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Ana Calderone
December 26, 2016 03:00 PM

The holidays bring plenty of delicious treats but naturally, with the good also comes the bad. We’re talking stale panettone, crushed or burnt cookies and, of course, the dreaded fruitcake.

Whether you enjoy the season’s saddest staples in their original form or not, there is no doubt room for improvement. So we enlisted the help of acclaimed food writer, Mark Bittman, to help us transform them. His Eggnong Panettone Bread Pudding (recipe below) from his latest cookbook, How to Bake Everything, kills two birds with one stone and would be a delightful breakfast to wake up to.

Read on for more of his holiday hacks:

Cheese Balls
Bittman suggests stirring in mustard or seasonings like cayenne pepper before spreading on bread slices to make a grilled cheese sandwich.

Candy Canes
“Crush them and mix into sugar-cookie dough for candy-crunch cookies,” he says. They’re also good when added to fudge or chocolate bark.

WATCH THIS: Make 3 Easy Christmas Treats


Boring Cookies
“Grind them up and add melted butter to make a cookie crust,” says Bittman. “Then stock them in the freezer since you’ll be desserted-out at that point.”

Use slices to make a trifle with the sauce of your choice like caramel sauce, fruit sauce, vanilla pudding, whipped cream. “Or crumble the fruitcake, mix with frosting, and shape into truffles,” he says.

Want more holiday cooking hacks and recipes? Follow People Food on Facebook.

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Mark Bittman’s Eggnog Panettone Bread Pudding

5 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 cups eggnog
1 cup whole milk
¼ tsp. kosher salt
⅓ cup, plus 1 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup bourbon
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 thick slices day-old panettone bread, torn into bite-size pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 1½-qt. baking dish with 1 tbsp. butter; set aside. Combine eggnog, milk, salt, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and remaining ¼ cup butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter melts. Remove eggnog mixture from heat; stir in bourbon. Gradually stir about ¼ of hot eggnog mixture into beaten eggs; add egg mixture to remaining hot eggnog mixture, whisking constantly.

2. Place bread pieces in a large bowl; add eggnog mixture, and gently stir to submerge bread completely. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Place baking dish in a larger pan, and add boiling water to pan so that it comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

3. Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, or nearly so, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (The center should be just a little wobbly.) If you want to brown the top, turn on the broiler, remove the dish from the water, and broil for about 30 seconds. Serve warm or cold. This keeps well for 2 days or more, covered and refrigerated.

Serves: 6
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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