Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce and a latte to put all others to shame

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html

So my husband has been gone on a fishing trip for the past six days. That’s entirely too long. He comes home today and in an effort to say “thanks for coming home alive and bringing 30 pounds of shark, Snapper, and Kingfish” I made chocolate bread pudding. Not just any bread pudding. Chocolate bread pudding. With Kahlua. And cream.  This caramel sauce was the perfect pairing-and I added the seeds from one vanilla bean to enhance the flavor. Though I haven’t actually served the dish up yet, because my man is en route to our casa, I assure you the few bites I sneaked out of the pan this morning for quality control show I haven’t lost my baking skills.

My sweet friend Katie, who bought me the baking chocolate and vanilla beans as a birthday gift, told me to throw the seeded vanilla pod into some sugar to flavor it. Thankfully I listened to her and refrigerated some vanilla sugar overnight. I spoonful of vanilla sugar with a spoon of the caramel mixed into my latte has  my taste buds dancing just after 7AM. Such a joyous morning.

Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe-Adapted from Food Network
18 oz loaf French or Italian bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 eggs, lightly beaten
7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (Thanks to Katie I used WIlliams Sonoma Baking Chocolate)



Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and place the bread in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur. Using another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extract to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until set. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean.

I baked mine ahead of time and allowed it to sit in the refrigerator overnight to help combine flavors. Serve with Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce

Original Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe
Ingredients
1 (1-pound) loaf French or Italian bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and place the bread in the dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and liqueur. Using another bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder and mix well. Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture. Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan. Let the mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of the milk mixture. Bake pudding for 1 hour or until set. Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle and it should come out clean.

Serve the pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream if desired.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce-adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 c sugar
8 T butter ( I used Kerrygold)
3/4 c cream
seeds from 1 vanilla pod

*note: the method I used is the same as the original recipe, I just altered the ingredients and their amounts*

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.
You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Original Smitten Kitchen Recipe
Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce [Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé]

Makes about 1 1/3 cups
1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature
Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.
You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.
Vanilla Sugar Caramel Latte
2 oz freshly brewed espresso (I like Illy brand-you can find it at Kroger)
2 t vanilla sugar
2 t vanilla bean caramel sauce
Directions
Stir sugar and caramel into hot espresso until dissolved. Pour frothed milk over top and enjoy in a quiet space. If you have kids, hide in the closet or bathroom.

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