It’s amazing how you can add easy and inexpensive ingredients to your favorite dish and come up with a gourmet delight. I don’t mean gourmet in the sense of buying expensive and hard to find ingredients, but gourmet in flavor.

Several years ago, when I was doing more experimenting in the kitchen, I decided to add candy to my old-fashioned bread pudding. The first one I made was a Mounds bread pudding. I wanted a richer liquid with this pudding, so I used cream of coconut and half and half.

With the addition of chopped Mounds candy, you will love this dessert. When served, it is topped with whipped topping, drizzled with chocolate sauce and sprinkled with toasted coconut. This turned out so well that I decided to try another candy.

Snickers bars were my friend Mauna’s favorite candy, and of course she came to mind when I made it. She would have loved it. The addition of chocolate milk and caramel ice cream topping gave it more of Snickers flavor. While thinking of other ways to use candy in my desserts, I remembered a reader from Texas who shared a favorite recipe with me. It was a vanilla ice cream pie and I believe the candy she used on top was toffee. Another idea I considered using was chocolate covered raisins in a coconut pie.

Mounds Bread Pudding

• 1 can cream of coconut

• 2 cups half and half

• 1 tsp. coconut flavoring

• 3 large eggs

• 6 c. French bread cubes, slightly packed

• 2 c. chopped Mounds candy bars

• Whipped cream or Cool Whip

• Chocolate Sauce

• Toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13x2 inch baking pan or dish. Combine cream of coconut, half and half, coconut flavoring and eggs. Beat well. Add bread cubes and soak each piece of bread. Stir in Mounds.

Mix well and pour into pan. Bake for an hour. To serve, spoon pudding into dessert dish, top with whipped topping, drizzle with chocolate sauce and sprinkle top with toasted coconut.

Snickers Bread Pudding

• 6 c. French bread chunks

• 3 c. chocolate milk

• 1 (12 oz.) jar caramel ice cream topping

• 3 large eggs

• 2 c. chopped Snickers candy bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Put bread chunks into large bowl. In another bowl, combine the chocolate milk, caramel toppings and eggs. Whisk until smooth. Pour over bread chunks and press down to soak each piece.

Stir in candy and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Good served with chocolate sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

— Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at pru dencehilburn@aol.com or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.