March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
I wanted to use one of my favorite hometown staples, the Philadelphia soft pretzel, in a unique way. Since bread pudding is my comfort food of choice, I developed this recipe. Each serving of this recipe provides a healthy dose of calcium.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
Philadelphia-style soft pretzels (frozen is okay; thaw first)
1½ cups liquid egg substitute
2½ cups nonfat milk
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish with the cooking spray. Poke holes in the soft pretzels with a fork, then cut or break the pretzels into 1-inch pieces and place in the baking dish.
- Whisk together the egg substitute, nonfat milk, chocolate syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; mix well. Pour over the pretzels, stir to coat. Let stand for 1 hour to allow the pretzels to absorb some of the liquid mixture.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until browned and puffed and the knife comes out clean.
The holes in the pretzels are necessary so the nonfat milk and egg substitute mixture can be fully absorbed, creating the traditional bread pudding texture.
The nonfat milk in this recipe adds calcium to the diet. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains antioxidants and flavonoids, so if chocolate is a favorite of yours, enjoy in small doses.