The words 'Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich Bread Pudding with a Dark Caramel Sauce' left me utterly speechless. That's not possible. That can't exist. Does that exist??? No. It's got to be an urban myth. It's one of those 'fountain of youth' mysteries or one of those stories where hikers in the mountains of Washington discover large mysterious footprints. It's not real. It can't be... right?
And in the words of the late great somebody:
"The proof is in the pudding."
Coming across this recipe, I felt like it was my own little secret. I read it in the way you hang onto every word of Harry Potter or like the way I know with certainty Ryan Reynolds wants me, too. Nobody else could have a connection like I did to this recipe. Nobody else would love it as much. It was mine.
It was with the grandest but most solemn excitement that I went to the store & bought bananas. I bought heavy cream. I bought salted peanuts and buttermilk bread. (Buttermilk!? Titillating). I paid my money and couldn't get home fast enough. I laid out the ingredients before me and my eyes were wild with anticipation. I was Sebastian from 'The Never Ending Story' wanting so desperately to finish my sandwich while knowing we still had a journey ahead of us. 'Not too much.' I took a deep breath.
I put some music on-- a mix of Taylor Swift (for realsies I totes can't help it), classic rock and Top 40. They might as well have been hymns.
And you guys...
HOLY TAYLOR SWIFT BALLS.
I lovingly cut off the crusts of eight pieces of buttermilk bread. I slathered every piece with peanut butter and bananas. I combined two pieces together into a gratuitous mess of 4 Elvis-inspired delicious piles.
Then I hacked each loaded sandwich into 1-inch bits like a maniacal serial killer with a hunger lust for peanut butter.
I whipped up the filling: heavy cream, sugar and eggs? Ahh, simplicity! You delicious mistress. I took these bits and stuffed them into any kind of ramekin-esque dish I could find and poured the creamy mixture over each until it was gone. And then, and then...
I APPLIED THE STREUSEL TOPPING!
STREUSEL TOPPING!!?? HA, HA, HA!!! Yes, dear readers! Oh yes!!! It is with a great relief and joy that I can finally share this with you. My heart is so full... Right before popping these stuffed dishes into the oven, you apply a crunchy peanut butter streusel topping. I know! It's madness! Sweet, sweet madness!
My heart cup ranneth (?) over...
I did this with every dish until they were complete.
I basked in their glory.
I let them sit overnight...
And then I burnt some caramel.
(I remade that).
But then it happened. The next day I put them in the oven and when the timer went off, I lost my mind. Wait five minutes? WAIT FIVE MINUTES!? Wait an ETERNITY more like it. I had lost my ever loving mind!!! Sebastian was gone and Dr. Frankenstein was in! It was madness! What had I created!!?? WHAT HAD I CREATED!!!???
As I poured the caramel onto the top and dove in the only thought that played through my mind was, 'WHAT HAVE I DONE!? WHAT HAVE I DONE!? WHAT HAVE I DONE!!???" With each bite...
'WHAT HAVE I DONE!!??'
'WHAT HAVE I DONE!!???'
'WHAT HAVE I DONE!!!???????????'
'WHAT IS THIS THING!?
THIS BLESSED MONSTER!?'
My mind was a whirlpool of creamy, crunchy, sweet and salty ecstasy. My eyes became sleepy and hazy. The world began to whirl around me... and with my last spoonful... I passed out.
I look back on last weekend and the experience I had. I can't help but wonder if I didn't imagine it all. Was it real? Was it 'just a dream?' I don't know, Carrie Underwood, I really don't know. But I go forward with courage, a hint of sadness-- because truly, how many moments do we get to live in such a delicious state of present-ness? But I also go forward in hope. Hope not only for myself but for the future. Because if a terminator-- I mean if Southern Living can learn the value of human life-- I mean delicious bread pudding... maybe we can, too.
RECIPE FOR MADNESS
BREAD PUDDING INGREDIENTS:
8 buttermilk bread slices, crusts removed
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 bananas thinly sliced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 3/4 cup whipping cream
PEANUT BUTTER STREUSEL INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. butter
2 T. creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
(**you can probably also just use crunchy peanut butter to substitute the salted nuts, though 'salted nuts' are much more fun to say).
DARK CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
(**you can also substitute caramel ice cream topping if you're in a rush!)
1 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
- Spread all bread slices with peanut butter. Top 4 bread peanut butter covered slices with bananas. Make into four sandwiches. Cut sandwiches into 1-inch pieces. Place in 8 lightly greased (8-oz.) ramekins. (I used various casserole dishes & whatever small dishes that were oven-safe).
- Make the streusel. Stir together flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Cut in butter and peanut butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in peanuts. Set aside.
- Make the creamy filling: Whisk together eggs and sugars. Then whisk in whipping cream. Gradually pour mixture over sandwich pieces until they are full. Sprinkle with Peanut Butter Streusel Topping. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.
- Make caramel filling: Cook sugar in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until sugar caramelizes. Tilt and swirl sugar around. Stir in whipping cream. (Mixture will bubble and harden.) Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture melts and begins to boil (about 5 minutes). Quickly pour sauce into a bowl; stir in vanilla, and salt. Let cool 15 minutes. (You can make this up to 3 weeks in advance. To reheat, cook uncovered in a microwave for about 10-15 seconds & give it a good stir. Leftovers are great in homemade lattes). :)