The Southwest offers several variations of bread pudding, a popular dessert anytime. This one is made with no eggs and with a brown sugar syrup. If you can't find piloncillo cones (brown sugar packed into a cone shape), just use 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar.
6 small French rolls
1 1/2 small piloncillo cones
4 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
10 whole cloves (optional)
6 tbsp. margarine
1/3 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp. raw Spanish peanuts or slivered blanched almonds
2/3 oz. colaciones (tiny colored candies)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Slice bread into 1-inch thick chunks and spread on a baking sheet. Heat in warm oven until dry and toasted.(Leave oven on.)
2. In a saucepan, dissolve piloncillo in 4 cups water with cloves (if using) and cinnamon. Add margarine.
3. Line deep baking dish with one-third of the bread and top with one-third of the cheese, one-third of the raisins, and one-third of the peanuts. Repeat to make 3 layers. Remove whole spices from piloncillo syrup and pour over entire mixture. Sprinkle colaciones on top.
4. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.