Swap In Croissants For A New Take On Bread Pudding

Croissants, while delightful, have one serious drawback: They do tend to grow stale pretty quickly. One way to refresh them if they're only slightly stale is to spritz them with water and heat them in the oven or slather them with melted butter to soften them up a bit. Once they go beyond stale to the point where they're quite hard and crunchy, though, you can always revive them by repurposing them in bread pudding.

While classic bread pudding recipes call for sliced bread, croissants are a kind of bread, so there's no reason not to use them in bread pudding and a plethora of online recipes attest to the fact that man cooks have done so with great success. Even Ina Garten makes croissant bread pudding on an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" and she claims it's her friends' favorite dessert. 

There are numerous ways to make bread pudding, but the dish typically starts with chopping the bread (or croissants) into chunks and then soaking them in an egg-milk mixture. You'll then flavor the pudding with any seasonings you like — cinnamon is typical, but not required by law — and either add raisins if you like them or don't if you're not a fan. Bake the pudding in the oven until the milky stuff sets up, then serve it with a sauce or whipped cream or nothing at all.

Croissant pudding can be sweet or savory

Most bread puddings tend to be sweet, and in such a case, you'd add sugar, honey, or another sweetener to the milk mixture and perhaps splash in some vanilla extract. Plain croissants would lend themselves to such a pudding, but if you happen to have some spare pains au chocolat or almond croissants on hand, these would make for an even more flavorful pudding. In the case of the latter (and maybe the former), you might want to replace the vanilla in your bread pudding recipe with almond extract instead. You can also get all fancy and top your sweet croissant pudding with fruit as one Instagram cook likes to do.

What if you have leftover ham and cheese croissants, though? In that case, leave out the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon, add extra salt, throw in some pepper, and maybe stir in a few herbs and spices. As a pudding topper, try a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Plain croissants can also be repurposed in a savory bread pudding — in this instance, you can add your own cheese and ham, or perhaps use crumbled bacon, sausage, or shredded chicken in place of the latter. Sauteed onions, mushrooms, or peppers (mild or chile) would also be great additions to help turn your leftover croissants into a hearty breakfast entree.