There exists a contingency of people -- the author of this recipe newsletter among them -- who feel that dessert is not worth the trouble or calories if it does not involve chocolate. In honor of those people, we offer a week of indulgent chocolate recipes. This one, which is perfect for a cool-weather dinner party, comes from epicurious.com and originally was printed in Bon Appetit magazine in January 2007.
4 cups 1-inch cubes egg bread with crust (about 6 ounces)
1 1/4 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
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1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, broken into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
1 cup half and half, divided
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Toss bread cubes, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and toasted walnuts in large bowl to blend.
Whisk 1/2 cup cream, 1/2 cup half and half and cocoa in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Add remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup half and half. Whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in chocolate-cream mixture. Stir into bread mixture. Let stand 1 hour for bread to absorb some of the custard.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter six (1- to 1 1/4-cup) ramekins. Divide pudding mixture among ramekins. Bake puddings until set in centers, about 40 minutes.
Top warm puddings with whipped cream and serve.
Makes six servings.