Just Desserts – The Dessert Basket

Today is the last post from our Chopped Challenge 2013. And what better way to celebrate and spread some cheer than with desserts. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along as much as we enjoyed the event. I have to say this last round was just as delicious as the rest and was by far the kids’ favorite. Our ingredients for the dessert basket came to us from Dawn at First Look, Then Cook – Mangoes, Pretzels, Bacon and Agave Nectar. Dessert basket

Today we’ll start with the winner of the challenge, the Mango Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon. Having recently been to New Orleans, recently had this recipe and this one on my mind, I knew I wanted to go the bread pudding route. So Miss A broke some bread for me. breaking bread 2

Then we chopped up some mango and some sour dough pretzels and tossed them in with the bread. Next we mixed the remaining ingredients together including half and half, milk, eggs, vanilla, agave, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and poured that over the bread mixture. We added the mixture to our baking dish and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before baking. The pudding bakes for 45 to 60 minutes at 350F. mango bread pudding

While the pudding baked we worked on our candied bacon. I tossed some bacon, about 1/2 pound, with agave nectar. I then laid the rashers flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkled them with brown sugar. After placing down another sheet of parchment, I topped it with another baking sheet to keep the bacon flat. The bacon then baked for about 25 minutes at 350. mango bacon pudding

Once cooked, I chopped (and sampled, and sampled again) the candied bacon and tossed it over the finished bread pudding. The bacon is irresistible. I mean some ridiculously good stuff! I also whipped up a little sauce to pour over the individual servings. The sauce includes butter, agave, whipping cream, dark rum, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. This dessert seriously hit the spot, at least for me. mango bread pudding

The bread pudding was 4 spoons for Mike, Mr. N and I. Miss A says it was 0 spoons. She was seriously swayed by the other dessert, plus bread desserts (and breakfasts) really aren’t her thing. The basket ingredients all worked very well together, even the pretzels managed to blend right into the pudding adding a touch of saltiness to the mix. That said, the pretzels don’t add much, so next time I’ll probably skip them. The candied bacon though – you can bet I’ll be making that again. It’s a great topping for a bread pudding and a bit reminiscent of our favorite maple bacon biscuits. Mango Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon

Now onto the boys’ dessert. Mike and Mr. N opted for an ice cream inspired dessert and whipped up Mango Sherbet Pops with Bacon. If the contest had been for creativity alone, this would certainly have taken the cake this round. Having never attempted a homemade ice cream before, Mike was a bit nervous. That said, he’s a clever guy and figured something out pretty quickly. He and Mr. N blended together a cup of chopped mango, a can of sweetened condensed milk, a small amount of sugar and a can of Blood Orange San Pellegrino. Mango Ice Cream

He then put the mix into a stainless steel mixing bowl and stuck it in the freezer for about six hours, stirring to keep it smooth every 1 to 2 hours. For the dessert challenge, Mike cooked some agave coated bacon and placed a strip in the bottom of the muffin tins. Next he spooned out some of the sherbet into the muffin tins and added a pretzel stick to the center of each one to create a popsicle. mango pops

And voila, he had his Chopped Challenge dessert – Mango Sherbet Pops. Mango Sherbet Pops

This was Miss A’s favorite dessert. Her spoon rating for this round was off the charts – 8,023 spoons. I think that’s her highest ranking yet. Mike gave his dessert 3 spoons and Mr. N and I each came in with 2-1/2 spoons. The sherbet was delicious, but the rest of the ingredients just didn’t quite work cohesively. That said, the boys’ sherbet was outstanding and may have beat out the bread pudding on its own. It was a certified hit with both Mr. N and Miss A, and was also devoured by my niece that came to visit. So while, we don’t necessarily recommend making the mango pops, the sherbet we’ll be making again. Mango Sherbet

Wow! I can’t believe that’s the end of our Chopped Challenge this year. We’re already looking forward to next year. The kids keep asking if they can be on their own team together. I’m not quite sure they’re ready for that just yet, but I have no doubt they’ll beat us one of these days. I mean just imagine these two together someday! Columbus' ship

I mentioned a celebration at the start of our post…well, the last snoring mango from 2012 has officially been laid to rest. It has been a particularly challenging chapter of our lives. While some days were harder than others, it certainly tested us in ways that I never could have imagined. But…it’s over. And…we made it! I knew 2013 was going to be a good year! I can’t even begin to describe in words how proud, amazed and grateful I am for my marriage, our kids and our life. It wasn’t always easy, but we came together, grew stronger and the happiness, relief and peace that has been restored in our lives is indescribable. A moment really does change everything. rainbows

So with that being said, I’m going to take the next month to breathe. I’m going to relish in positivity and just flat out enjoy life. This isn’t a permanent break by any means, just a short break. We’re going to do some traveling, spend some time with friends and family and of course be working on our French Toast Madness event. In the meantime, we’ll post some pics of what we’re up to, some recipes we’re working on and I think even revisit a few of our past worldly cooking adventures. Then by the 1st of April we’ll be back with our first recipe from our next cooking around the world adventure – Thailand!

For my fellow bloggers, I will still plan to pop-in to your blogs when I can in the next few weeks, albeit a little less frequently. But don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll still all be inspiring us and making your way to our kitchen table! And hey – if anyone has any good suggestions for traditional Thai food we should try, we’re all ears!

And if you’re up for the challenges:

Try the: Mango Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon

Or bring a scoop of summer to the table: Mango Sherbet

20 thoughts on “Just Desserts – The Dessert Basket

  1. Caroline says:

    Bacon makes everything better–words to live by, haha. Both desserts sound great…still can’t get over how creative you guys are! Enjoy your break with your family! Can’t wait to hear about your travels. 🙂


  2. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Enjoy your break Kristy! I can certainly understand the need to take a break every now and then. Wow, 8,023 spoons — that is one ringing endorsement! I’m partial to bread puddings…so I think I would be in that camp but both desserts look really creative. I hope that rainbow shot continues to reflect you 2013 and so glad to hear that the snoring mangoes are behind you!


  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I’ve seen bacon in dessert after I started blogging. It’s still new concept for me but I’m always open for new exciting flavors! I should make something with candied bacon one of these days… and look forward to your idea too! Congrats on finishing this big project. You don’t understand how much I (and I’m sure all of us) enjoyed this series. It’s almost sad that it’s done already…till next year. You guys definitely made us all excited for the next year’s challenge too and I know you all come back stronger and will surprise us. Have a nice blog vacation! It’s nice to be offline to refresh your mind and move around instead of sitting around in front of computer. And I love Thai food so looking forward to your new posts! Have a wonderful break!


  4. Eva Taylor says:

    Congratulations on completing chopped year 2! What an exciting few posts they were, and thanks so much for including me.
    Both are very creative desserts for this challenge round, and I love the use of the bacon with the sweet, a combo that’s just irresistible for me anyway. The bread pudding is wonderful, although I am an ice cream person — did you think about serving them together?
    I am sorry you’ll be taking leave for a bit, you will be missed, but I can certainly understand, it’s an enormously time consuming hobby. I wish you all the best for March and I do look forward to when you come back.


  5. Three Well Beings says:

    I remember your reference to the “snoring mango” and that is such a fascinating shorthand for turns in life we don’t want to take! But it’s also wonderful to have the perspective that when those chapters close, we can find a new sense of wonder in the relief, and even through the difficulties you communicate how much your family means to you, Kristy. It’s obvious to me that you hold onto gratitude in the middle of trying times. That’s a gift you’re giving your children even now. 🙂 And to the recipes, I must say they both sound wonderful. I’m a bread pudding fan, though, so that’s got to be my top choice.

    You take the month to revive and refresh, my friend! Your friend from breathelighter certainly encourages that, and don’t feel that responding or “not responding” matters excepts where it nourishes you. You can jump back in whenever you’re ready! 🙂 oxo


  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    So happy to hear that you will be taking some time off Kristy to refresh and replenish. You and your wonderful family deserve all the goodness in the world! Now that bread pudding does sound mighty fine (especially the little sauce you whipped up – oh my…) but for moi, it would have been the mango sherbet pops hands down (sorry ladies) and I absolutely dig the bacon! Happy Celebrating Eat, Play, Love! xo.


  7. ChgoJohn says:

    A fitting dash to the finish! You use of the bacon is definitely what put your team on top, Kristy. Just like your mussels in Round Two, using maple bacon in your bread pudding resulted in a masterpiece. Once again, you knew your judges and with 2 of the being of the male persuasion, the die was cast. You were destined for victory. (You may not know it but a love of bacon is hard-wired into the Y chromosome.)
    And I want a ringside seat when the SousChefs form their own team. Now *that* will be a Challenge!


  8. spicegirlfla says:

    Kristy – what a wonderful ending to your basket challenge AND to 2012!! I’m so happy for you. When we are tested and challenged at times, if we truly stay strong and continue in faith, we will be gold at the end of the rainbow! I’m also so glad that you are taking some time to enjoy your life and your family (I think you always have, but that extra time is definitely needed.)
    I applaud both teams on pulling off desserts with such “interesting” ingredients!! Your bread pudding is over the top and when I thought it was perfect, you continued with the drizzle topping!! And the boys were very clever! Miss A truly loved it 🙂


  9. hotlyspiced says:

    I have never had a dessert with bacon in it before. The sherbet looks very yummy. Congrats on making it through the challenge. Enjoy your break. I have posted quite a few traditional Thai recipes on my blog if you’d like to take a look. I think Thai food is a lot more common in Australia than it is in the US – I know my sister who lives in LA often has trouble sourcing the ingredients she needs xx


  10. sallybr says:

    Both desserts proved amazing skills from the teams! I am very very impressed!

    Enjoy your break, enjoy each day, moment, path

    will be here when you are back, and don’t even worry about commenting – take a real break, dear friends!


  11. Charles says:

    Still not entirely sold on the idea of the bacon, despite you telling me it was the awesomeness… one day maybe! Great effort all round from both teams and congratulations to the girls!

    Looking forward one day to seeing the kids against the “oldies” in this competition – that would be quite the event :). Lovely to read about the chopped challenge again this year – sounds like such a fun event Kristy.

    So happy your problems have been laid to rest – enjoy the next month and see you all soon!


  12. Norma Chang says:

    I love both dessert, I will have the mango bread pudding for breakfast (yes, dessert for breakfast, why not?) and the mango sherbet for after dinner.
    Enjoy your short break, looking forward to the pics.


  13. A_Boleyn says:

    At this time of the year a bread pudding sounds so warm and comforting but if it was summer, I’d dive into the mango sherbert pop with the bacon though I might have made the bacon very crispy and chopped it fine to stir through the sherbert before making the pops instead of serving at a large chunk in the bottom.

    So kind of a split decision for me on the winner.


Thank you for commenting!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s