I feel the need to post this recipe, not only because I just made it for our Christmas Eve dessert, but because it’s so good it has now become part of our annual family tradition.
Yes, it’s that good.
We’ve celebrated all holidays at home for my entire life, but one Thanksgiving my mom decided she wanted a change. So we booked reservations at a fancy New England hotel for an extravagant Thanksgiving buffet.
I couldn’t tell you one thing about the dinner, but for dessert they served a chocolate bread pudding that was to die for. I decided in that moment – for Christmas that year I would be attempting to recreate this decadent dessert for our family dinner.
So, back to real time. After this holiday week is over, I will probably start up my Sugar Detox plan again (click here to learn how I gave up added sugars), but for now, no foods are off limits. Which is good news because this dessert is neither low fat nor low calorie. But, you probably already knew that.
This recipe for dark chocolate bread pudding is made with decadent Dutch cocoa powder and chunks of sweet and flaky Challah bread. Although it is quite easy, it does need time to sit and soak up all the rich chocolatey goodness.
So, what I do is just before we sit down to eat dinner, I pour the chocolate custard over the bread so it has a good 30-45 mins to soak up.
Our family’s Christmas Eve schedule is usually to eat dinner, then open presents, and then eat dessert. So as soon as we’re done eating dinner I’ll pop the bread pudding into the oven to cook. As soon as the present party is over, it’s usually perfect timing and the dessert is ready to come out of the oven and be served.
Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe
- 6-1/2 cups of bread (I use 3.5 cups of Italian or French bread and 3 cups of Challah bread. I’ve always found this makes the best combination, but I’ve also made it with all Italian bread/crusty bread and that way is also delicious.)
- 3 cups half & half (or 1.5 cups half & half, and 1.5 cups 2% milk — it will come out creamier with half & half, but I will sometimes do a combo of both – I haven’t noticed a difference when I use some milk)
- 1/2 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder (the darker the cocoa powder the more chocolatey and rich the dish will be)
- 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I love this Bourbon Vanilla extract, but regular will work just fine, too)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Break apart small 1-2″ sized bread cubes with your hands to fill 6 and a half cups. Place those in a well greased or buttered 9×13″ glass baking dish.
- Sprinkle one cup of the chocolate chips over the bread, saving the other 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Set this dish aside.
- In a saucepan over low heat, add the remaining chocolate chips, the sugar, cocoa, and 1.5 cups of the half & half. Cook while continuing to stir this mixture until the chocolate chips are melted and the liquid starts to get a bit thicker – about 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the hot mixture to a larger mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining half & half or milk.
- Then, add in the 6 eggs, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until this mixture is smooth and the eggs are fully incorporated into the milk.
- Pour this custard mixture over the prepared bread in the baking dish. Press any uncovered bread cubes into the liquid so they all can soak up the chocolatey flavors.
- Allow this to sit and soak up the chocolate liquid for at least 30 minutes. While this is soaking up, you can preheat the oven to 325°
- Once the bread cubes are fully drenched, place it in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the chocolate bread pudding set and cool for approx 10 minutes.
- Serve with homemade whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream (or both!)
I usually serve this while it’s still warm, but not straight out of the oven. The eggs and custard need time to cool and set or else your bread pudding might be on the liquidy side.
You can also top it with fresh berries or some sliced cranberry cabernet poached pears to add a “healthy” and refreshing touch.
Like I said, my family loves this dessert so much that we’ve now made it a tradition. If you try it, I’d love to hear how you like it!