Bittersweet Baking Finalist #4: Spicy Bittersweet Chocolate Bread Puddings

The fourth finalist in our Bittersweet Baking contest is Emily with her Spicy Bittersweet Chocolate Bread Puddings.

We adore bread pudding, and we really liked how easy this recipe is. Emily explains how you can make this in a big dish or in muffin tins so you can grab just one for breakfast! Chocolate bread pudding for breakfast, with coffee - we like her thinking! Plus she used the perenially popular No-Knead Bread and we were glad to see how well it works in a bread pudding.

Emily's explanation of why her entry is bittersweet, and the whole recipe below, plus more photos...

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From Emily:

These bread puddings are a perfect accompaniment for a hot cup of coffee in the morning. They are satisfyingly sweet, but not too rich for breakfast, and the little kick from the cayenne pepper is a nice surprise and a great way to drag you out of the morning grog. Also, baking them in a muffin tin makes for a nicely portioned serving. And if you're on the go, you could easily wrap one of these babies in a napkin and be on your way!

Our guest judges will be announced next week and they'll make all the final decisions. Good luck Emily!


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Spicy Bittersweet Chocolate Bread Puddings

8 oz. stale bread (I used no-knead bread and it was about 1/2 a loaf)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper (give or take, depending on how much kick you want)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or line with muffin papers. (You could use a mini-muffin tin, If you'd prefer.)

Bring milk and cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar, pepper, salt, and bittersweet chocolate. Continue stirring until all ingredients have dissolved, then remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then gradually pour in about 1/2 cup of the chocolate cream mixture (enough to temper the eggs), whisking constantly. Pour in the rest of the chocolate cream mixture, stirring thoroughly to combine.

Stir in bread cubes, coating all pieces. Let soak for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Just prior to baking, mix in the chocolate morsels, then spoon into prepared muffin tin (dividing evenly over
the 12 cups).

Bake for 30-40 min. (Oven times may vary.) Bread puddings will be done when a knife inserted into the
center comes out clean.

These can be served with a dusting of powdered sugar (as shown), or a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream, and a sprinkle of grated orange zest, if you're feeling fancy-pants!