"Real friends stick around for the yucky times, too."

- Greeting card saying

"Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway."
- Elbert Hubbard, A Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911

"Friends are God's apology for relations."
- Hugh Kingsmill

Double Ds

I imagine many of you are wondering about the name of this page, Double Ds. Oh, sure, it could be my bra size–but I'll never divulge that. Actually, the Double Ds stand for Dessert Dames. I've given this name to the fictional group of friends that I write about in Better Than Sex and More Than A Trifle.

If you are lucky, you have a circle of friends like my fictional Double Ds. These are friends you've had forever–maybe since grade school or high school. They've seen you through most of life's highs and kept you from drowning during life's lows. If you haven't seen them in a while, you still can pick up a conversation and jabber for hours without any hesitation or sense of unfamiliarity. My Double Ds may grow beyond the third book I've envisioned, but if I decide to move on to other topics, I know friendship will always be one of my underlying themes.

Why? Because my life has been blessed with very special friends. Some I've had since grade school, some I discovered in high school as my world expanded. I picked up a few in college and in the faculty lounge, or participating on boards or in professional organizations. Some I found as neighbors and some came to my life along with my husband. More recently, I've found kindred spirits in my writing group, Wisconsin Romance Writers. These people helped me through tough times, celebrated the good times with me, and consoled me in the sorrowful times. That's what friends are for and that's why stories of friendship are universal and enjoyed.

As someone once told me, we can't choose our relations, but we can choose our friends. This page will be about friendship.

Mary Jo

A Birthday and Bread Pudding

I have a friend whose birthday is on New Year's Day. This year her children and grandchildren were out of town over that holiday, so I knew she likely wouldn't be doing something special to celebrate "her day." And she certainly wouldn't be baking her own cake.

I usually make bread pudding of some sort over the winter holidays, very often for New Year's. I find it difficult to make anything in small portions. Certainly I knew I couldn't make a small amount of bread pudding—and we were going to be a group of three.

Since my birthday friend loves bread pudding, a bit of chocolate and cranberries, I had the perfect solution for her birthday treat and my bread pudding dilemma. I decided to make my bread pudding in two pans and bring one to her. This recipe called for white chocolate, cranberries, other berries. It's a yummy moist pudding.

The two pan idea worked out just fine. The day was bitterly cold so bread pudding was the perfect comfort dessert. And my friend could still look forward to a more traditional birthday cake once her family returned from the holidays.

That's what friends are for to paraphrase an oldie but goodie song. If you have a friend around, it doesn't matter if a birthday might be trumped by a holiday and family out of town. We don't let birthdays slide by. Better yet, we don't worry about the number of birthdays we've had.

Yummy Berry Bread Pudding with Vanilla Cream Sauce

  • 1 16 oz loaf French bread cubed
  • 1 c frozen raspberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 c frozen blackberries (do not thaw) or substitute Craisins for a different flavor
  • 1 Cup of white chocolate chips
  • 4 - 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 T sugar

Arrange ½ of bread pieces in a lightly greased deep sided baking dish (12x8 or so. Next arrange frozen berries and white chocolate in a single layer over the bread pieces. Top with remaining bread pieces. (I cubed a loaf of French bread the day before and put in a zip lock bag. Saves time.)

Whisk eggs and next 6 ingredients until smooth. Slowly pour egg mixture over bread, pushing down with a wooden spoon until the bread absorbs the mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes. If the bread seems too dry, add a bit more milk over top.

Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Uncover, brush evenly with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Recover and bake 30 more minutes until set.

Remove from oven and let stand 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla cream sauce. Garnish if desired with berries, powdered sugar, chocolate shavings, or whatever. (This holds well if you want to make it ahead of when you will use it. Just warm it in oven or microwave before serving.)

Vanilla Cream Sauce
(can be made the day before and reheated in the microwave.)

  • 2 Cups whipping cream ( I used half n half and it was wonderful)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: generous tablespoon of brandy, whiskey or rum

Stir first 3 ingredients together in a saucepan. Add butter and cook stirring constantly, over a medium heat until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Drizzle over each serving of bread pudding.


Read Past Double Ds:

Writing Friendships: A Journey
Forever Friends
Puppy Love
The best antiques are old friends
Eat Dessert First
Dinner with the Double Ds
Baking with Cassie
Capricorn Gals