tapioca flour until no lumps remain. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg and whisk to mix thoroughly.
Place the stale, cubed bread in a large bowl and pour the non-dairy milk mixture over the bread, making sure to cover every piece. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes, so the bread can soak up the liquid. Depending on what kind of bread you used and how stale it is, add more non-dairy milk, 1/4 cup at a time. Allow the mixture to sit until every piece of bread is saturated and there’s a little bit of extra liquid in the bowl. The mixture will look mushy and wet.
Fold in the chocolate chips and bananas using your hands, mashing the bananas slightly. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and pat down to make an even top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is puffed, slightly browned, and feels firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Refrigerate leftovers covered or in an air-tight container. Enjoy!