Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

Offer me bread pudding and I’ll take a hard pass. The thought of soggy white bread swimming in a pool of cream sauce sounds like an epic waste of calories. But as I work to expand my baking repertoire this year, I decided to dive into this mysterious dessert. Like, what really is bread pudding? What are you? What are you not? What can you be? Why am I talking to you?

I studied some recipes and baked a few disasters, thus proving that I, in fact, do not like bread pudding. Consider me crazy or delusional but so many of you told me you love it that I decided to give bread pudding one more chance.

Pull up a chair and listen up. Bread pudding can be delicious. REALLY REALLY DELICIOUS. And this is coming from someone who said nope!!!! to this dessert only a few weeks ago. There’s all sorts of ways to bake bread pudding, but this recipe– complete with buttery challah bread and real chocolate– is my favorite. My only regret is waiting so long to try it this way!

 

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This chocolate bread pudding tastes like warm brownie squares, monkey bread, and French toast casserole all in one. Do I really need to continue? It's intensely fudgy. Pair this with rivers of salted caramel, pockets of melty chocolate chips, juicy raspberries and fresh whipped cream on top… and you basically have a mountain of chocolate covered calories. I mean a mountain of underrated delicious texture that totally deserves a chance in your kitchen too. Don’t waste another second dismissing bread pudding. This dark chocolate bread pudding is legit!

3 PARTS TO CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

  1. Dark chocolate + heavy cream + milk. Use real chocolate here. You can grab semi-sweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, or unsweetened chocolate. You'll need two 4-ounce bars, 8 ounces total. I used unsweetened chocolate because I knew I wanted to top the bread pudding with salted caramel and sweetened whipped cream. This bread pudding is so rich that you don't want it over-sweetened. Heat the cream and milk (or you can use half-and-half) then pour over the chocolate and mix it all together. You'll have a very thinned out ganache. Let it cool down for a minute so as not to cook the eggs.
  2. Eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, + salt. These 4 ingredients will be mixed into the chocolate + cream mixture after it slightly cools down. All of this makes your super chocolate-y custard. 🙂
  3. Bread. Want to know the secret to absolutely awesome bread pudding? It's the bread. Now I didn't make the challah from scratch, but you definitely can. You can also use brioche (you can make your own with this dough if you're up for it!) or any rich bread you love. For something a little less heavy, but equally decadent, use a baguette. Whichever bread you use, the secret is to let it sit out overnight to dry out. It will soak up more chocolate custard sauce that way.
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Let's chop up our chocolate.

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Pour the heavy cream/milk on top.

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After the chocolate cream mixture has cooled, we'll mix in the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt.

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Here are our bread cubes. Remember, stale bread is best.

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Mix the bread with half of the chocolate custard, then pour the remaining custard on top of it all.

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Why are you doing it this way? So there’s more pockets of warm chocolate custard!!

EXTRA TEXTURE

For extra texture, I suggest an add-in or two. I highly recommend chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (pick up a third 4-ounce chocolate bar). These chunks of chocolate paired with the chocolate soaked bread is outstanding. I also like dried cherries, peanut butter chips, or chopped pecans.

Let the bread pudding sit before baking so the bread can soak up some of the custard. Simply wait 5 minutes, preheat the oven, and by the time the oven’s ready… so is the bread pudding.

I can’t say this enough: I loved the chocolate chips between the soft chocolate-soaked bread. And I can’t say this enough either: this tastes like a pan of warm brownies. But better.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

Besides the texture and the whole “pan of warm brownies” element, what I love most about this dark chocolate bread pudding is its versatility. Do you have to add salted caramel? Of course not. Can you add chopped pecans and top with coffee ice cream? It’s encouraged. What about adding dried cherries or peanut butter chips? Go for it. As long as you follow this cream-milk-egg-chocolate ratio, you can really add anything you want.

I haven’t tried this bread pudding with the raspberries mixed into the unbaked bread pudding, but I’m eager to try. I just dotted a few on top for serving. I brought this over to my in-laws to taste since I’m not really a bread pudding connoisseur. They LOVED it.

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There’s a few recipe notes, so make sure you read them before beginning. I PROMISE you’ll be a bread pudding fan after 1 bite. I certainly am! Does anyone have a traditional bread pudding recipe I should try? I’m still holding out hope!

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

YIELD

serves 12

PREP TIME

45 minutes

COOK TIME

45 minutes

TOTAL TIME

1 hour, 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream*
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (600ml) whole milk*
  • two 4-ounce bars semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped*
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 loaf day-old challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes*
  • 1 cup (190g) chocolate chips or 4 extra ounces chopped chocolate
  • optional add-ins: 1 cup of chopped pecans, dried cranberries/cherries, peanut butter chips, etc
  • optional toppings: salted caramel, fresh berries, homemade whipped cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Over medium heat, heat the heavy cream and whole milk in a medium saucepan until simmering. (Do not let it come to a rapid boil-- that's too hot!) Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 2-3 minutes to gently soften the chocolate. Then stir until completely combined and chocolate has melted. Set aside for a few minutes to slightly cool down so as not to cook the eggs in the next step.
  2. Whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in the chocolate cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide this chocolate custard mixture in half. Add the bread cubes and chocolate chips to one half and stir to evenly coat.
  3. Grease a 9x13-inch (or similar size) baking pan. Spread the soaked bread evenly into the pan. Pour the remaining chocolate custard evenly over the top. If you have extra, dot a few chocolate chips on top too (this is for looks and extra chocolate taste!). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so the bread has a chance to soak up some of the custard. This is crucial. You can also chill the unbaked bread pudding in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
  5. Bake the bread pudding for 45-50 minutes* until the edges appear set. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. It will come out with a few moist crumbs, but won't be overly wet. *I bake it covered for the first 20-25 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil for the remaining time so it can slightly crisp on the top and around the edges.
  6. Garnish with toppings and serve warm.
  7. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Serve leftovers warm, room temperature, or cold. We found that the bread pudding had a slight texture change when reheated. The custard was a little more solid and not deliciously soft. The bread pudding is best eaten right out of the oven.

Make ahead tip: You can prepare the bread pudding through step 3 and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking. You can also freeze the baked bread pudding for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the oven until warm throughout. See the last step in the recipe with notes on the taste/texture after reheating. I do not suggest freezing the unbaked pudding as the custard will separate when thawing/baking.

RECIPE NOTES

*I found the best combination of liquid to be 1 cup of heavy cream/heavy whipping cream with 2 and 1/2 cups of whole milk. Alternatively, you can use 3 and 1/2 cups of full-fat half-and-half. I do not suggest all whole milk or anything lower in fat. If you buy a pint of heavy cream, you can use the leftover 1 cup to make whipped cream to top the baked bread pudding. See step 6 in this strawberry shortcake recipe for how I usually make homemade whipped cream.

*Since you're essentially making a thinned-out ganache, it's best to use real chocolate. You can find the 4 ounce baking bars in the baking aisle. I like using Ghirardelli or Baker's brand. You can use 8 ounces (heaping 1 and 1/3 cups) of quality chocolate chips instead, such as Ghirardelli brand. I tested this recipe with unsweetened chocolate as I knew I wanted to top it with salted caramel and sweetened whipped cream. It was extra dark and not overly sweetened; we loved it. You can use semi-sweet, bittersweet, or unsweetened chocolate. White chocolate will work as well, though I would reduce the granulated sugar to 1/4 cup.

*You need around 1 lb of bread. I suggest a rich sweet bread like challah or brioche. You can also use a baguette. I don't suggest a heartier bread or sourdough bread as their flavors don't pair well with sweet bread pudding. Whichever bread you use, slice and leave it out overnight so it's stale and can really soak up the custard. Moist bread creates a soggy bread pudding.

You can bake the bread pudding in several individual ramekins. Adjust the baking time as needed.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Food & Wine

© SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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Here are some items I used to make today's recipe.

KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Stand Mixer Glass Bowl | Dough Scraper | Pastry Cutter | Rolling Pin | Loaf Pan | Pastry Brush

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89 Comments

Comments

  1. Cornelia Monita Setyorini on February 12, 2018 at 12:28 am

    Hi Sally, let me introduce myself first. My name Monita and i came from Bekasi City, West Java, Indonesia.
    I have one question about the ingredients, can i skip the granulated sugar if i use dark chocolate? In my city so difficult to find unsweeted or semi sweet chocolate.
    Thank you Sally.

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 6:45 am

      Hi Monita! I don’t recommend skipping the sugar. This bread pudding will taste bland and bitter without it. If anything, you can reduce down to 1/3 cup, but it will still taste very dark!

  2. Lauren on February 12, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Bread pudding isn’t a dessert that I would typically order at a restaurant, but I kid you not, it’s the only dessert I eat on Christmas every single year. And for breakfast the next day. And then probably for lunch, too.

    I can’t find the exact recipe online, but the one my mom has always made is the bourbon bread pudding recipe from Cooking Light. Nothing about it tastes light, but it’s absolutely delicious and studded with raisins (my favorite). I highly, highly recommend it!

    I’ve never had bread pudding of the chocolate variety – I’ll have to give this a try!

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 6:43 am

      Maybe you can break tradition and try this chocolate bread pudding! And hopefully not wait until Christmas to do so 🙂

  3. Emy on February 12, 2018 at 12:54 am

    This looks amazing, Sally! I can’t wait to try it out! One question, though: could this be made with white chocolate bars? Or even half white half dark?

    There’s this restaurant near me that serves this amazing white chocolate bread pudding and I’ve never been able to make one that’s even close, so I’m hoping to have good results with your recipe. 

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 6:42 am

      Hi Emy! All white chocolate or half & half could definitely work. Keep in mind the sugar. White chocolate is very sweet, so if you use all white chocolate, I would reduce down to 1/4 cup.

  4. Natalie on February 12, 2018 at 1:00 am

    WOW this bread pudding looks so delicious and decadent ♥

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you so much Natalie!

  5. LabRat on February 12, 2018 at 2:08 am

    This looks absolutely amazing. My husband loves bread pudding and I could never see why. This has changed my mind.

    This might be a silly question but would white chocolate work?

    Thanks for your hard work, you always come up with something awesome.

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 6:40 am

      Yes! Although I would reduce the sugar down to 1/4 cup.

  6. Mariya on February 12, 2018 at 4:00 am

    Oh, yes!! Looks delicious!
    Mariya
    http://www.brunetteondemand.com

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Thank you, Mariya!

  7. Karen on February 12, 2018 at 5:50 am

    So here’s a slightly off topic question – how do you feel about tres leches cake? I personally can’t stand it because of the wet cake aspect but so many people love it!

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 6:38 am

      It’s OK. I feel like I haven’t really had a GREAT slice of tres leches cake before.

      • Rachel on February 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

        Chuy’s Restaurant (If you have one near you) has (in my opinion) THE BEST TRES LECHES CAKE! Only one I’ve really ever been impressed with!



  8. Jacqueline on February 12, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Sally- for what it’s worth, your french toast casseroles are totally a riff on bread pudding, and those are AMAZING! Particularly the one with cream cheese. Maybe use that for inspiration if you’re hoping to do another bread pudding 🙂

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      So happy to hear you love the French toast casserole!

  9. Jamie on February 12, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Sally, I am sooooo glad you found a recipe you loved and were willing to share! I LOVE bread pudding, but have had zero luck finding a good recipe for it. My love for bread pudding began several years ago when I tried banana bread pudding with chocolate chips and a fudge drizzle. It was magical! This looks absolutely delicious and I cannot wait to try it!!

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm

      That banana bread pudding sounds heavenly! I hope you love my recipe – happy baking! 🙂

  10. Natalie Munroe on February 12, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Mmm. For those bakers who can’t bear the thought of waiting a day to achieve day-old bread staleness (i.e. everyone!) — you can dry out bread in the oven. Simply cut into cubes, spread on pan, and bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve done this successfully several times when making my favorite blueberry cranberry bread pudding. [One caution: if you use a bread loaf with a sugar topping – there’s a red, white, and blue brioche loaf at Wegmans, for example, that has a sugar topping – watch it closely. The sugar can burn. Been there, done that. Lol.] 

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Such a great suggestion, Natalie!

  11. Shannon on February 12, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Every year I can cherries in a vanilla bourbon simple syrup and let them infuse for 6 months before using. I think chopping those up and adding in the mixture would be awesome! Or you could do a black forest thing and use cherries and a splash of Kirsch. Can you tell I LOVE cherries and chocolate???

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 12:10 pm

      YUM! Both ways would be amazing!

  12. Wendy on February 12, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I absolutely Love bread pudding but have never tasted a chocolate version. This looks pnenominal and can’t wait to make my first chocolate version of this dessert. Happy baking!!

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you, Wendy! I hope you love it 🙂

  13. Paige Flamm on February 12, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    100% making this for desert Wednesday night!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      I hope you love it! Happy baking 🙂

  14. Megan on February 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I too would normally pass up bread pudding because the idea of it is just weird to me. BUT you developed a chocolate one so I’d be willing to give it a try. My question is if I wanted to make it in a 9×9 or 8×8 pan, would I simply halve the recipe? Thank you!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Hey Megan! Yep, I would halve the recipe for a 9×9-inch or 8×8-inch pan.

  15. Lina on February 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Hi sally i havent made bread pudding before but im looking forward to venture with it …. What do you think about using croissants instead of bread i’ve seen people do that before but i dont know

  16. Jennifer on February 12, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    I’m excited to try making this! I did have bread pudding once at an Irish restaurants b/c I couldn’t find anything else on the menu I liked lol I did enjoy it, but haven’t tried a chocolate one before! 

    • Sally on February 12, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      I hope you love this recipe! Happy baking 🙂

  17. Trisha on February 12, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for this recipe! I do like bread pudding and of course chocolate, so I’m anxious to try them together. Quick question before I make it, when baking the pudding do I remove the foil from the pan so that the pudding gets the crispy edges you speak of, or leave it on? Thanks in advance.

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 11:56 am

      Hey Trisha! Thank you so much for asking this because I forgot to mention it in the written recipe. I bake covered for the first 25 minutes, then uncover so the top can slightly crisp up.

  18. Kayle (The Cooking Actress) on February 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    yesss-I’m with you 1000% this is exactly what bread pudding should be!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you, Kayle!!

  19. Lou B. on February 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    YUM! Soooo good! I’m thinking banana bread pudding would also be amazing 

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      That would be SOOOO good! Let me know if you try it 🙂

  20. blogtastic Food on February 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    Omg that is the sexiest looking dish I have ever seen!!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you!

  21. Jane Weisman on February 12, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    This is made similar to Martha Stewarts chocolate bread pudding.

  22. Miriam on February 12, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      I hope you love it!! 🙂

  23. Mary on February 12, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    A local bakery makes a bread pudding called Creme Brulee bread pudding. It is not soggy, has great texture and flavor. It is so rich that one can only eat a quarter of the serving. It is so dense that you can slice it. Amazing stuff.

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      That sounds heavenly!!

  24. Madeline on February 12, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I had the pleasure of baking dessert for a small scale restaurant a couple of years ago, and the most popular recipe in my repertoire was a bourbon bread pudding. I made it individualized in muffin tins with our old bread, and the mixture married a milk, cinnamon and bourbon elixir that was given the chance to seep the flavor throughout overnight. It had dried apricots incorporated and if that wasn’t enough – was topped with a cold cube of bourbon + brown sugar butter that melted over the warm concoction upon serving. Where there is a will there’s a way! 

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Oh wow – that sounds like a bread pudding I would definitely love!!

  25. karen on February 12, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    The best bread pudding that I have had was made with croissants – heavenly

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 11:27 am

      That’s definitely on my must-try list!

  26. Laura | Tutti Dolci on February 13, 2018 at 1:49 am

    Chocolate bread pudding sounds like my idea of heaven – must try this!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Ditto!! Happy baking 🙂

  27. Stine Mari on February 13, 2018 at 2:46 am

    Wow, one piece of chocolate heaven right there. Looks so decadent and yummy!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you so much!

  28. Lis on February 13, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Ohmygosh I had the same opinion on bread pudding!! I don’t get it! Why is it a thing?? But chocolate bread pudding…well, I guess I’m going to have to try this now
    X
    thegrlwhoblog.wordpress.com

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Let me know if you try it – happy baking! 🙂

  29. Marilyn Dice on February 13, 2018 at 10:36 am

    I’m with you Sally. You could never make me eat bread pudding. But this is a whole different animal. Anything chocolate gets my attention and this recipe is over the top. Can’t wait to try it. Bravo!!!!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm

      You are so sweet!! I hope you love this one – let me know what you think 🙂 Happy baking!

  30. Theresa on February 13, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Your description of bread pudding, soggy bread in a cream sauce that is not worth the calories, my sentiments exactly! It’s always looked disgusting and gross to me….ha…Why would anyone eat that? Your version however, looks delicious! I can’t wait to bake it! What’s not to love? Its chocolate!

    • Sally on February 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Happy baking!! 🙂

Reviews

Questions

  1. Lisa Marie on May 3, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    I love the new site! And of course this super yummy recipe! My Aunt makes bread pudding with thick sliced cinnamon raisin bread. So good! Why did you get rid of the Yummly button? I really want to save this to my recipe box.

    • Sally on May 4, 2018 at 5:50 am

      Hi Lisa Marie! That may have been an oversight. Let me talk to my developer about the Yummly button 🙂

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