This might just be the ultimate comfort food: warm, chocolatey, and exactly how we want to end a crisp evening.
Warm, chocolaty bread pudding studded with bits of molten chocolate and drizzled with real old-fashioned butterscotch—but gussied up for grown-ups with a healthy dose of scotch. Use any kind of whiskey you like—it’s amazing how well the flavors stand up, so we can tell you that whatever you choose for your sauce, you really can’t go wrong.
Ingredients for bread pudding:
- 5oz Pure 70% Dark Chocolate (divided)
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 kosher salt
- About 1/2 loaf challah or brioche, cut into 1-inch cubes (enough to make 6 cups of cubes)
Ingredients for butterscotch sauce:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup good-quality scotch
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp sea of kosher salt
Instructions (makes about 9 servings):
- To make the bread pudding: butter an 8-by-8-inch baking pan and set aside. Finely chop 3 ounces of the chocolate and put it in a large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the half-and-half, butter, and cinnamon to a bare simmer. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Pour one-third of the hot liquid over the egg mixture and whisk well to blend. Add the remaining hot liquid and whisk well. Pour the hot mixture over the reserved chocolate and whisk well to melt the chocolate. Depending on how finely you chopped the chocolate, it may melt right away, or it may look like chocolate chips for a minute or two. Whisk until it’s as smooth as you can get it.
- Add the bread to the liquid and stir to coat them completely. Let the mixture sit for at least 20 minutes to soak up the liquid. While the bread soaks, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- When you’re ready to bake, spoon about two-thirds of the pudding mixture in an even layer into the prepared pan. Chop the remaining 2 ounces chocolate into ½-inch chunks and sprinkle them evenly over the pudding. Spoon the remaining pudding mixture in a layer on top. Pour on any excess liquid from the bowl. Bake the pudding until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes.
- While the pudding bakes, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small (2- to 3-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the mixture is smooth, the sugar has melted and no longer looks sandy, and it’s beginning to boil. Carefully whisk in the cream (it will steam vigorously), then boil the mixture until it looks creamy, thick, and molten, about 5 minutes. Add the scotch and stand back until the steam dissipates. Whisk the sauce for about 1 minute to let the alcohol evaporate. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk well to blend.
- You can serve the bread pudding right away; just remember that the sauce will be extremely hot. Pour the sauce into a small creamer or gravy boat and serve it alongside the warm bread pudding. To serve it later, let the pudding and the sauce cool to room temperature and refrigerate them. Reheat the bread pudding in the micro-wave, or covered with aluminum foil in the oven at 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Shortly before you’re ready to dish up the bread pudding, warm the sauce gently in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator; the pudding will keep for up to 3 days and the sauce for up to 1 week.