Challah bread is ideal for bread pudding recipes. This egg bread is slightly sweet and has an amazing texture that is similar to brioche. Its ability to hold moisture without turning to mush is what makes it perfect in bread pudding recipes.
After eating a chocolate challah bread pudding at a friend’s house, I had to make a version using candied bacon and Guinness. I don’t need to tell you how the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the bacon go so well together! The eggs, milk, cream and butter give it a richness that is not overly decadent. And how can you go wrong when adding Guinness? Honestly, you won’t be able to stop eating this. Add to this its super-fast prep time and you’ve discovered a staple in your dessert recipe repertoire.
- 1 loaf Challah bread, torn into small pieces and toasted
- 1 lb. bacon
- ½ cup brown sugar (to candy the bacon)
- 1 cup Guinness beer
- 1.5 cups 1% milk
- 1.5 cup half and half
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup melted butter
- 11 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. salt
To candy the bacon: Rub brown sugar on both sides of each bacon strip. Place on a baking sheet or casserole dish, then place in a cold oven. Turn oven to 400° F and bake for 17-20 min until bacon is crisp. You may need to flip the bacon halfway through to avoid burning on one side. Set aside and allow to cool, then chop into bits.
Reduce oven temp to 350° F. Place pieces of Challah bread on baking sheets and toast for 5-10 min until no longer soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 min.
In a large bowl, add eggs and gently beat until the yolks are combined with the whites. Add milk, half and half, Guinness, and butter to the eggs and mix. Add the toasted bread to the liquid and mix until all the bread is wet. Get your hands in there and get ‘em dirty! Then add the chocolate and half the candied bacon until combined. Butter a 9 x 13 casserole or baking dish and then add the bread.
Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 min. before cutting. Drizzle with chocolate or caramel syrup then sprinkle remaining bacon on top and serve. Enjoy!