Friday, December 23, 2011

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

I pulled this recipe for Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from an issue of Midwest Living many moons ago.  The first time I ever made it was when my children were very little, in fact, Owen was not even born yet.  I hosted a cookie exchange with some friends of mine and I served this dessert for the moms while the kids had their way with the cookies.  I have made this again and again, usually for special occasions such as the holidays.  I recently made it when it was my turn to host Bunco. 

It really is as chocolatey and rich as it looks.  I didn't make the brown sugar sauce for it this time either! 

If you are in need of a last minute idea for a holiday dessert to serve or take to a get-together, this could be your ticket!  Great with a cup of coffee...

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding
Here's What You Need:
6 cups dry firm white bread cubes

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 eggs
3 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Brown-Sugar Sauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Here's What You Do:
To dry out the bread cubes, just place them on a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for 10-20 minutes, tossing them occasionally.  You'll know when they are crispy and dried out enough.  You don't want the bread cubes to brown though.

Place the bread cubes in a 9x12, lightly greased baking dish.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and then the nuts on top of that.  You can use walnuts or almonds if you like.  I prefer pecans for this dish.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over the bread, the chocolate pieces, and the nuts. Gently push down on the bread cubes with the back of a large spoon, making sure the bread absorbs the egg mixture, and the chocolate pieces and nuts are covered with the egg mixture.

Bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  You might want to place a piece of foil loosely over the top to prevent too much browning from happening.  Cool slightly before serving with the brown sugar sauce.

To make the sauce:   In a small heavy saucepan, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in the water.  Add the light cream, corn syrup and butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly.  It may look curdled.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over the bread pudding.  Cover and chill any leftover sauce.

This is it for me until after Christmas.  I hope you all have a wonderful time with your family and friends over the next few days.

Merry Christmas!

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