Today, my toddler decided he wanted to take a bubble bath. He dumped the entire bottle of Mr. Bubble into his bath. When I asked him what happened, he opened his mouth to answer, and a bubble came out. It was one of those “Oh yes. I am totally the mom of a toddler” moments. It was a dark day that needed a dark recipe. So I thought of pumpernickel croutons.
Ever tried the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday’s? Oh yeah . . . that’s where you find those divine black beauties they call croutons. What is it about those croutons that makes you feel like the salad is the best part of the meal? I don’t know. But I DO know that you can have those awesome croutons at home, anytime you want.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Ruby Tuesday Copycat Croutons
8-9 cups of pumpernickel bread cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
Place bread cubes in a plastic bag and drizzle olive oil over the bread. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Sprinkle the garlic salt over the oiled bread cubes and bake at 375 for 12-13 minutes, until cubes are crisp. When croutons have cooled, place them in a gallon bag until ready to use.
Oh my goodness. This recipe could not be easier. It’s embarrassing to call it a “recipe” at all, really. But the best part about easy recipes is that everyone is so impressed, and you can keep a nice, smug smile, knowing that they’ll never know how easily you pulled it off. 😉 And when that easy recipe takes only 3 ingredients, it’s even better! Start with those 3 ingredients– pumpernickel bread, olive oil, and garlic salt.
Now this part is really hard. You almost need a degree in rocket science to do it. You need to . . . CUT THE BREAD. Haha. I’m just teasing about this step being hard. This is about as hard as it gets for this recipe– seriously. If you can cut bread, you can make these croutons. Use a serrated knife to cut yourself about 8 cups of bread cubes. For me, this was about 1/2 loaf of the bread.
When your cubes are ready, place them into a plastic bag. Drizzle your olive oil over them and shake to coat. Close your bag before you do this, obviously. Maybe, if it’s not obvious that we don’t add an entire bottle of bubbles to our bath, I should point out the bag closing thing, too. 😉
Open your bag and sprinkle the garlic salt over the bread cubes. Use your fingers to kind of move the garlic salt around in the bag so that all the bread cubes and the garlic salt get nice and friendly and acquainted. Close the bag, again, and shake to coat. Just a note . . . these make very flavorful bread cubes. If you want your croutons to be a little more on the bland side, to let the bread flavor shine through, you can use 1/2 tsp. of garlic salt, rather than a whole teaspoon. You might even have to make these multiple times, to make sure you get it right. You might have to eat TONS of Ruby Tuesday croutons, all in the name of science. You’re such a martyr (pious heavenward glance). *Cough, Cough.
When the cubes are oiled and seasoned, place them in a single layer on a silpat lined baking sheet. Silpats are absolutely incredible– I use them every single day. They are like parchment paper with a superhero cape on. Find out more about these beauties and where to buy them here
. Bake your croutons at 375 degrees for about 12-13 minutes, turning them with a pancake turner halfway through the baking time so that the cubes can toast evenly. Keep an eye on them. It’s tricky to know when these croutons are done, because the bread is so dark that you can’t tell when they are starting to get toasted. You may have to taste just one . . . or two . . . or three. It’s necessary, after all. Someone has to do it. (Crunch!!)
See? These things look exactly the same toasted as they did pre-bake. But . . . they don’t taste the same! They taste awesome. Once the croutons cool, if you aren’t going to eat them right away, place them in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. They stay crisp that way. They stay fresh.
Maybe I should put myself in a Ziploc bag so I stay fresh.
One can hope.
The neat thing about this recipe . . . is that you can make croutons with any kind of bread and seasoning that you like. I chose to do the Ruby Tuesday croutons, today, but you can do so many different kinds of these. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Gluten free bread crumbs can make GF croutons.
2. The heels of bread that no one wants can make awesome croutons.
3. Those few leftover hamburger and hot dog buns left over from your last cookout can be made into croutons. No more trying to smoosh a hamburger into a leftover hot dog bun. You’re welcome.
Use whatever seasonings you like. Love some kick? Try some cayenne! Crazy for sage and poultry seasoning? No problem– the more the merrier.
You could even do sweet “croutons”– how about tossing with butter, rather than olive oil (watch to make sure they don’t burn– oil has a higher smoking point than butter does) and sprinkling with apple pie spice? Or how about pumpkin pie spice? You could even toss with a little cinnamon and sugar after toasting, and you have a cute little garnish for your fall desserts. I think pumpkin mousse in individual cups, topped with sweet and crunchy croutons would be amazing.
Your only limit is your imagination.
And that’s really no limit at all 😉
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you 🙂
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