Crockpot Pumpkin Bread Pudding

It's that time of year where I find myself with a lot of pumpkin in the kitchen! This time, I had made a few loaves of pumpkin bread with a few to spare. That's when it dawned on me that it's been awhile since I made bread pudding. 

This Bread Pudding is a perfect taste of fall and the caramel sauce definitely puts it over the top. It's so simple to make too  because everything is placed in a crockpot and all the magic is done with little to no effort! I also love how this can be an easy holiday dessert you can make the night before. Did I also mention how your whole house will smell like fall while it slow cooks? Keep this one in your favorites, because you'll want to make this one again and again...

Crockpot Pumpkin Bread Pudding

6 large store-bought Croissants; cubed
6 store-bought pumpkin muffins or 1 loaf pumpkin bread, cubed 
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 15-17oz can pumpkin
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup

1. Spray the Crockpot with Cooking Spray, and turn heat to High. Place the cubed croissants and pumpkin muffins/loaf into the Crockpot, tossing with your hands to blend. Place lid on the Crockpot.

2. In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar, and pumpkin until fully incorporated. 

3. Add the sweetened condensed milk, egg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Stir until blended and smooth.  

4. Pour mixture over cubed Croissants and pumpkin muffins, and stir to mix.  Cook on high for about 1 to 1/2 hours, and then turn the heat to low, and finish cooking, for about 2 - 3 hours, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5. To make the caramel sauce: In a heavy bottom sauce pan, over medium high heat, melt the butter.  Add milk and brown sugar, stirring to combine and brown sugar dissolves.  When the sauce boils, turn the heat to low and continue to stir. Add the Vanilla.  Continue stirring until mixture thickens or it will stick in the bottom.  When it starts to thicken, keep stirring and cooking for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, remove the saucepan, and stir in the maple syrup.  Keep warm for serving. 

6. To serve, either spoon the bread pudding from the Crockpot or cut it in pieces and remove it with a cake server.  Place the bread pudding on a dessert dish, or bowl, and spoon caramel sauce over the top. Garnish with whipped cream (optional).

NOTE:  Since all crockpots cook a little differently, just watch your crockpot to make sure it doesn't start to burn in the bottom when it's on high.  You may need to turn it to low right at the one hour mark, or it may take the additional half an hour to cook a bit more before you turn to low.  

Make Ahead: You can make the caramel sauce ahead of time and once cooled, the sauce will be thick. To warm, place over low heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter and a few teaspoons of milk.  The sauce will begin to thin out and add a few teaspoons of milk at a time until you get it to the consistency you prefer. 

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