Bacon Chocolate Bread Pudding

The birth of Bacon Chocolate Bread Pudding:
Needed to make something for a food blogger potluck (thanks for having me, Gojee!) + only had my cousins’ Manhattan kitchen to work with aka there was LIT-TRALLY (in my best Chris Traeger voice) 5 feet of counter space and had no measuring equipment, mixing bowls, stirring utensils, and bakeware + a penchant for bacon and maple syrup +   the fact that chocolate makes everything better = BACON CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING, son!

Bacon Chocolate Bread Pudding

For the bread pudding:
4 strips thick cut bacon
2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 loaf stale Challah, cut into 1 inch cubes
4 oz. dark chocolate, broken into chunks

For the sauce:
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp eggnog

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange bacon strips in an even layer.  Cook for about 18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.  Transfer bacon strips to a paper towel lined plate to absorb the fat and let cool.  Turn down temperature of the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk milk and eggs together.  Add in maple syrup, honey, and vanilla whisk until incorporated.  Add cubed Challah to custard mixture and toss to evenly soak the bread.  When bacon is cool enough to handle, cut the strips into bite size chunks and add to bread mixture, along with the chocolate chunks.  Lightly toss to combine all the ingredients, making sure bread is thoroughly soaked in the custard and bacon and chocolate is even distributed.

Transfer contents into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish and spread evenly.  Bake in center of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the bread pudding has set and puffed slightly, with the top nicely golden brown.

To make the sauce, melt the butter into a small saucepan over low heat.  When butter has melted, whisk in the egg, taking great caution to prevent scrambling.  When sauce has thickened and egg has cooked, add maple syrup, honey, and eggnog, tasting along the way to adjust flavor.

Pour sauce over the cooked bread pudding and cut into squares to serve.

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