Bread pudding is an old southern favorite, but not many people make it anymore it seems. My great aunt, the same one that made the egg custard pies, used to make bread pudding quite a bit and hers was really a treat. I always looked forward to dessert on the days she made the bread pudding. My husband's mother made chocolate bread pudding and this is a variation of that recipe. She served hers with a chocolate sauce, where I am serving this one with a caramel sauce. Either way it is delicious. Here is what you will need:
1 1lb. loaf of French bread or Italian bread (day old is better)
3 cups milk
1 (15oz.) can of evaporated milk
1 Tbs. vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup powdered cocoa
6 oz. chocolate chips (mini chips are best)
1 stick (8 Tbs.) of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup half and half or cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Cut the loaf of French bread into cubes and place into a 9"x13" baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix the sugars, cocoa and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the evaporated milk and whole milk. Add the vanilla flavoring. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then whisk them into the milk mixture just until blended. Pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes. Make sure all of the bread is wet with the mixture. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before baking. Stir the bead around a little if you need to so that it is all well soaked. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 1 hour. A knife inserted into the middle should come out clean when it's done.
Remove from oven and let stand while you make your caramel sauce.
Melt butter along with sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add milk. Cook until it bubbles, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring the entire time. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let this stand off of the heat for a few minutes before serving. It will thicken as it starts to cool a little.
Spoon it while warm over the warm bread pudding. Serve with or without whipped cream. You can also serve this pudding cold after refrigeration.