When you think of leftover Christmas breads, fruitcake seems to be the one item that is singled out. Whereas other Christmas breads like Banana Nut, Spiced Apple, Pecan Maple, Lemon Loaf and Holiday Rum and Eggnog breads leave nary a crumb, there is still life left in those leftover breads to enjoy as the season winds down. A few suggestions here will certainly alleviate any pangs of guilt when you realize you need not throw these pieces of bread away with the trash.
Stop Passing Off That Fruitcake
You could say that fruitcake is a bread for all seasons, particularly when it ends up being the same puck that gets passed around to and from family members, year after year. It’s time to stop avoiding the grand delights this classic sweet bread can render with just a little tweaking such as:
Fruitcake Brûlée—Simply dice leftover fruitcake into cubes and add it to crème brûlée
- Fruitcake pops—cake pops are all the rage, and when you crumble fruitcake and combine it with frosting as a binding agent, you can shape them into rounds and cover them in chocolate for a new twist on what will become a fast favorite.
- Fruitcake French Toast—while any leftover breads make the best French toast, try dipping your fruitcake into eggnog instead of milk and see how fast this fruitcake French toast disappears.
Behold: the Breadcrumb
With a decent food processor or even using the coffee grinder, you can turn all manner of leftover bread from Klosterman Baking Company into the positively alchemical crumbs of bread. It’s a double hit if you are throwing away these precious pieces of bread and then going out and laying down more money to purchase breadcrumbs.
Making your own breadcrumbs, you can:
- Make them plain;
- Add herbs and spices or grated hard cheese, or
- Freeze them for future recipes
Let us not underestimate the benefit of breadcrumbs. When combined with a little egg and added to sausage or ground meat, they make an excellent binding agent for making meatballs, burgers or meatloaf. When added to stews or sauces, their ability to absorb moisture makes them an excellent corrective agent. They are used as a breading for everything from chicken strips and fried chicken to chicken fried steaks, fried zucchini, cheese balls or anything that needs a breaded coating that can be fried or baked.
Don’t forget the breaded topping on such dishes as macaroni and cheese or green bean casserole. There are more ideas for using breadcrumbs, but you get the picture. As you make use of them, you will naturally realize how universal the breadcrumb is and find you are better prepared to use them for a variety of purposes.
From Sweet to Savory—the Bread Pudding
Whether it is a classic British bread pudding with loads of cream or custard, perhaps a brandy cream or butter, or a Spanish panada using caramelized onions and cheeses, perhaps with some chorizo, you quickly realize there are literally hundreds of puddings you can make with leftover breads.
If you have never indulged in a bread pudding, you simply must try one. Until you do, you cannot know the purely succulent ecstasy of texture and taste possible from bread that you would otherwise have tossed away. There is no shortage of recipes and recommendations for making use of leftover breads. Hopefully, these suggestions will help get you started on making the most of leftovers while enhancing your cooking style.