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Easiest Eggnog Bread Pudding

eggnog bread puddingSometimes, the humblest recipes are the tastiest, and no dessert is more humble than—or as tasty as—a simple bread pudding. Bread + egg + milk + sugar = pure bliss.

There are, of course, a million ways to spice up bread pudding. Some recipes turn this homey, quick-to-make treat into a tour-de-force dessert. While I get a kick out of those recipes (hello Dulce de Leche & Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding), I always return to simple tweaks that reinvent the humble classic. And for the holidays, my tweak is as simple as it gets: substitute your favorite eggnog for milk.

Just this one switch gives bread pudding a cozy, holiday flavor that can’t be beat. And, just like with any other basic bread pudding recipe, you can add whatever else that you like. Cinnamon, bourbon, pecans, golden raisins—they all work beautifully. Whether stripped down or pimped out, eggnog bread pudding makes a great addition to pie on any holiday dessert table. (Or save this for the day after the big holiday meal and use your leftover, day old bread!)

Easiest Eggnog Bread Pudding
serves 6-8

8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), melted
8 c cubed, day old bread (I like using a French loaf)
4 c eggnog (homemade or store bought; with or without alcohol)
3 eggs
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 c sugar*, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c pecans, optional
1/2 c golden raisins, optional
cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Pour melted butter over day old bread in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine until the bread soaks up all of the butter.

2. Whisk together eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, sugar and vanilla. Pour mixture over buttered bread. Stir in pecans and raisins. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

3. In the meantime, butter an 11×7 baking pan. Pour in bread mixture. Sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon, and bake for about 40 minutes. Keep in mind that baking time is variable depending on the size of your baking pan. The pudding is done with the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

*Note: Store bought and many homemade eggnogs are quite sweet. But, if using a eggnog that isn’t sweet, you may want to increase the sugar by half as much.

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