Double Dose of Desserts: Panettone Bread Pudding w/ Amaretto Sauce and Red Velvet Cupcakes

The holidays are such a special time of year, family, friends, parties, that magical spirit and the food!!! Let’s think back on how hard we’ve all worked this past year and reward ourselves with some luscious treats. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ll be coming back with some healthy eats after we indulge for the holidays, but yes, since it’s the holidays, here’s a little cheat, times two!

I have to credit my Auntie Nina for introducing me to this amazing bread pudding. The family looks forward to it at every holiday party! It’s based off Giada’s Panettone Bread Pudding, but instead of the traditional Italian fruit-filled bread, we use chocolate! I made a few adjustments based off the reviews and also doubled the Amaretto Sauce because it’s better to have extra! (Tip: I recommend drying the bread the day before, so plan ahead!)

The Red Velvet recipe is one that I found online on http://www.carrottopmom.com. It’s based off the Sprinkles recipe. It’s absolutely delicious and so moist. I made a tiny adjustment to the sugar in the cream cheese frosting, but other than that, it’s perfect!

-Mel

Health tips: Cheat recipes!

Panettone Bread Pudding Ingredients (8-10 servings)

Amaretto Sauce

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

Bread Pudding

  • 1 (2-pound) loaf chocolate chip Panettone bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (Tip: My Auntie Nina also adds some chocolate truffle; If you can’t find a chocolate chip Panettone bread, you can use the traditional fruit-filled bread, just add chocolate chips, and truffle if desired!); I used Trader Joe’s seasonal chocolate mocha bread with coffee cream, so it was just perfect!
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2-1 cup sugar (Tip: I only used 1/2 cup since my bread was filled with chocolate chips and coffee cream. Adjust as needed. You may want to use up to 1 cup if you are only using the fruit-filled bread with added chocolate chips)

Steps

  1. The day before, place the cubed bread on a baking rack or baking sheet to dry out before you prepare the next day. It will soak up the custard much better.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. To make the sauce: Bring the cream, milk, and sugar to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, mix the amaretto and cornstarch to blend and then whisk into the cream mixture. Simmer over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. (The amaretto sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)
  4. To make the bread pudding: Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread cubes in the prepared dish. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, and sugar to blend. Pour the custard over the bread cubes, and press the bread cubes gently to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes, occasionally pressing the bread cubes into the custard mixture. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
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  7. Bake until the pudding puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly. Spoon the bread pudding into bowls, drizzle with the warm Amaretto sauce, and serve.
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Red Velvet Cupcakes Ingredients (24 servings)

Cupcake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice)
  • 1 ounce red food coloring
  • 4 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cold
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 12 ounces confectioners’ sugar (approximately 3 cups)

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
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  3. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  4. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Gently remove from oven (these are super-moist, and will collapse if you aren’t careful). Cool in pans on wire rack at least 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
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  6. To make the frosting: In the meantime, with a high-powered mixer (stand up mixer if you have one) beat COLD cream cheese, butter, sour cream and Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl, and beat again. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Once smooth, turn beaters to high, and whip on high for 5 minutes, until very fluffy.
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  8. Once the cupcakes are totally cooled, frost the cupcakes generously and spread with a knife in a pretty wavy pattern. I don’t like too much frosting so the proportions in the recipe are perfect for me. I decorated with some simple green sprinkles to compliment the red cake for the holidays. Enjoy! (Tip: If you want a lot of frosting, piled high, double the recipe and pipe on in a swirly pattern, with a bag or piping tool.)
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