Makes 12 servings
Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups 1/2-inch cubes dry* challah bread or other sweet bread
1 cup Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips (divided)
1 5.3 ounce package Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES™ Chocolate, broken**
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
2 tablespoons coffee-flavor liqueur (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 12 ovenproof espresso cups (the equivalent of six 4 ounce ramekins) with nonstick cooking spray (or line 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with a double thickness of foil bake cups); set aside. Place bread cubes and 1/2 cup Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips into prepared cups. Tuck pieces of Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES™ Chocolate into each cup.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, the 1-1/2 cups half-and-half, the 1/4 cup sugar, the vanilla, and cinnamon. Slowly pour milk mixture over bread and chocolate squares, allowing the bread to soak up the egg mixture.
3. Place filled cups in a shallow baking pan. (If using muffin pans, they can be placed directly in the oven.) Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until tops are puffed and a knife inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in cups for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a small heavy saucepan, heat and stir the 1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips and the butter over low heat. Add the 1/3 cup sugar; gradually stir in the 1/4 cup half-and-half; stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. If desired, stir in liqueur. Cool slightly. Serve sauce over puddings.
5. Any leftover puddings and sauce may be cooled completely, covered, and stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Tip: To make dry bread cubes, spread the cubes out on a large baking sheet. Let stand uncovered overnight, stirring the bread cubes occasionally.
**Tip: For easier breaking, place Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES™ Chocolates in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Variation: To bake in a casserole dish, preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 1-1/2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place bread cubes and 1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips into prepared dish. Tuck pieces of Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel SQUARES™ Chocolates into top of casserole. Combine milk mixture as directed above. Slowly pour milk mixture over bread and chocolate squares, allowing the bread to soak up the egg mixture. Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly; serve with sauce as directed above. Makes 12 servings.