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BREAD PUDDING

4 slices bread (higher-quality is the best. Avoid thick, chewy crusts or sourdough. Challah or brioche is extra-special!)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
3 eggs, beaten with a fork
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt
2-1/2 cups milk, scalded (very hot). Whole milk is richest; can use everything down to 1%, but don’t use skim.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish (about 1-1/2 quarts; can also use a 9” baking dish, but it’ll make a flatter pudding) with cooking spray.

Scald the milk in the microwave (best is with a glass measuring cup; heat the milk for about 2 minutes, until it’s not quite boiling).

Toast bread slices lightly. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread slices with butter and sprinkle with the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Cut each slice in 6 pieces. Arrange pieces sugared side up in your casserole or baking dish, sprinkle with chocolate chips (in layers).

Mix the eggs, white sugar, vanilla, and salt; slowly stir in the hot milk. Pour the mixture over the bread.

Put your casserole dish into a larger pan (I use a roasting pan) on the oven rack. Pour very hot water 1” deep into the larger pan to make a water bath for your casserole dish. This makes your pudding come out moist. Bake until a knife comes out clean, about 65 to 70 minutes. (less time if you bake the pudding in a 9” square pan.) Remove casserole from the hot water. Can be served warm or cold.

Optional toppings: ice cream, whipped cream.

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