Halloween Candy Bread Pudding

We had all of 5 trick-or-treaters show up for Halloween this year; dismal turn-out, I know. But it made for lots of leftover candy. Depending on how you look at it, that is either really bad – more candy to eat – or really good – more candy to eat. I’m going with really good. Especially because it led to this Halloween candy bread pudding. Everyone puts leftover candy in bark and cookies and blondies so I figured I would try something different. Watch, now you are all going to jump on the Halloween candy bread pudding bandwagon, I just know it.
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
That wasn’t the only great idea I had. I got thinking about Halloween candy and trick-or-treating, which naturally brought me to psychology. A logical progression, obviously. I started wondering if any studies had been done related to the topic. I mean, a lot of really weird experiments have been run in the field of psychology so some crazy back in the 60’s or 70’s must have looked at Halloween. And what do you know, back in 1976 there was a study published titled “Effects of Deindividuation Variables on Stealing Among Halloween Trick-or-Treaters”. Don’t worry, it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.
 
Essentially what they did was stage an experiment in 27 homes in Seattle on Halloween night. Here is a lowdown of the set-up:
 
– a female experimenter greeted the kids when they came to the door (keep in mind these kids just thought it was any old house and all they wanted was their candy).
– in the entrance there was a table with both Halloween candy and money. The kids were told that they were only allowed to take 1 piece of candy. The money was not mentioned by the experimenter.
– she then left the room and they had another researcher hiding in the back, recording what the kids did.
 
Are you still with me? Good.
 
Here’s where things got interesting. They varied the conditions so that some kids remained anonymous and others did not. What does this mean? Well the experimenter asked the non-anonymous kids what their names were and where they lived. Obviously not creepy or pedaphilic in the slightest. They found that the kids who remained anonymous were more likely to take extra candy and more likely to steal the money. Rates of stealing were even higher when the kids were in a group vs. trick-or-treating alone. This suggested that the kids were modelling their behaviour after that of their peers. In the anonymous condition, if the first child in the group transgressed and took extra, there was a 83.3% chance that at least one other child would as well. But if the first child only took one piece of candy, 88.6% of their peers did as well. I know this was done back in 1976 but I think it’s safe to say that peer influence in kids is pretty huge.
 
What else has this study taught us? Well first of all, if you don’t want kids stealing from you, be sure to ask for their full name and address. The parents might call the cops but at least you will still have all of your possessions. More importantly though, to all you kids out there, don’t give into peer pressure. Sure it’s only Halloween candy now but who knows what that could escalate to? On the bright side, all it takes is one good role model to set the tone. One good role model and a complete stranger who wants to know every detail of your life. Awesome.
 
I love the experiments they were allowed to run back before ethics were ever considered. Imagine replicating this study today. You would be labelled as a sex offender before you even had the chance to explain yourself. Really, you might as well park a white van on the driveway while you are at it. It does make for interesting reading though!
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding

Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
Makes 9 portions

Ingredients

5 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
6 hot dog buns, cubed (or 5-6 cups of cubed, dry bread)
1 – 1 1/2 cups leftover Halloween candy (I used Smarties and chopped up Aero bars)

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 325F. Line a 9″ pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add in the milk and whisk to incorporate.
3. Mix the dry bread cubes into the custard. Allow it to stand for at least 5 minutes to soak up some of the liquid.
4. Once the custard has been absorbed by the bread, stir in the Halloween candy, reserving a handful or so to sprinkle over the top.
5. Pour the bread pudding into the pan and level out the top. Sprinkle it with the reserved candy and bake, covered (with tin foil), at 325F for about 45 minutes. After 40 minutes, you can remove the foil and allow the top to brown for the remaining 5 minutes.
6. Cool slightly, slice and serve. Bread pudding can be made in advance and then reheated either in the oven or in a pan (in which case I coat each portion with sugar to develop a nice crust on the outside). Refrigerate any leftovers for later.

Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
Halloween Candy Bread Pudding
References
Diener, E., Beaman, A., Fraser, S. & Kelem, R. (1976). Effects of deindividuation variables on stealing among Halloween trick-or-treaters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 33(2), 178-183.

My New Year’s Resolution – and a Nutella Banana Smoothie

I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my blog lately. Come September, The Starving Student will turn 2 years old! 2!!! I’m not sure where the time has gone. All I know is that a lot has happened since the sad, homesick me decided to start a food blog because she had nothing better to do (other than mope around in her dorm) before culinary school started. Now that I’m in university, I actually have to spend time taking notes and studying in general. In culinary school, this was a pretty foreign concept. But at the same time, I don’t want to give up on this altogether. It’s an outlet for me.
The problem is, depending on my schedule with school, work and everything else, I’m not always home to cook dinner or bake up a delicious batch of whatever it is that I’m craving. Not only that, but if I really want to grow The Starving Student, I need to make a niche for myself. Everyone has a food blog nowadays. It’s actually pretty depressing impressive when you scour the internet and see the thousands of truly high-quality blogs that are out there. I’m just a tiny fish struggling to manoeuvre my way through an over-crowded sea (if only our oceans were actually like that).
At the beginning of July I had the opportunity to volunteer out on the Siksika reserve, cooking for volunteers and residents that were cleaning up after the floods. It was a pretty exciting day cooking with some big hitters in the Calgary culinary scene. Our “head chef” for the day was Chris Shaften, formerly on Top Chef Canada. We were also joined by Dan Clapson, who writes for such publications as Avenue Magazine. As a fellow food blogger, his best advice for me was to do something that sets me apart. I brought up the idea of somehow combining food and psychology (as that is what I am majoring in), and he loved it. But until now, I hadn’t figured out how I was actually going to do so.
I finally think I have come up with some ideas to integrate the two concepts into a section called “Food for Thought”. Not only will it give me the opportunity to post more often, it will hopefully provide some new and exciting material that people haven’t really considered before. By no means am I going to quit posting recipes, instead I am going to throw in a combination of topics to make the blog a bit more well-rounded. I also plan on adding extra tidbits about hikes and other outdoorsy activities that I enjoy doing. Really, I just want to be able to post about things that I love and hopefully that passion will translate through to your reading experience!
So that’s my New Year’s Resolution…in August. I’ve always been the first to say that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because we should all make resolutions to be better EVERY SINGLE DAY. So here on Monday, August 19, 2013, I’m publicly stating that it is my goal in the coming days, weeks and months to blog MORE OFTEN and share thoughtful topics and INSIGHTFUL IDEAS. If I can make you think to yourself, “wow, that’s something I’ve never considered”, then I have done my job.
Now I’m going to drink this Nutella banana smoothie and get typing. Stay tuned!
Nutella Banana Smoothie
Nutella Banana Smoothie

Nutella Banana Smoothie

1 banana
1 handful of ice (5 or 6 cubes)
1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%, totally up to you)
1 tbsp. Nutella (or peanut butter if you prefer)

Blend it up and gulp it down!

Fool-Proof Chocolate Pudding

You could eat Jello…
Or you could eat this…
Chocolate pudding
Don’t get me wrong, Jello pudding cups have their place.
But I am pretty sure they shouldn’t be a dessert of choice, especially when you have dinner guests.
So why not make chocolate pudding from scratch? It’s homemade, it’s real and you don’t have to worry about the possibility any additional plastic-like substances. You really can’t mess it up. In essence it’s only thickened chocolate milk. Use super amazing chocolate like Lindt? Now we are talking. Because you’re the cook, you can control the level of chocolately flavor. I LOVE dark chocolate so naturally that’s what I chose. But why not try milk, or even white if that is more your forte? Just make sure to reduce the sugar so you don’t induce diabetes or something.
The best part of this recipe is definitely how easy it is. I made Ina Garten’s Double Chocolate Pudding a while back but it had eggs and other shenanigans. More ingredients = more steps = more work. This one is just milk, sugar, salt, chocolate and cornstarch. Ok fine, and water. 6 whole ingredients. Nope 5, I’m not counting the water. Big deal. I adopted it from Smitten Kitchen. It’s basically the same except 100 times easier. I cut back on the fat by using half 2% milk and half water (instead of whole milk). I wasn’t really sure what the point of using a double boiler was (or still is for that matter). It’s not like you have to worry about scrambling eggs or anything. And with cornstarch you actually want to boil it to cook out the chalky taste. Just boil, whisk, chill and you are set (so is the pudding, get it? it “sets”).
Fool-Proof Chocolate Pudding
Ingredients:
– 1/4 cup cornstarch (plus a splash of water to form a slurry)
– 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
– 1 1/2 cups water
– 100 grams dark chocolate (on average this is one bar)
– pinch salt
– 1/2 cup sugar
Chocolate pudding
Heat the milk, sugar and salt.
Chocolate pudding
In a separate bowl mix the cornstarch and a splash of water. Whisk to form a slurry.
Chocolate pudding
Gradually whisk the slurry into the milk. Cook over medium heat whisking constantly until it thickens. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for a minute or two (continue to whisk so it does not lump up). Remove from the heat, add in the chopped chocolate and stir to melt.
Chocolate pudding
Portion (I filled up 8 little glasses but it will serve 6 more generously).
Chocolate pudding
Chocolate pudding
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Before you serve you can garnish with whatever you like. I chose orange because it is best friends with chocolate but anything works. Raspberries, strawberries, even something like a whole almond would look pretty. Sorry to all you guys out there who don’t care if it looks “pretty”. Really you could eat the stuff straight out of the pot if you want. It is THAT good.
Chocolate pudding