There is something really comforting about bread. Psychologically speaking, it ranks right up there with chocolate for sheer comfort factor. And coffee, of course, one of my favorite things, ranks high on the pleasure list. Put all of these together and whaddya got? Something I'm going to have a hard time sharing, that's what.
I used foodnetwork.com's recipe as my starter and guide, but I did modify it quite a bit. Some of the mods were because I didn't have the right ingredients, and some were ... just because. I needed substitutes for some of the milk and cream, but it didn't seem to affect the outcome very much. It's still a serious to-die-for gimme-comfort delish dessert. But next time I'll make sure I have enough milk and cream on hand to try the original recipe and see how it does.
Chocolate Coffee Bread Pudding
8-10 slices of bread, cubed
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer (I used a combination of Vanilla and Amaretto)
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
1/2 cup Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or grated
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and place bread cubes in it. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream, non-dairy creamer, and Kahlua. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder. Add sugar mixture to milk mixture and stir well. Beat eggs lightly in a separate bowl and add in vanilla and almond extracts. Combine egg mixture with milk mixture and mix well. Stir in the grated / chopped chocolate.
Note: for chocolate, I used 4 oz semi-sweet, and for a little extra coffee kick, 4 oz Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape. I also didn't bother trying to grate the chocolate, as finely chopped was good for me.
Gently pour over the bread cubes in the pan. Leave to set for about 20 minutes, or until the bread is saturated, stirring occasionally.
Bake for 1 hour or until set. A knife inserted into the center should come out clean. Serve warm or chilled, with whipped cream, ice cream, or other topping of your choice.