Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

Tested & Perfected Recipes

When topped with vanilla ice cream, this warm chocolate bread pudding tastes like a grown-up brownie sundae.

bread pudding

This chocolate bread pudding is on the menu at our house for Valentine’s Day. Having worked in the restaurant business for many years, I can tell you that going out on Valentine’s Day is usually a very bad idea. To maintain sanity in the kitchen, most restaurants offer a prix-fixe menu, which is more limited and more expensive than the regular menu. And with large tables broken down into lots of two-tops, the servers are all maxed out or “in the weeds,” as they say — and would really rather be home celebrating with their own Valentines.

Finally, restaurants want to turn tables, so the food comes quickly and dinner feels rushed. Even if your server doesn’t drop the check while you’re still eating dessert, it’s hard to ignore the glare of impatient patrons eyeing your table from the bar! So, like us, consider celebrating your Valentine’s Day at home and, after your meal, enjoy this rich bread pudding for dessert. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, it tastes like a grown-up brownie sundae.

What you’ll need to make chocolate bread pudding

ingredients

You’ll need quite a bit of chocolate for this recipe: 10 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, as well as cocoa powder. That’s what gives the bread pudding such deep chocolate flavor. I also like to add a little bourbon, which doesn’t make it taste boozy like you might think, but rather just enhances the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have it, or don’t want to use it, you can use rum or brewed coffee instead.

How to make chocolate bread pudding

chopped-chocolate

Begin by chopping the chocolate. Set aside 2/3 of a cup, which you’ll use to sprinkle on top of the bread pudding before baking.

heating-cream-sugar-and-cocoa

Bring the half and half, brown sugar, and cocoa powder to a boil in a medium saucepan. Off the heat, whisk in the chopped chocolate, bourbon and cinnamon.

adding-bourbon

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.

whisking-eggs

Gradually pour the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. (Be careful not to add it too fast or you’ll risk scrambling the eggs!)

adding-chocolate-mixture-to-eggs

It will look like this.

custard

Slice the bread, then cut into 1-inch cubes.

sliced-challah

Add the bread cubes to the chocolate custard and let soak for at least 1.5 hours, or overnight.

soaking-bread-cubes

Pour the soaked bread into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, then scatter the reserved chocolate over top. Using a spoon, poke some of the chocolate down into the pudding.

ready-to-bake

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until slightly puffed and set in the center.

baked-bread-pudding-1

Let cool slightly. If serving family style, dust the whole pan with Confectioners’ sugar.

dusting

For an even prettier presentation, spoon or cut portions onto plates and then dust with Confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

baked-bread-pudding-1

Note: This recipe makes a ton. If you want to halve the recipe, it works well in an 8-inch square baking dish.

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Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

When topped with vanilla ice cream, this warm chocolate bread pudding tastes like a grown-up brownie sundae.

Servings: 12
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes, plus plus 1.5 hours to let the bread soak

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Bread Pudding

  • 10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup Bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large (about 1.3 lb) challah, cut into 1-inch cubes

For Serving

  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Instructions

For the Bread Pudding

  1. Chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks. Reserve 2/3 cup and set aside (you'll use this for sprinkling over the bread pudding before baking).
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the half and half, brown sugar and cocoa powder; bring to a boil. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining chocolate, bourbon and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and vanilla extract. Very gradually, pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to combine (pour slowly, especially at the beginning, or the hot chocolate mixture will scramble the eggs). Add the bread cubes to the custard; cover and let soak in the fridge for at least 1.5 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the chocolate-soaked bread to the prepared baking dish, and spread the bread around evenly. Scatter the reserved 2/3 cup of chocolate over top, then use a spoon to push about half of the chocolate bits down into the pudding. Bake until slightly puffed and set in the center, 45-50 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes, then serve warm, dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (12 servings)
  • Calories: 488
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Sugar: 32g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Sodium: 275mg
  • Cholesterol: 179mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi! I’m planning on making this very soon! My 1st question is, can I use french bread? And, can I use milk chocolate instead?

    • — Gigi on November 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • I don’t recommend those substitutes, Gigi. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 27, 2019
      • Reply
      • DRATS!!! I’ve read this too late regarding the French bread! Oh well it’s soaking now, I’ll let you know how it turned out tomorrow.

        • — Gigi on December 1, 2019
        • Reply
  • what kind of bread can be used instead of challah?

    • — aparna on June 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Aparna, Brioche would also work nicely here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 13, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen! I LOVE Chocolate bread pudding, and make it for my family often. Unfortunately, I have celiac disease and have yet to find brioche or challah bread that is gluten free. Do you have any suggestions for a suitable substitute?? I NEED bread pudding! lol

    And – you are my go to for all things delicious!

    • — Lilli on February 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lilli, I wish I had a good gluten-free alternative to suggest, but I’m at a loss – I’m sorry! Perhaps other readers can weigh in?

      • — Jenn on February 14, 2019
      • Reply
  • If you halve the recipe, how long do you cook it for? I am making this for Christmas dinner!

    • — Melvina on December 23, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Melvina, I’m guessing about 40 minutes. Enjoy and happy holidays!

      • — Jenn on December 24, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made this delicious bread pudding this weekend when we had friends over for dinner. It was amazing! I was planning on omitting the cinnamon. So glad I added it! It was perfect with the cinnamon. I am not a fan of bourbon, but it was perfect in this recipe. Not “boozy” at all. I used brioche bread. I served it with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries on top. EVERYONE loved it! It reheats well in the oven the next day!

    • — CDean on April 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • This was great and easy to make. The only minor issue I had was the bourbon. I used half the suggested amount (about 1/6th of a cup), and there was definitely a bourbon taste which the kids did not like (probably a good thing, however)! Next time, no bourbon for me but will definitely make it again!

    • — Steve on April 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Had a quick question. You said instead of bourbon, you can substitute with rum. Would Captain Morgan Spiced Rum be an okay option?

    • Sure- hope you enjoy!

  • I made this over the holiday. I really did not care for it, however, I may have used chocolate with too much cocoa. It was an expensive mistake and no one really ate it. I threw most of it away. I did print out another bread pudding from this website that I look forward to trying in the near future

  • So excited to try this but I am making this just for my family. Seems like it’s going to make too much for us. Would halving everything still turn out ok and just bake in a smaller pan?

    • Yes it makes a ton! You can definitely halve everything and bake in an 8-inch pan.

  • Love to make this but it sounds like a lot of bourbon, can I leave it out or substitute something non alcoholic

    • Hi Patti, It doesn’t really have a boozy taste in the end, but if you’d like to omit it you can substitute some strong coffee.

  • So many lovely recipes but why don’t you include ingredient quantities?
    Looked at picture of chocolate bread pudding in an effort to establish what goes into it.

    • Hi Karen, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, you can click the “recipe” button right under the recipe title. Hope that helps!

  • Living in a small town and deciding to make this for dessert at the last minute limited my choice of chocolate. We enjoyed it but the flavour would definitely be enhanced with a better quality chocolate. I served it with Hagen Daz vanilla ice cream for dessert with your beet and goat cheese salad and beef and potato stew to rave reviews.

  • Hi Jen, this looks so good! Could you make the whole recipe and bake in two separate pans, serving one and freezing the other for another day?

    • Hi Cathy, unfortunately I don’t think this will freeze well (because of all the dairy). Sorry!

  • Oh my goodness. I recommend halving this recipe & serving 24. A full recipe was way too much for 12. Lots of leftovers for the next day. MUST be served with ice cream to avoid chocolate overdose even in the seasoned chocoholic. It is incredibly rich & moist.

    MT

  • This sounds delicious, but I have a friend who avoids dairy. Would coconut cream work as a substitution for half and half?

    • D, It’s possible it might work with coconut milk but not coconut cream. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out.

  • I made this on the weekend and it was amazing. It was so rich and chocolatey. The challah bread is not readily available, so I used regular white sliced bread instead. I would imagine that with the egg bread, it would be even richer. The best thing was that it was a large pudding so we had leftovers for the following couple of days. Warmed up in the microwave, it was just as good as the first day. By the way, we served it with Reese’s peanut butter ice cream which was even more amazing.

  • This was absolutely fantastic!

  • I made this delicious dessert and it is delectable! I could not find challah bread so I used a loaf of Brioche french bread and the recipe turned out well. We added a little caramel sauce and served it warm with ice cream. Delish! I like it cold almost as much as I do warm.

  • I made this decadent dessert for Valentine’s Day. Oh my goodness!! Best bread pudding ever!! Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous recipe!!!

  • Unbelievable! I made this for my husband for Valentine’s Day because we all know nothing says “love” like chocolate. . . and he absolutely loved it. He called it “a gastronomic explosion of chocolate deliciousness.” And it truly is. Very easy straightforward instructions even for the novice cook. This is definitely a keeper in my recipe file.

  • I made your suggested Valentine’s Day meal and it was delectable. Cleanup today was easy because I made the stew last night as you suggested. I ended up making my own challah for the pudding. Thanks for the recipes and the menu.

    • You’re welcome, Elizabeth! So glad it turned out well 🙂

  • Can I use brioche for the bread? How many people will this serve?

    Thanks so much!

    • — Marilyn Dolce Davis
    • Reply
    • Yes, Marilyn — brioche will work beautifully. Serves 12 easily.

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me. It’s going in the oven soon! We have exactly 12 people, so I hope no one wants seconds. I can hardly wait to taste it.

        • — Marilyn Dolce Davis
        • Reply
  • I made this tonite for some friends. I only made one change. I substituted Hawaiian rolls for the challah. I did marinate it overnight. It was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenn, I would like to make a gluten-free version of this recipe. What can I substitute flour for? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Natalie, Are you sure you’re asking about this recipe? There’s no flour in it (other than what’s in the bread) and it’d be hard to make it gluten-free.

      • Sorry for the mix-up! Yes, I was asking about a different recipe – beef stew with carrots and potatoes – but already found this question answered in the comments for that recipe. Thanks for the quick follow-up, Jenn.

  • I want to make this for Valentine’s Day but I cannot find Challah bread. Is there another type of bread I could Substitute?
    Thanks

    • Hi Elizabeth, Brioche would be a good substitute.

  • Nothing says, “I love you,” like homemade treats, right! This recipe is definitely an easy Valentine’s Day dessert for my kids. Yummy!

  • I would probably use panettone. Can’t wait to make it when I get home.

  • can I make this without bourbon?

    • Yes, Patsy, but I would replace it with rum or coffee.

  • Woukd love to get a recipe for regular bread pudding ( not too many chocolate lovers in the family). Thank you !

  • We don’t half and half in this country. What can I use instead? Stupid country.
    Regards, Judy

    • Judy, You can use half milk, half heavy cream.

      • Thank you very much but what quantities. Sorry to be a nuisance.

        • No problem! I would use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups heavy cream. Enjoy!

  • What is the best way to keep the bread pudding and how do you recommend reheating it?

    • Hi Kate, I would refrigerate any leftovers and reheat in the oven at 325°F until warm.

  • Hi Jen,

    I am so excited to get this recipe! Just one question though, can I use sourdough bread instead of challah? That’s just what I have on hand. Thank you!
    Happy Valentines!

    • Hi Lu, It will lend a different flavor but it should work. Please let me know how it turns out!

      • Hi Jen,

        I just made the bread pudding. We had friends over so I used Challah as your ur recipe stated. I didn’t want to take risk this time. Everybody loved it! I will give you feedback next time when I use sourdough. lol

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