A few weeks ago the kind folks from Panera Bread emailed me and asked if I’d like to be part of their blog program. My reply? Yes! Then I further read they’d give me free baked goods, and pay me.
Seriously?! Sign. Me.Up.
Mr. Baird and I love Panera Bread, and we have spent many a rainy Sunday morning there sipping coffee, eating bagels and reading the paper. Mornings are my favorite time to go there because it’s usually busy but peaceful. People are quietly chatting or on their laptops taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi. It’s obviously no secret that good coffee and a pastry is the best way to start the day!
Two days ago I found myself standing in front of Panera Bread’s fully loaded bakery case- wide-eyed, hungry and indecisive. I saw some old favorites like the cream cheese danish and chocolate filled pasty. A big plate of fluffy croissants and an even bigger plate of giant cinnamon rolls were calling my name. Alas, it was the artisan breads that got me hook, line and sinker. I bought four loaves, throwing carb-caution to the wind.
The cinnamon raisin bread was destined for a bread pudding the moment I laid eyes on it. See that crust? That’s baked-on cinnamon-sugary goodness running down the middle!
The first step of this recipe is to coat 5 pieces of the cinnamon raisin bread in a prepared caramel sauce. Sprinkle with sea salt and put under the broiler until bubbly. I could have easily abandoned the rest of this recipe and eaten a few pieces of salted caramel cinnamon-raisin bread (say that 10 times fast, hehe).
Oh, how I wanted to, but I didn’t…
…because in the end you get this, and it is well worth waiting for.
Want more of the low-down on what Panera has to offer? Check out Panerabread.com and follow them on Facebook or Twitter. In-store, definitely pick up a MyPanera card then register it online, there are bonuses and freebies to be had!
Salted Caramel Bread Puddings [click to print]
5 pieces of Panera Bread‘s Cinnamon Raisin Bread
12 oz. jar of prepared caramel sauce
Sea salt for sprinkling
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp melted butter (to grease ramekins)
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and place the 5 pieces of bread on, spacing evenly. Spoon 1 tablespoon of prepared caramel over each piece of bread, then sprinkle with sea salt. Place under the broiler until browned and bubbling for 1-2 minutes – keep a careful eye on this, it will burn quickly! Remove and let cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter (4) 1/2 cup ramekins. Cut each broiled bread slice into 6 pieces and place snugly in ramekins. Whisk together eggs, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Pour mixture to the top of each ramekin, then set them in a large roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes clean. Remove from pan, and place on a baking sheet. Top with remaining caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt. Set under the broiler for one or two more minutes, or until caramel sauce is bubbling.
Serve plain or with ice cream.
Nothin' beats Panera! I absolutely love, love, love it. And the bread puddings sound incredible.
Panera's french toast bagel is a weakness of mine. And their sourdough bread bowls. I guess they forgot to email me about the free stuff! 🙂 Your bread pudding sounds absolutely delicious!
This looks TOO yummy! Oh I can't wait to try it! Stumbled upon your blog from a friends page and I must say you are something special. Will definitely stay tuned to see what's next in your baking adventure!
Oh my goodness…this looks divine! I love cinnammon bread and this just took it to the next level!
Lovely bread puddings! That loaf looks delicious.
Yummm I love it!
This looks deliciouuuus .. 😉
That bread pudding sounds awesome!
I would seriously stab someone for this. You've combined two of my favorite things, cinnamon raisin bread and caramel, into one of my other favorite things: bread pudding. You are clearly a genius.
I loooove Panera – I think I could eat all meals of the day there, everyday, and not get sick of it!
Somehow you managed to take a really good thing and make it even more heavenly! Thanks again!
as per usual, you have made this dessert look more beautiful then one could ever imagine bread pudding to appear. i cannot WAIT to try this. thank you, again, for posting 🙂
WOW! These look amazing!
Homerun! LOL, wow. I need a drool guard on my laptop when I come to your blog. I also Love panera, love their sandwiches too! I love their pastry ring when we have guests.
Lovely Recipe & pictures…like always!
We ate there just yesterday! Love Panera! Good idea to make a bread pudding with their fancy bread. =)
That sounds soooooo amazing. Salted caramel is my favorite flavor in the whole wide world, and this looks so simple. Thanks for the recipe!
Oh my god this looks pure heaven sent! And your photography is just gorgeous as well! x
I love the recipe.
Heather, I am so happy that Panera Bread is paying you to review their goodies! You deserve everything you get both in baked goods and beyond. Your bread pudding looks sinfully fabulous!! xo
Lucky you! Sounds like a dangerous excuse to stuff yourself on bread and other baked goods! LOL…have fun and thanks for sharing this treat!
You gotta be freakin' kidding me.
I think I might have passed out a little bit half way thru the post and know I thought "Say WHAT?" when you broiled the caramel soaked bread. I Wanted to fly face first at that photo. Good, gracious, this looks AH-mazing. *drooling*
Oh my goodness. Can I have the one sitting in that bed of ooey gooey salted caramel heaven??? We don't have a Panera Bread near us, but we used to enjoy many a treat there after work, when we lived in the midwest. What a great pairing, YOU + Panera Bread! Very cool Heather! xo ~Lili
Your pudding looks amazing! I love salted caramel.
Oh my, that bread pudding looks like it's just swimming in the caramel sauce~YUM!
This bread pudding looks so gooey and yummy. It is not the typical bread pudding!
I looooove salted caramel anything! I also love Panera – my boyfriend and I met there, so it has a special spot in my heart 🙂 Oh and their bread is amazing too!
It's overflowing it's overflowing AND it's beautiful! I want some of that. The flavours sound to-die-for and I'm a bit inspired to make something salted caramel now.
Oooh, that is one of my favrite breads, but I have never kept it around long enough to make bread pudding. Love the caramel!
Holy Moly! If only my spoon could reach through the screen. I love bread pudding and this looks amazing! Your recipes are always to die for! Congratulations on the Panera opportunity. They're lucky to have you!
That looks great. I love that bread.
Amazing!!!!!!!! I love your blog!! I'm going to make the moment I crave for bread pudding! Salt and Caramel are better best friends than PB & J!!! 😀
I saw your blog featured in yum food & fun magazine! Congrats!
Thank you Jaime! I haven't seen it yet. Really anxious to get my copy. 🙂
This sounds incredible and I am out of my mind with the fact that panera wants bloggers and I wasn't asked :((((
I only eat at Panera twice a week for lunch, ha!
I am hoping that when you review stuff you will not hold back on bad reviews also…. is this blog becoming a commercial? I too like panera, they're soup is great but the cookies have much to be desired. I love your blog but please don't loose your artistic integrity.
Hi Anonymous! First of all, thank you for your comment! I'm really happy to know that you care about the content on my blog. In fact, I'm downright flattered! Secondly, I get many offers for advertisement and product reviews for this blog. Recently I have had offers from glassware companies, bedding stores, coupon sites, and big name online department stores – all that I have declined. I try to judiciously choose the content that reflects my love of baking and that will not be off-putting to my current readers with unrelated content. Lastly, I would not have taken this project… Read more »
I could care less what products you are pitching as long as you continue to turn them into pure delicious in the end! I actually do not like Panera, but I love pudding! You do what you need to do in order to keep creating and making the world a more delicious place. Don't let one anonymous user make you question your decisions!
yaaaaaaaay! how exciting for you and Lucky for them!
Thats a nice gig you got there!!!! A yummy one too!
I just discovered your blog via stumbleupon.com and i am absolutely obsessed! Over the past week I have done nothing in class but look over your recipes about 50 times each, making lists of what i will bake this weekend, this spring, summer, and next fall. I should probably start listening to my teachers in my classes but this is way more interesting. Your job for Panera is like one of my dreams; congrats on the great blog and job- you're wicked lucky and talented!!!
This sounds fantastic! And mazel tov for being chosen by Panera to be a part of a delicious quest.
Keep the awesomeness coming! 🙂
I saw this recipe last week and ran out to Panera this weekend to buy the bread so I could make it! They were out, so I bought the cinnamon raisin bagels instead (I used 3). And, I chose to bake the entire thing together in an 8×8 pan -same bake time. It was *amazing*! Thank you for the recipe!!!
That is such a great substitution! Can't wait to try it – thanks for sharing!
Holy smokes, I'm speechless!
I often use the cinnamon raisin bread to make french toast. YUM!
I just used this recipe tonight, with Panera Bread and my own home-made caramel sauce, and it's delicious! Thank you for the recipe!