Having worked in the restaurant business for many years, I can tell you that going out on Valentine’s Day is usually a 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, instead of going out and dealing with all that, I usually make a nice dinner at home and we celebrate with the kids. This year, this rich chocolate bread pudding in on the menu. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, it tastes like a grown-up brownie sundae.
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.
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.
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.
In a large bowl, whisk the 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!)
It will look like this.
Slice the bread, then cut into 1-inch cubes.
Add the bread cubes to the chocolate custard and let soak for at least 1.5 hours, or overnight.
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.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until slightly puffed and set in the center.
Let cool slightly. If serving family style, dust the whole pan with Confectioners’ sugar.
For an even prettier presentation, spoon or cut portions onto plates and then dust with Confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Note: This recipe makes a ton. If you want to halve the recipe, it works well in an 8-inch square baking dish.
My Recipe Videos
Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream
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
- Confectioners' sugar (optional)
- Vanilla ice cream (optional)
For the Bread Pudding
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.