The Ladies' Tea Guild

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Aztec Chocolate Bread Pudding.

Aztec chocolate bread pudding.
O.k., I'm a confirmed fan of bread pudding. Sweet or savory, filled with currants and lemon zest, butterscotch chips, or cheddar and onions, bread pudding is a simple comfort food to make, if it's not too hot to bake. Plus, it's just so darn frugal, especially for someone like me, who can't eat up a whole loaf of bread before it dries out or goes stale. I don't know if someone else has come up with this recipe already, but I threw together a bread pudding today (baking it in the toaster oven avoided heating up the house!) with a small loaf/sandwich roll of French bread that was thoroughly dried out, plus some chocolate. It uses Dagoba Aztec Xocolatl hot cocoa mix, thus the name, but if you don't have that, you could use your favorite intense chocolate cocoa mix, and add a dash of cinnamon and a dash of chili powder instead.

Aztec Chocolate Bread Pudding

1 small loaf or large sandwich roll of French or Italian bread, stale or dried out (but not moldy)
1 pint milk, plus extra
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup Dagoba Aztec Xocolatl cocoa mix
1/2 to 1 cup Ghirardelli dark chocolate (60% cocoa) chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and measure out 3 cups of bread. Place in a medium bowl and pour 1 pint of milk over the bread. There should be more milk than the bread can soak up easily, so add more milk as needed; let the bread sit in the milk for 10 minutes or so to get soggy. When all the bread is saturated with the milk (there should be a little extra milk left in the bowl), smash the bread in the milk until each cube is broken up and the mixture makes a wet, chunky paste. Beat the eggs well in a separate bowl and stir into the bread and milk. Add the cocoa mix and chocolate chips and combine well. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish (or a 12-hole muffin tin) and pour the pudding mixture in, filling the container (or each muffin cup) to the top. [NOTE: If using the muffin tin, you may not have enough pudding mixture to fill every muffin cup. Don't worry.] Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes (15 to 20 minutes for the muffin tin) or until puffed, the top springs back when gently pressed, a knife blade inserted in the center comes out wet but clean, and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool in the pan before serving, (or turning the mini puddings out onto plates). Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 6 to 8.

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)