Potato Cheddar + Onion Focaccia

Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

Here we are in the third chapter of the Holiblogs (holiday blogs) with Olaiya from Milly's Kitchen. Originally I had a completely different idea for this post. But then– bread happened. Okay wait, first my period happened and then bread happened. Because I want one hundred slices of bread, then chocolate (and repeat for five days) during my period. And just like that, the universe demanded it from me. And when the universe (or your period, is it the same thing?) requests bread so intensely, you do not refuse. Olaiya has brought us a slow roasted pork this week, but more importantly some pertinent questions to ponder over the holidays regarding what truly feels good and what we do out of habit or obligation. If you are feeling stressed and running on autopilot, take five minutes and give it a full-attention read. In the same vein, I've got some more holiday party tips in this post that help you plan a menu with the goal of ease. Let's remove the stress around entertaining and bring it back to some good old fashioned fun and wearing lamp shades on our heads. 

This week I'm bringing you an easy-to-make potato cheddar focaccia. Bread is more than a food. To me, it's the most human of all foods because of the history, love and comfort that radiate from every loaf.  We share more than food with people when we “break bread"– we share time, an experience and thoughts or ideas. Someone's “bread and butter" is their livelihood or sustenance. “A crust of bread" has sustained countless people throughout human existence. There is nothing more I love than a warm slice bread with a pad of butter and sprinkle of salt. It never gets dull because it's simple in the most delicious way. Imagine a world without sandwiches, pizza, bagels, or cake. And what would we do without avocado toast?! I mean, I don't even want to think about it.

Bread is a perfect addition to any holiday feast, a snack between meals or a gift for a gathering. This is a no nonsense bread. It's uncomplicated and a success every time. You can change up the toppings with whatever you like. It's dairy free with removal of the cheese, bacon is always welcome or a simple herb/spice mixture on top will do fine. 

Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

Holiday Party Tips (section three)

 

Planning The Menu

The most important thing about creating a menu is to plan ahead. This results in less stress, more time and energy to enjoy yourself with loved ones. I say less is more at a dinner party. Keep it simple and consider the following when planning your menu.

Will the menu be seasonal or is there a theme?

Are you going for your traditional holiday foods? Or from somewhere else? How about Swedish Christmas? Smorgasbords, baked goods with cardamom, glogg, meatballs, pickled herring and gravlax. Or if you're feeling those English vibes– yorkshire puddings, a turkey (or roast) + gravy, pigs in a blanket and a classic Christmas pudding for dessert. One year my family did a Seafood Christmas. We shucked oysters, seared scallops and shrimp with lots of sauces and fresh salads. It was a nice change from turkey dinner and took very little time to prepare. Plus we didn't end up in a turkey-potato-wine induced coma. A theme is a good place to start if you're feeling lost.

What is your budget?

This feels like a hinderance when I'm initially dreaming up my diamond crusted lobsters with caviar served in a shark's mouth (for effect!). But deciding on a budget can be fun because you have a chance to be creative within a limit. Many low cost dishes can be impressive without being labour intensive. You can opt for cheaper cuts of meat and stew them down for hours so they melt in your mouth. Add small amounts of high flavour ingredients like capers, bacon, infused oils, etc. Although these things can be a little more expensive, small amounts go a long way.

Are there any dietary restrictions of guests?

(More mentioned in section one of Holiday Party Tips). Making dietary adjustments to dishes can be easy and a good learning experience. Many dishes can easily become dairy free, gluten free, nut free etc.

Number of guests

This will help you decide what style of food to serve. Any more than four people and I opt with serve-yourself-style meals. Almost all the prep and cooking is done before the arrival of guests. Food can be dished on to plates in the kitchen if space is tight. More than six people and I like paper plates and platter style foods with simple drinks (wine/beer or punchbowl) opposed to making cocktails. All the food can be laid out before everyone arrives and at most heat up a dish or two when ready to eat. This cheeseball from the previous post is perfect for any size gathering and works as an appetizer or part of the spread.

What can be prepared before the gathering?

A good goal is to spread out the work so you don't become overwhelmed or too tired to enjoy yourself. Plan a meal where all the shopping is done at once, prepare a few dishes (or at least parts of them) before the day of the party. It is best to plan for dishes that are easy to cook or assemble the day of. Then you can focus on other things like cleaning up, adding decorations or picking a great playlist.

How many dishes to serve

This all depends on what kind of food you serve. If choosing platter foods you can have as many items as you like as they're served cold or at room temperature. Make sure the flavours match well as people will put a little of everything on their plates. If making a full dinner, I suggest one main and two sides. People always prefer a few delicious dishes, opposed to an array of mediocre ones. You can have small plates such as olives, pickles, bread or cheese to start. All can be arranged before guests arrives. Consider buying one element of the meal locally (eg. a dessert from the great bakery down the road) to save yourself some time and energy.

How to create contrast in meals

Contrast is key. Always consider your colours and textures throughout the meal planning. Most brown foods are delicious, but nothing looks more frumpy than a plate of soft beige and brown foods. Choose foods with an array of colours. Suggestions:

  • Add chopped green herbs or green onions to a bland coloured dish.

  • Slices or wheels of citrus can brighten a plate.

  • Radish in a salad makes for complimentary colours while also adding a crisp texture.

  • Top meats with a sauce for flavour and colour.

Texture + Flavour

Think about having a variety of textures like soft, crunchy, silky, chewy, crispy. You do not need them all, just avoid the same texture throughout all your dishes.

  • Refrain from using the same cooking method for each (eg. everything fried).

  • Avoid too many intensely flavoured dishes or it will overwhelm the palate.

  • Balance a heavy or spicy dish with a bright and light side. (eg. the reason a crisp vinegar slaw works with rich barbecue meats).

A few recipes to consider for your holiday meals

(all can be made the day before)

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax– very easy and impresses guests. 

Stilton Pear Cheeseball with Pistachios + Pink Peppercorns– who doesn't love a cheese ball!?

Beet Pickled Eggs– ideal for a platter style feast or an appetizer. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding(dairy free)– one of the most delicious desserts I've made. If making in advance, reheat before serving for 10 minutes. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.

Ginger Hibiscus Switchel– this beverage is a beautiful bright red. Perfect for people who aren't drinking (or on a detox) but you can also add vodka to if you fancy a cocktail. 

Tangerine Olive Oil Cake– I've made this cake many times and it's always a hit. Also it's the easiest cake; one bowl, one whisk, and a few ingredients. It lasts for days and is great with coffee or wine. or both.

Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca
Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

Recipe Notes:

On measuring flour

I highly recommend to use a kitchen scale when baking. Measuring by the cupful is inaccurate and will leave you with a lot more flour than needed which makes your baked goods dry and doughy. If you do not have a kitchen scale use the following method to measure flour and it will yield you better results. 

  1. Fluff up flour in bag/container with a spoon for a few seconds.
  2. Using the spoon, scoop flour by the spoonful into your measuring cup.
  3. Level the top of the measuring cup with a knife or finger. By using this method you end up with a more accurate amount of flour than by scooping directly from the bag since flour will pack itself tightly. This method adds air (an easy sifting method).

On proofing bread (letting it rise)

The yeast in bread will act quicker in warmth and slower in cold. If your dough doesn't rise, the problem is either that the yeast is inactive (here's how to test your yeast to know) or it is too cold. In the winter, I make my bread rise faster by placing my dough (covered) in the oven with ONLY the light on. The oven temperature is NOT on, only the light. This creates an ample of warmth for the bread to rise. In the summer if my apartment is very warm then this is not necessary. 

On machine mixing vs hand kneading

This dough recipe requires a stand mixer with dough hook, but it can be kneaded by hand if you don't have access to a mixer. Use this method instead:

Follow step one. Add flour, salt and thyme to a large bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix and bring together with a wooden spoon. Heavily flour a flat surface (it's a very wet sticky dough). Knead the dough using a folding action. Continue folding the edges into the centre of the dough for about 5 minutes until your dough in springy. Continue steps 3 and 4. 

Potato, Cheddar + Onion Focaccia || Simple + easy homemade bread that will impress your guests. Perfect for Christmas or the holidays and easily made dairy free without the cheese. || creamandhoney.ca

Hoping your week is full of holiday love!

Meg

xx


POTATO CHEDDAR + ONION FOCACCIA

the magic

inspiration:                       carb cravings

the feels:                           soft, chewy, crunchy

eat with:                            butter, olive oil and balsamic, cold                                                   meats, as a sandwich, dipped in soup,                                               fried eggs, salad, pasta, chili oil

might like if you're into:    carbs on your period, binging Netflix,                                                 lying to yourself by saying you'll have                                               just one slice, winter hibernation, The                                               Great British Bakeoff

the science

makes one large or two small focaccia (8 to 10 servings) || prep time: 40 mins to 2 hours bake time: 20 mins

ingredients:

dough

  • 375 g (2.5 cups) unbleached all purpose flour (see notes for measuring flour if you do not have a kitchen scale)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 + 1/4 cup (310 ml) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (2 for dough and 1 for drizzling before baking)

toppings

  • 1 small (or half a large) russet potato, peeled and very thinly sliced (mandolin works best)
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (for potatoes)
  • 1 cup grated old cheddar cheese
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced in half lengthwise 
  • small handful of chives
  • flakey sea salt (Maldon)
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

method:

  1. Add honey to warm water and whisk until combined. Pour yeast on top and mix. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. The yeast should fully dissolve and bubble. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, salt, and thyme. (If you do not have a stand mixer and want to knead by hand, see the recipe notes above). Whisk until evenly combined. Make a well in the middle of the bowl. Pour yeast/water mixture and two tablespoon of olive oil. Attach dough hook to kitchen stand mixer, turn on low and let mix for five minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Dough is ready when it begins to climb dough hook and look evenly combined. This is a wet dough so it will be sticky and will not come together in a ball as other some doughs do. 
  3. Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise for thirty minutes up to two hours. The dough is ready when it has at least doubled in size. The longer (or warmer) the better. (read recipe notes above on how to speed up the rising process). While bread is proving, slice your potato and toss in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. 
  4. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Dump dough onto tray. spread out with fingers into one large rustic shape or separate dough and make into two or three smaller shapes. Sprinkle on half the cheddar cheese, lay on thin potato slices, and add the onions, chives, and thyme (if desired). Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on top of the bread. I brush a little more on the sides of the bread where there are no toppings. Bake for 20 minutes or until bread begins to start turning golden. Remove from oven, add second half of cheese, turn oven to broil and return bread to oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and bread looks crispier. Let cool for 3 minutes and add a sprinkle of flakey sea salt. Let fully cool. 

Recipe adapted from The Sugar Hit's Za'atar Flatbread

STUFF + THINGS

olive fougasse (top left), potato cheddar bread, everything bagels from  Fairmount Bagel , white chocolate brioche  “ mushrooms", chocolate l'ecolier, butter croissants, and and almond frangipane croissant. 

olive fougasse (top left), potato cheddar bread, everything bagels from Fairmount Bagel, white chocolate brioche mushrooms", chocolate l'ecolier, butter croissants, and and almond frangipane croissant. 

V I S I T  || I took a trip this week to beautiful and vibrant Montreal where I stuffed my face with  plates of food and glasses of wine. The bread and pastries (above) are from Guillaume bakery across from Parc Lahaie where you can sit fountain-side and savour your coffee and treat. You must must must try the brioche champignon (“mushroom") with hidden chunks of white chocolate ready to surprise and delight you. My new favourite restaurant is Larry's where I ended up for dinner twice because we were smitten with all their small plates of vegetables, seafood, meats, ciders and martinis. The place is small, the lights are low and the vibe is sexy. Also a great restaurant for a solo meal with many spots at the bar. I am very determined to recreate a carrot and muhammara dish I had there that I would order for my last meal on earth. Carrots! Boring old carrots. Nah uh, not anymore. Carrots are no longer the mushy limp-penis of a vegetable your granny used to roll onto your plate. They're seductive and shameless now. Click here for more places to love in Montreal. 

S L E E P  || I napped daily (important for any vacation) while in Montreal. This article on napping explains how the length of a nap is important for your particular needs that day. I love a good power nap followed by a green tea. #refreshed

D A Y D R E A M  || Can we all just go to Portugal and live a lovely European life for a minute? Olaiya from Milly's Kitchen hosts travel retreats I've been pining over for awhile now. This one to Portugal looks amazing! I love Olaiya and I love this post; she speaks about the transformative power of travel and how we can become preoccupied by work and “real life". Travelling reminds us how diverse and and strange and fascinating this world is. Let's do it more. And then again after that.

R E A D  || This is really great interview with Aziz Ansari. He's chilling in Europe right now enjoying the simple pleasures of life, has completely removed himself from social media and is just going with the flow. We would definitely get along. Yo Aziz, if you read this call me!

E N E R G I Z E  || Being sensitive to other peoples' energy is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it's hard to cultivate your own energy and not take on the energy of others. This list on How To Stop Absorbing People's Energy has many good practices and reminders for us vibe sensitive humans.

R E L A X  || Have we talked about ASMR? Well it's high time we do. Wikipedia says, “Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia". About 5 years ago I found youtube videos proving more people than myself were experiencing this sensation. I never knew how to put it into words but a head-gasm would be closest. My “triggers" (as ASMR people say) are whispering, speaking softly, the sound of writing, drawing, or typing, and doctor appointments. It may seem fetishy at first because there are many soft speaking ladies running their fingernails along things or pretending to be your nurse, but I swear it's not sexual. Well at least not for me. The world fades away and waves of tingly soft energy flow through my head and spine. It helps people with anxiety, depression, insomnia and with general relaxation. The videos can lead to the deepest and weirdest youtube rabbit hole so here are some of my favourite AMSR artists and videos to get you started.

Maria aka Gentle Whispering ASMR is the queen and I want to be her bff irl. Visit the ASMR Doctor to Test Your Senses. Go for a Suit Fitting Session. Take out books with your local Librarian.

WhispersUnicorn is amazing and recently did this gynecology exam which initially I was like, Whoa! This is NOT going to be relaxing. But it is and I fell into a deep slumber while getting my vulva inspected. 

I love Angelica because besides the soothing voice, she is eccentric and every video she's playing a character. She does ASMR videos from different times in history and she's imitated Sigmund Freud, Frida Kahlo and even Hitler (which I didn't want to get relaxed by but still did and now I feel bad about it).

I'm not usually into males doing AMSR because I don't find them as soothing but ASMR Power Of Sound always relaxes me and he'll draw weird portraits of you and measure your face for a mask. Just what I always wanted. 

May your naps be peaceful my friends.

xx

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING (VEGAN)

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca

Most of my memories of Thanksgiving are a tryptophan–wine induced jumble of turkey meat, pumpkin pies and trying to eat as much mashed potatoes and gravy as humanly possible. As a kid they included sparkling grape juice and old people like grandparents or great aunts and uncles. There was a lot of polite (and incredibly boring) table talk where I would repeat the same answers to questions as every other holiday– school is good" and I am blank years old now" blah blah blah. So instead I would focus on how many different foods I could fit onto one forkful at one time to get the most epic turkey dinner bite in history. As an adult, my Thanksgivings are much more enjoyable with just as much bountiful food but also wine, good company and conversation where people almost never ask how old I am. One of my favourite Thanksgivings was when I lived in Mexico for a semester during college. We invited our friends and neighbours over to show them what a Thanksgiving in Canada consisted of. Me and my lovely friend Aly spent a lot of time sourcing out a supermarket that sold frozen turkeys and trying to buy pumpkins without knowing what they were called because it was before Google Translate days. We spent all day Thanksgiving making the turkey, a bunch of side dishes and 2 pumpkin pies from scratch to feed everyone. We drank bottles of Sol with limes throughout the day to keep us going until it was finally ready to serve about 2 hours late, but that was perfect because everything is expected late in Mexico. There was much wine with dinner and even more tequila afterwards. For a reason I don't remember, all the men were wearing bras by the end (indicative of a very good time in college) and the party went into the early hours of the morning.

To quote Andy Bernard from The Office (aka the best show of all time), I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." I've had so many amazing times with incredible people, and a ton of good old days" with many more to come I'm sure. That's really what Thanksgiving is about. Being thankful for all you have and the experiences of this sometimes weird, sometimes fun, and sometimes dark thing called life. Sometimes giving thanks feels like all the deep emotions at once for me–love, happiness, gratitude, and sadness for the times gone, but not in a bad way, just in a way where you realize how short life is so we must try enjoy as much as we can. 

So Thanksgiving is about gratitude. But it's also about pumpkin! We don't even think about pumpkin for 10 months of the year but during Fall, it's the belle of the ball! For the last 6 weeks, my instagram has been consumed with pumpkin related food and pumpkins themselves. Apparently they come in all colours now! Like baby blue and white... when did this happen?!?!? Are they real? Or are they ghost pumpkins?

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca

Although Thanksgiving here in Canada is in October, I thought I'd dedicate this dish to America. Because right now, with everything that has happened lately, they need some extra love. Which could mean extra pumpkin. And definitely means comfort food which is always bread. 

America, we are thinking of you, and we love you. ♥️ 

Come and visit if you need some time away, okay? We can feed you poutine and rub your back and tell you it's going to be okay. xx

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca
Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding || This Fall dessert recipe is easy to make, vegan and perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any holiday! Plant based + dairy free! || creamandhoney.ca

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

t h e   m a g i c 

i n s p i r a t  i o n :                      Thanksgiving + spreading the love

t h e   f e e l s :                               crispy outside, soft comforting insides.                              

e a t   w i t h :                                whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, custard, some sort of coffee based                                                                  beverage. (except a pumpkin spice latte. There is a thing as too much.)

m i g h t   l i k e   i f   y o u ' r e   i n t o :          pumpkin pie, British cuisine, pine scented candles, daily                                                                                          gratitude, Fall nature walks, staying in on cold nights +                                                                                             watching Netflix under a blanket.

t h e   s c i e n c e 

makes one 9 x 13" baking dish || prep time: 20 minutes || bake time: 25 - 35 minutes

i n g r e d i e n t s :

  • 1 loaf of white pullman/sandwich style bread, sliced. (between 12-14 slices, equal to approx. 10 cups when cubed)
  • 425 grams of canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar + 2 tbsp (for topping before going into oven)
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • fresh whipped cream (for topping), optional. Substitute coconut based whipped topping or coconut based ice cream to keep vegan.

m e t h o d :

  1. Make bread stale. It must be stale to make bread pudding so it can absorb liquid better. You can leave it out of the bag for a day or two or you can bake it like I did. To make stale by baking, place oven rack on the top shelf and preheat oven to 375°F. Lay bread on baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes on each side or until golden and toast-like.  
  2. Turn oven down to 350°F. Grease baking dish with butter or coconut oil. Chop up stale bread into 1-inch cubes and place into baking dish. In a blender, place canned pumpkin, coconut milk, 1/2 cup brown sugar, spices and salt. Blend until a smooth puree. Pour over bread cubes and toss until bread is fully covered. Add chocolate chips and fold through bread mixture. 
  3. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp brown sugar over top the bread pudding evenly. This will help caramelize the top. 
  4. Bake in oven until the top is slightly brown and crisp, between 25-35 minutes. Let bread pudding cool for 10 minutes. Top with powdered sugar if desired. Cut and serve with ice cream, custard or lightly whipped cream (my favourite because it cuts the sweetness and balances the dish). I use a bit of natural vanilla extract and just a bit of maple syrup. 

Keep in air tight container in the fridge and reheat in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes before reserving. 

*Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking.