This is a variation of the bread pudding I posted last month. Note that I suggest that you make sure the vanilla ice cream you use does not contain high fructose corn syrup. If you want to totally understand why you should try to avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, view the clip at the bottom of my blog for a thorough and scientific explanation. Warning: it takes about an hour to view the whole thing, but it is fascinating and easy for a non-scientist to understand.
5 cups cubed stale bread (use good quality bread)
3 cups milk
8 TBS (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
½ lb. dark chocolate pieces (use the best quality chocolate you can find)
½ cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp instant espresso dissolved in 2 TBS boiling water
1 TBS pure vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
about 1 TBS butter for slow cooker, more if necessary
Vanilla Ice Cream (look on the ingredient list before buying: try to buy ice cream that does not contain high fructose corn syrup, and look for real vanilla vs. artificial vanilla)
Cardamon Seeds (about 20 pods, but this is not a science)
Melt butter and chocolate together for 1-2 minutes in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Soak bread in milk for about a half hour, pressing bread into the milk during that time so that all the bread becomes wet. (At first, there won’t be enough milk, but after the wet bread becomes soft, and you press it, more of the bread will be able to absorb the milk.) Pour butter and chocolate over soaked bread and stir. Add sugar, eggs, espresso, vanilla and sea salt and stir to combine. Butter slow cooker. Pour mixture into slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Melt a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream in a bowl in the microwave (cook on high for 1-2 minutes). Stir until smooth. Cardamon seeds come in pods. Take the black seeds out of several pods (press a knife blade on pods and they will crack so that you can easily open them and extract the seeds) and crush with a mortar and pestle. Pour into melted vanilla ice cream and stir. Serve the resulting sauce over portions of warm chocolate bread pudding.