Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

If you're anything like me, you anything that involves custard is an easy sell (and that's really what bread pudding is, a baked custard with bread in it). It's just one of those food buzz words that makes me immediately think I'll like it. A few more: caramel, goat cheese, spinach, artichoke, portabella mushrooms...(not together, mind you, but certainly any of those ingredients listed on a menu and I'm likely to order).

Anyway, in my constant quest to not let anything go to waste, I used last week's stale Kaiser rolls for this week's dessert (or a rather indulgent breakfast made out of the leftovers--I felt like Bill Cosby rationalizing chocolate cake for breakfast because it has nutritious things like eggs and milk in it. But really, guilt aside, it really is like a big French Toast casserole, so it's perfectly acceptable for this to appear for brunch. You hear that? You have my permission!). It tasted kind of like a chocolate croissant. And that, friends, should probably be added to my list of buzz words!

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

About 5 cups leftover, stale bread torn into bite sized pieces (a French-type bread or roll is good)
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups milk
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (depending how chocolate-y you like it--I used a combination of milk chocolate and mini chips)
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 casserole dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, thoroughly beat eggs. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Add milk and whisk until combined. Stir in bread pieces and toss just until bread is soaked through. Add chocolate chips, stir once more and then pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes-1 hour, until a knife comes out clean and the bread pudding is golden brown and puffed around the edges. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream (or at room temperature, or cut into slivers directly from the fridge and furtively eaten while still standing in the open fridge).

Note: you can also cover this and refrigerate overnight if you want to make ahead of time for in the morning. Just allow for a longer baking time if it goes into the oven right from the fridge.
Additionally, you can substitute blueberries and cubed cream cheese for the chocolate chips if you'd like to take more of a "breakfast-y," French Toast Casserole approach. In that case, you might want to also cut down on the sugar and pass maple syrup for serving, but that's just me...

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