Fifteen years ago, I learned how to keep a bag of breadcrumbs when I worked a second job as a caregiver for a 96 year old lady who had raised her children during the Great Depression. She never threw anything away. Toothpicks and straws were run through the dishwasher and carefully put away to be reused. Only cloth rags and napkins were in her home. She took her hearing aid batteries out when no one was home because she didn’t want to waste them. All bread was cut on a plate and the crumbs were brushed into a bag that was kept in the freezer.
At the time, I was living on $10 per week in groceries and I was baking my own bread every other day. I started cutting my bread on a plate and brushing those crumbs into a freezer bag myself. Nowadays, I also cut the crusts off my son’s sandwiches and put them in the freezer bag, otherwise he brings a half-eaten sandwich home with a hole carved into the middle to avoid the crusts. If we have bread that is stale or close to turning, it also goes into the freezer, to be ground into breadcrumbs or toasted into croutons later. When I get a full bag, I take a few minutes to put the frozen bread through my Ninja and toss the breadcrumbs into the same freezer bag.
You may be wondering why anyone would consider making cookies with breadcrumbs.
I had several bags of hamburger and hot dog buns that were leftover from my in-law’s anniversary, and as we are not really bun-eaters, I processed them into breadcrumbs. If I have an overflowing abundance of breadcrumbs, I will whip up a batch of cookies to use some up.
How useful are breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs can help you in a pinch if you are running out of flour and you are making a batch of cookies or brownies.
I use them in my Veggie Infused Meatloaf or when I make a broccoli-cheese side dish my kids love (broccoli, cheddar cheese, a tiny bit of mayo and breadcrumbs to bind, dried onion, pepper, and salt).
You can use them to make fried chicken or your own Shake ‘n Bake.
You can use them to make meatballs. (Meatballs are easy to freeze too!)
You can saute them in butter and top your mac ‘n cheese with them.
You can use them to coat Eggplant Parm.
Chocolate Breadcrumb Cookies
(These cookies have a similar texture to cake-like brownies.)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of milk
1 cup flour
2 cups breadcrumbs (can use straight from the freezer)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together sugars, egg, vanilla, milk, and softened butter. Once well mixed, add dry ingredients until combined. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, or smear with oil or butter. Use a teaspoon to drop spoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing, as they tend to be very soft.
You can use all white sugar if you like, but my kids like the flavor the brown sugar provides. You can also substitute all shortening or part shortening for the butter if you like a cookie that is more crispy.
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