Valentine's Day Recipe - Chocolate Bread Pudding with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

Here's the latest recipe from masterful chef Jill Fisher! Jill has a B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition and is a licensed Personal Chef. She teaches cooking classes at Conejo Valley Adult School and Williams Sonoma in Thousand Oaks and has written articles for local food magazines such as 805 Living. In December, Jill and her friend released their cookbook "i found my sanity in...My Best Friend's Kitchen."

CLICK HERE for other recipes from Jill published here on Conejo Valley Guide!

From Jill: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here is a simple yet elegant dessert to share with the ones you love.  You noticed I said “ones” – kids love it too!

From Conejo Joe: ANY recipe with the word CHOCOLATE in the title not once, but TWO times, is automatically good. In fact, if forced to, I'd be willing to eat this without the bread and walnuts!

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

4 cups 1-inch cubes egg bread with crust (about 6 oz)

1 ¼ cups semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, divided

½ cup walnuts, toasted, broken into ½ inch pieces

1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided

1 cup half & half, divided

5 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

4 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

½ cup sugar

Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish

Toss bread cubes, ½ cup chocolate chips and toasted walnuts in a large bowl to blend.

Whisk ½ cup cream, ½ cup half & half and cocoa in heavy medium saucepan to blend.  Add remaining ¾ cup chocolate chips; stir over low heat until melted and smooth.  Gradually whisk in remaining ½ cup cream and ½ cup half & half.  Whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar in medium bowl to blend.  Whisk in chocolate cream mixture.  Stir in bread cube mixture.  Let stand 1 hour for bread to absorb some of the custard.

Preheat oven to 325F.  Butter six 1-cup ramekins.  Divide pudding mixture among ramekins.  Bake puddings until set in centers, about 40 minutes.

Top warm puddings with whipped cream and serve.