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Cooking with Steph: Whiskey, Donuts and Murder

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We went to Jim's dad's Saturday to watch football, and his stepmom mentioned she had bread pudding in the fridge. We got all excited and then something shiny flashed on the TV and we forgot to take any home. Later, hating myself and all I stood for, I Googled photos of desserts in memory of what could have been.

That's when I came across this recipe from Bon Apetit: Donut Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Whiskey. Obviously, I had to have it immediately.

First stop, the liquor store!

You should know something about me. In my head plays a perpetual episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. I jog at night and imagine entire assaults, trials and tearful courthouse hugging scenes. A car trails me too long and I assume the driver is planning stab me cleanly. Even tonight when I took the dog out for a pee, some guys were unloading mattresses from a truck. Who does that at 9:30 p.m.? That's some shady business, folks, happening on my street. In fact, it's almost a scene straight out of my book. Everyone is on meth, everyone is a lovable serial killer, and every menial task results in tense, high-heel bargaining under glowy lights in a cell block. "JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU HID THE BODY AND WE'LL BOTH BE ON OUR WAY." It's pretty much the reason I write.

Anyway, I went to the liquor store to buy the Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey. Even though I'm pushing up to 30, I still get nervous inside liquor stores. It is because I look like this:


I figure no one will believe my ID, that I'll end up held for questioning in a musty back room, McLovin-style, liquor store owner screaming, "JUST TELL ME WHERE YOU HID THE BODY AND WE'LL BOTH BE ON OUR WAY."

I selected a 1.75 liter bottle of Jack, referred to in some aboriginal cultures as "BIG ASS," or "FAMILY SIZE." It's not that I needed that much, but there was a great sale on the BIG ASS, and I can't bring myself to pay more per ounce than totally required. I brought it to the register, sweating, prepared to be arrested. The guy rang it up and said, "Have fun." Have fun! As if my 5-foot, one hundred and shmihfyiysiphsigf pound frame was gonna down the whole BIG ASS all by my lonesome. I'd have to enjoy my bread pudding in the hospital through a banana bag drip.


Liquor acquired, I ran into Publix for a few things, including donuts. The recipe calls for cake donuts, specifically Entenmann's. I found some called "Softees," (awww). But were they too soft? Bread pudding is usually made with stale bread. Would this be my undoing? Just then, I saw some guys at the end of the bread aisle sizing me up. They had been in the liquor store when I bought the FAMILY SIZE, and they were obviously following me to steal my FAMILY SIZE and stab me cleanly in the parking lot. So I grabbed the Softees and ran to pay, totally forgetting the tin foil I needed.


First step at home: Eat donut.


One must always test one's ingredients for flavor and freshness.

Next, I had to rip up a bunch of donuts into a pan. It said to grease with butter, but since I am committed to health when it comes to my whiskey donut bread pudding, I used cooking spray.


Next, I mixed heavy cream, eggs, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and an eighth of a teaspoon of nutmeg. And I'll pause here to say, HONESTLY, WHAT IS THE POINT? An eighth of a teaspoon of anything is basically a smattering of fallen skin cells. Why bother? Let's just have skin cell bread pudding!

Gross.

I added the whiskey. It called for a quarter cup, but I might have gotten carried away. It was a Saturday night, after all. Here's the bowl of goo, which was pretty boring to photograph, so I flashed a traditional thumbs up to add some interest. Yeah, baby!


I poured all the goo over the donut chunks and smooshed them together. When I was a kid, I used to call this "making potch," which basically means smashing together soggy things. It is my favorite thing to do, aside from imagining salacious first-degree murder trials.

Braaaaaaiiiiinnsss!


This delectable intestinal bile sat for an hour, then went in the oven. It should have been covered with foil, but as stated earlier, I was too busy dreaming up my own mugging to purchase any. I popped it in at 350 for 45 minutes.

What to do now?

Listen. I'm not a woman who typically drinks hard liquor. It does bad things to me, and I'd much prefer a nice glass of wine. However, there was a BIG ASS bottle of Jack on the table, and life is mercilessly short. So, you know, I had a little.


Suddenly, I was a hard-charging dame, capable of cleanly stabbing all the world's rapists in a single swoop! I was the type of lady who could rock a leather jacket like a gritty urban detective rather than a reject from the Bratz Dolls Joan Jett cover band! I was the foul-mouthed sister on Dexter! I was finally, FINALLY, Mariska Hargitay! I was unstoppable!

Ok, I was the same, only my cheeks were red and my stomach kind of felt bad.

The bread pudding came out looking SEXY.


I served it with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious, but it would have been better with stale donuts, and it would have cooked more evenly with foil. The moral of this haiku is to stop inventing crime stories and pay attention at the store. I think in some cultures they call that "INNER PEACE" and "MENTAL STABILITY."

But that's all trivial in the end. You can dress her up for church all you like, but Saturday night's dessert was a bowl of donuts with a side of whiskey. I suggest you all try this recipe at your earliest convenience.

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