When it comes to dessert, one of my all-time favorites is bread pudding, and my bourbon bread pudding with cream sauce is so decadent and delicious, it may actually be my all-time favorite. I use Hawaiian sweet rolls or brioche-type bread because it gives the pudding an extra fluffy and sweet flavor. The custard is creamy and rich and the bourbon add a warm flavor. The sauce is what really makes this dessert special. It is so smooth and sweet with an added hint of bourbon or vanilla if you choose. If you want a new dessert on your holiday table, this one will be a hit and may become a new tradition.

Belle’s Bourbon Bread Pudding with Cream Sauce

4-5 cups of cubed Hawaiian sweet rolls or brioche-type bread

2 cups milk

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoon bourbon (I use Pie Hole pecan pie flavored bourbon) or substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoon flour

½ cup brown sugar packed

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup bourbon (again, I use Pie Hole pecan pie flavored bourbon) or substitute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt plus more to taste

For the bread pudding:

Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cut the bread into cubes, roughly one inch in size. Place evenly in the baking dish. In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and cook until butter is melted. Set aside and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled whisk in the bourbon (or vanilla) and the beaten eggs. Pour this mixture over the bread, making sure it is all covered. Set it aside for at least 20-30 minutes (this can sit in the fridge for up to 8 hours) so the bread can soak the liquid in. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes. The bread pudding is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the sauce:

In a saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Turn to low and then whisk in flour. Add the milk, a small amount at a time while whisking until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar and salt. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the bourbon or vanilla.

To serve, scoop out the bread pudding into serving dishes and then drizzle with the sauce just before serving. The sauce can be made in advance and reheated on the stove before serving.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins and a grandmother of eight. She is a cookbook author and novelist. For more recipes and information, visit her website www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.