As much as I desperately want slightly cooler weather and very distinct signs of winter, Los Angeles refuses to cooperate. We’re supposed to be under the raging grip of El Niño, but if you ask me, it’s been quite anti-climatic. At least in my part of town. There have definitely been issues in regions of California–eroding coastlines,flooded highways, heavy snowstorms–but this past weekend, in my hood, the temp was in the low 80s. That’s not winter if you ask me. But it’s what we have, so what can you do? All I can do is keep eating all of my favorite winter foods, even when the mercury is high. So bread pudding is here to save the day. Because with bread pudding, it can feel like winter no matter what’s going on outdoors.
Bread pudding is one of those desserts you will see on many menus this time of year. It’s warm, sweet, comforting and, of course, made with almost any kind of bread you can imagine. It’s a carb-lover’s dream. In my opinion, bread pudding works best with something buttery, so I love versions that use brioche or challah. Or, in this case, King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. They’re buttery for sure, with a natural sweetness that makes them perfect for baked goods recipes.
This bread pudding not only features the original maker of sweet rolls, but it’s also a showcase of coconut and chocolate, each two ways. Three, if you count the cocoa powder that flavors the custard base. The coconut cream gives the custard a signature flavor, and the toasted coconut flakes on top add texture and a bit of a crunch. Following a recent trip to the island of Oahu, I felt like this was the perfect time to share a Hawaiian-inspired bread pudding that reminds you of winter, no matter how much the sun may be shining.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 1 package original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
- 1¼ cups canned coconut cream*
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped
- ½ cup white chocolate chips, roughly chopped
- 1 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat an 8”x12” baking dish (9”x13” will also work) with cooking spray. Set aside. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Cut each roll into 8 chunks. Place the squares of bread on the prepared sheet tray, and slide the tray into the oven. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until browned, tossing halfway through. Remove from the oven, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, cocoa powder and salt until smooth.
- Transfer the bread to the prepared baking dish, and top with the chopped chocolates and ¾ cup of the coconut. Toss lightly to combine and evenly spread out the ingredients. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down to be sure everything is coated. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge overnight, up to 12 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread pudding for 40-45 minutes or until set along the edges and slightly wiggly in the center. Remove from the oven, and top with the remaining coconut. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
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