Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Indulge in a decadent dessert with this recipe for Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding. Paired with smooth vanilla ice cream, it's the perfect balance of rich, creamy, and crunchy. This dessert is ideal for any special occasion or an after-dinner treat.

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
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This recipe calls for challah, a type of Jewish bread that is very soft and eggy. If you cannot find challah at your local bakery or supermarket, brioche would be a good substitute. Semisweet chocolate is another key ingredient, but you can adjust the sweetness to your preference. As a final touch, you can add a splash of bourbon for a kick of flavor.

Ingredients for Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

Semisweet chocolate: This lends a rich flavor and smooth texture.

Half and half: It gives the pudding a creamy consistency.

Dark brown sugar: Adds sweetness and a hint of molasses flavor.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder: It enhances the chocolate flavor.

Bourbon: It adds a touch of warmth and depth to the dessert.

Cinnamon: It gives a hint of spiciness.

Eggs: They help set the pudding and give it a custard-like texture.

Salt: Just a bit enhances the other flavors.

Vanilla extract: It complements the chocolate flavor.

Challah: This bread is used for its soft, eggy texture.

Confectioners' sugar: For dusting over the finished dessert for a touch of sweetness.

Vanilla ice cream: It serves as a cool, creamy accompaniment to the warm pudding.

One reader, Chadd Strother says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This dark chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream recipe is a game-changer! The rich, velvety chocolate combined with the creamy vanilla ice cream is a match made in dessert heaven. The flavors are perfectly balanced, and the warm, gooey texture is simply divine. A must-try for all chocolate lovers!

Chadd Strother

Mastering the Art of Bread Pudding: Essential Techniques

How to chop the chocolate: Chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks, and reserve 2/3 cup for later use.

How to make the chocolate custard: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the half and half, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Bring the mixture to a boil, then off the heat, whisk in the remaining chocolate, bourbon, and cinnamon.

How to prepare the bread and custard mixture: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, and vanilla extract. Gradually pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to combine. Add the bread cubes to the custard, cover, and let soak in the fridge for at least 1.5 hours or overnight.

How to bake the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the chocolate-soaked bread to the prepared baking dish, and spread the bread around evenly. Scatter the reserved 2/3 cup of chocolate over the top, then use a spoon to push about half of the chocolate bits down into the pudding. Bake until slightly puffed and set in the center, 45-50 minutes.

How to serve the bread pudding: Let the bread pudding cool for about 10 minutes, then serve warm, dusted with confectioners' sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream.

How To Make Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

Filled with dark chocolate, this bread pudding is as delectable as it can get. The splash of bourbon is a great way to deepen those rich flavors.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes



For Chocolate Bread Pudding:

  • 10ozsemisweet chocolate
  • 4cupshalf and half
  • cupsdark brown sugar
  • cupnatural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cupbourbon
  • 1tspcinnamon
  • 8large eggs
  • ¼tspsalt
  • 2tspvanilla extract
  • 1large challah,about 1⅓ lb, cut into 1-inch cubes

For Serving:

  • confectioners’ sugar,optional
  • vanilla ice cream,optional


  1. Chop the chocolate into ¼-inch chunks. Reserve ⅔ cup and set aside.

  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the half and half, brown sugar and cocoa powder; bring to a boil. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining chocolate, bourbon and cinnamon.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and vanilla extract. Very gradually, pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to combine (pour slowly, especially at the beginning, or the hot chocolate mixture will scramble the eggs).

  4. Add the bread cubes to the custard; cover and let soak in the fridge for at least 1.5 hours or overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch glass baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

  6. Transfer the chocolate-soaked bread to the prepared baking dish, and spread the bread around evenly. Scatter the reserved ⅔ cup of chocolate over top, then use a spoon to push about half of the chocolate bits down into the pudding.

  7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until slightly puffed and set in the center. Let cool about 10 minutes, then serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar and topped with vanilla ice cream.


  • Calories: 500.29kcal
  • Fat: 22.86g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.00g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 7.51g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.77g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.72g
  • Fiber: 3.54g
  • Sugar: 34.65g
  • Protein: 12.81g
  • Cholesterol: 179.35mg
  • Sodium: 326.32mg
  • Calcium: 175.32mg
  • Potassium: 353.18mg
  • Iron: 3.36mg
  • Vitamin A: 163.11µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.73mg

Achieving the Perfect Texture: A Crucial Tip for Bread Pudding Success

When making your chocolate bread pudding, it's important to pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture very gradually. This is to prevent the eggs from scrambling due to the heat. Start by adding a small amount of the hot mixture while whisking vigorously, then continue to add the rest slowly. This technique, known as tempering, will ensure your custard base is smooth and creamy, rather than lumpy and curdled.

Time-Saving Hacks for Preparing This Decadent Dessert

Prep ahead: Prepare the chocolate bread pudding custard the night before and let the bread soak in the fridge overnight for a quicker assembly the next day.

Use pre-cut bread: Save time by using pre-cut bread cubes or slices for the bread pudding instead of cutting and cubing the bread yourself.

Double batch: Make a double batch of the chocolate bread pudding and freeze individual portions for a quick and indulgent dessert option on busy days.

Organize ingredients: Before starting the recipe, gather and organize all the ingredients and equipment needed to streamline the cooking process.

Bake in advance: Bake the bread pudding in advance and reheat individual servings in the microwave for a speedy dessert option.

Substitute Ingredients For Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

  • semisweet chocolate - Substitute with bittersweet chocolate: Bittersweet chocolate has a slightly higher cocoa content and less sugar, which can provide a deeper, more intense chocolate flavor to the bread pudding.

  • half and half - Substitute with whole milk and heavy cream: Whole milk and heavy cream can be combined to mimic the richness and creaminess of half and half, providing a suitable base for the bread pudding custard.

  • dark brown sugar - Substitute with muscovado sugar: Muscovado sugar has a similar molasses flavor and rich, dark color, which can add depth to the bread pudding's sweetness.

  • natural unsweetened cocoa powder - Substitute with Dutch-processed cocoa powder: Dutch-processed cocoa powder has a smoother, milder flavor and can enhance the chocolate intensity in the bread pudding.

  • bourbon - Substitute with dark rum: Dark rum can impart a similar depth of flavor and complexity, complementing the chocolate and adding a hint of richness to the bread pudding.

  • challah - Substitute with brioche: Brioche has a similar rich and buttery texture, which can work well as a base for the bread pudding, providing a tender and flavorful result.

Elevate Your Dessert Game with This Stunning Presentation

  1. Elevate the plating: Carefully arrange the bread pudding in a circular motion on the plate, ensuring it is visually appealing and inviting.
  2. Garnish with cocoa powder: Lightly dust the plate with cocoa powder to add a touch of elegance and enhance the chocolate flavor.
  3. Add a quenelle of vanilla ice cream: Create a perfect quenelle of vanilla ice cream and place it delicately on top of the bread pudding for a luxurious touch.
  4. Drizzle with bourbon caramel sauce: Artfully drizzle a rich bourbon caramel sauce around the plate to add depth of flavor and a stunning visual element.
  5. Sprinkle with edible gold leaf: For a touch of opulence, delicately place edible gold leaf on the bread pudding to create a luxurious and extravagant presentation.
  6. Serve on a warm plate: Present the dish on a warm plate to maintain the ideal temperature and elevate the overall dining experience.
  7. Accompany with fresh berries: Place a selection of fresh, vibrant berries alongside the bread pudding to add a pop of color and a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Bread Pudding

  • Saucepan: A saucepan is a deep cooking pan with a handle and a lid, used for cooking on the stovetop. It is perfect for heating and mixing the chocolate, half and half, and other ingredients for the bread pudding.

  • Whisk: A whisk is a kitchen utensil used for whipping and mixing ingredients. It is essential for combining the eggs, salt, and vanilla extract with the hot chocolate mixture for the bread pudding custard.

  • Baking dish: A baking dish is a deep, oven-safe dish used for baking sweet and savory dishes. It is necessary for baking the chocolate-soaked bread pudding in the oven.

  • Spoon: A spoon is a utensil consisting of a small, shallow bowl attached to a handle, used for stirring, mixing, and serving. It is used to push the chocolate bits into the bread pudding before baking.

  • Oven: An oven is a kitchen appliance used for baking and roasting food. It is essential for baking the chocolate bread pudding until it is slightly puffed and set in the center.

  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is a deep bowl used for combining ingredients. It is used for whisking together the eggs, salt, and vanilla extract for the bread pudding custard.

Preserving the Goodness: Storage and Freezing Guidelines for Bread Pudding

  • Let the bread pudding cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the pudding soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, cover the bread pudding tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It will keep well for up to 4 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze the bread pudding. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2 months.

  • To reheat, thaw the bread pudding overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Remove the wrapping and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 325°F oven until warmed through, about 20-30 minutes.

  • For individual servings, cut the bread pudding into portions before freezing. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container or bag. Thaw and reheat individual portions as needed.

  • Leftover vanilla ice cream can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Make sure it's in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and absorbing odors from other foods.

Reviving Leftover Bread Pudding: Reheating Tips

Here are the best methods for reheating leftover dark chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream:

  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover bread pudding in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Reheat for 15-20 minutes, or until the pudding is heated through and the chocolate is melty. This method helps maintain the texture and moisture of the bread pudding, ensuring it doesn't dry out.

  • Microwave method: If you're short on time, you can reheat individual portions of bread pudding in the microwave. Place a single serving in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high power for 30-60 seconds, depending on the size of the portion and the strength of your microwave. Check the pudding after 30 seconds and continue heating in 15-second intervals until it reaches your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat, as this can cause the pudding to become rubbery.

  • Steaming method: For an even gentler reheating process, try steaming your leftover bread pudding. Fill a pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a simmer. Place the pudding in a heatproof bowl that fits inside the pot without touching the water. Cover the pot and steam the pudding for 5-10 minutes, or until it's heated through. This method helps keep the bread pudding moist and prevents it from drying out or becoming overcooked.

  • Serve with vanilla ice cream: No matter which reheating method you choose, don't forget to serve your warm dark chocolate bread pudding with a generous scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. The contrast between the warm, rich pudding and the cool, velvety ice cream is simply irresistible. For an extra indulgent touch, drizzle some warm chocolate sauce or caramel sauce over the top of the ice cream before serving.

Surprising Origins: The History Behind Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is a classic dessert that originated as a way to use up stale bread. It has been enjoyed for centuries and is a delicious way to repurpose leftover bread into a decadent treat.

Budget-Friendly Indulgence: Is Homemade Bread Pudding Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this dark chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream recipe largely depends on the quality and availability of ingredients. While semisweet chocolate and bourbon can be pricier, the use of simple ingredients like eggs and cinnamon balances the cost. The indulgent nature of this dessert may not make it the most cost-effective option for a household, but its rich flavors and decadent appeal make it a worthwhile treat for special occasions. On a scale of 1-10, the overall verdict for this recipe is 8. Approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $25-$30.

Is Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding a Healthy Treat?

This dark chocolate bread pudding recipe, while indulgent and delicious, is not particularly healthy. Here's why:

  • The recipe is high in calories, fat, and sugar due to the generous amounts of chocolate, half and half, and brown sugar used.
  • The use of challah bread, which is typically made with eggs and butter, adds to the overall calorie and fat content.
  • The addition of bourbon, while providing flavor, also contributes to the calorie count.

However, there are some redeeming qualities:

  • Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and has been linked to potential health benefits when consumed in moderation.
  • Eggs provide protein and nutrients like choline and vitamin D.
  • Cinnamon has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help regulate blood sugar levels.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Reduce the amount of chocolate, half and half, and brown sugar used to lower the calorie and sugar content.
  • Substitute some of the half and half with low-fat milk or a plant-based alternative like almond milk.
  • Use a whole grain bread instead of challah to increase the fiber content and provide more nutrients.
  • Decrease the portion size and serve the bread pudding as an occasional treat rather than a regular dessert.
  • Pair the bread pudding with fresh fruit to add more vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the dish.
  • Experiment with using natural sweeteners like maple syrup or honey in place of some of the brown sugar.

Editor's Take: Why This Bread Pudding Recipe Stands Out

The dark chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream recipe is a decadent and indulgent dessert that combines rich chocolate flavors with the creamy sweetness of vanilla ice cream. The use of semisweet chocolate, bourbon, and cinnamon adds depth to the dish, while the challah bread provides a comforting and hearty texture. The contrast of warm, gooey bread pudding with the cold, smooth vanilla ice cream creates a delightful sensory experience. This recipe is a perfect choice for a special occasion or a cozy night in, and it's sure to impress anyone with a sweet tooth.

Enhance Your Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Tossed in a balsamic glaze and sprinkled with crispy pancetta for a savory and tangy side dish.
Grilled Pineapple: Fresh pineapple slices grilled to perfection and drizzled with a honey-lime glaze for a sweet and tropical accompaniment.
Braised Short Ribs: Tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs braised in a rich red wine sauce, perfect for pairing with the decadent dark chocolate bread pudding.
Butternut Squash Soup: Creamy and velvety butternut squash soup with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, a comforting and warming addition to the dessert.
Mango Sorbet: Refreshing and fruity mango sorbet, served alongside the dark chocolate bread pudding for a light and palate-cleansing contrast.

Similar Dessert Recipes to Try

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken: This dish is a flavorful and aromatic stir-fry that combines tender chicken with fresh Thai basil and spicy chili peppers. It's a perfect balance of heat and savory flavors.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: This creamy and tropical dessert is made with ripe mangoes, coconut milk, and chia seeds. It's a healthy and refreshing treat that's perfect for breakfast or as a light dessert.
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Salad: This colorful and nutritious salad features a mix of roasted vegetables, fluffy quinoa, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette. It's a satisfying and wholesome dish that's perfect for lunch or as a side dish for dinner.

Appetizer and Main Course Pairings for This Decadent Dessert

Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing large mushrooms with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, then baking until golden and bubbly. The creamy filling contrasts perfectly with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms, making it a crowd-pleasing option for any gathering.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with a fresh and vibrant appetizer featuring cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves threaded onto skewers. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with sea salt for a burst of flavor in every bite. These colorful skewers are not only visually appealing but also a delightful way to start any meal.
Main Courses:
Grilled Salmon: Impress your guests with a perfectly grilled salmon fillet, served with a tangy lemon dill sauce and a side of roasted vegetables. The crispy skin and tender, flaky flesh of the salmon will leave everyone wanting more.
Beef Wellington: Indulge in a classic beef Wellington, featuring a succulent beef tenderloin wrapped in flaky puff pastry, accompanied by a rich mushroom duxelles and a velvety red wine reduction. This elegant dish is sure to be the star of any dinner party.

Why trust this Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe:

This recipe is a decadent delight, featuring semisweet chocolate and bourbon for rich, complex flavors. The use of natural unsweetened cocoa powder and dark brown sugar adds depth and intensity to the dish. The inclusion of vanilla extract and cinnamon enhances the aromatic profile, creating a truly indulgent experience. The careful process of soaking the challah in the custard ensures a lusciously moist and flavorful bread pudding. With its meticulous attention to detail and premium ingredients, this recipe promises a luxurious and satisfying dessert experience.

Want to share your experience making this decadent Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream? Join our Baking and Desserts forum to discuss the recipe, share tips, and connect with fellow dessert enthusiasts!
Can I use a different type of bread for the bread pudding?
Yes, you can use different types of bread for the bread pudding. Brioche, French bread, or even croissants can be used as substitutes for the challah.
Can I omit the bourbon from the recipe?
Absolutely, you can omit the bourbon from the recipe if you prefer. The bread pudding will still be delicious without it.
Can I make the bread pudding ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the bread pudding ahead of time. You can soak the bread in the custard mixture and refrigerate it overnight, then bake it the next day.
Can I use milk instead of half and half?
While half and half provides a richer texture, you can use a combination of milk and heavy cream as a substitute for half and half.
Can I freeze the bread pudding?
Yes, you can freeze the bread pudding. Once it's cooled completely, you can wrap it tightly and freeze for up to a month. Just reheat it in the oven when you're ready to serve.

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