Give Bread Pudding A Chocolatey Twist With One Easy Ingredient

Chocolate bread pudding in a pan
Chocolate bread pudding in a pan - johnlck/Shutterstock

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and perhaps bread pudding is one of the best culinary examples of this idea. Home cooks with stale or leftover bread needed a way to continue to enjoy these carbs past their prime, and this deliciously inventive dessert provided the way.

In that same spirit, many have continued to get creative with this preparation, adding twists and flavors based on diverse inspirations. While classic recipes are already packed with delicious elements (often cinnamon and vanilla, dried fruit like raisins and cranberries, and, at times, even booze), part of what makes bread pudding so wonderful isn't just its ability to repurpose ingredients, but that it's also an ideal blank canvas for experimentation.

That's good news for chocoholics -- because even a bread pudding purist may feel there's something missing from this sweet favorite — and that's chocolate. Fortunately, there's a simple and creative way to include this beloved flavor in a traditional bread pudding recipe. By incorporating powdered hot cocoa mix, you can satisfy any chocoholic's craving, and open a world of bread pudding possibilities.

Read more: 11 Discontinued Chocolates We Miss The Most

What Hot Chocolate Mix Brings To Your Bread Pudding

Person spooning out cocoa mix
Person spooning out cocoa mix - Valeri Vatel/Shutterstock

Hot cocoa mix brings more to the table than just chocolate flavor. Many classic brands like Swiss Miss or Nestlé, for example, include not just cocoa powder, but also dry milk, sugar, and salt — among other ingredients. Beyond chocolate, these elements will also impact the flavor and texture of your bread pudding.

On the plus side, sugar and salt are usually welcome in a bread pudding, and milk powder is an ingredient that many chefs swear by for bringing dimension to baked goods, including a layer of sweetness thanks to the caramelized milk solids (it's also the slept on coffee addition you've been needing). These extra elements make your cocoa mix a super-powered single ingredient. Just be sure you take this into account when experimenting; you may want to dial back the ratios of salt and sugar in your recipe until you have a chance to taste, for example.

Beyond the good stuff in these mixes though, you'll also often find additives like stabilizers and emulsifiers. Even organic blends like the Whole Foods 365-label hot cocoa contain the occasionally controversial xanthan gum. If you have sensitivity to these items, you may want to do some label-reading before adding to your bread pudding recipe.

More Bread Pudding Inspiration

Chocolate bread pudding in a bowl on wood surface
Chocolate bread pudding in a bowl on wood surface - Bartosz Luczak/Getty Images

If using a store-bought product doesn't sound appealing, you can also make your own hot cocoa mix and have more control over what you're incorporating into your pudding recipe. If you do prefer a packaged option, though, the world of hot cocoa mix is a vast one (we know because we sipped on and ranked 13 hot chocolate brands), and you can find some with a shorter ingredient list of all-natural elements.

You can also source plenty of products that feature additional flavors, too, which provide a fun point of inspiration for your bread pudding. An Aztec-style hot cocoa includes ancho and chipotle for a spicy kick. Trying out a mocha-flavored mix will add a tasty caffeinated jolt to your bread pudding, while peppermint makes for a refreshing spin, and caramel offers an invitation to add some flaky sea salt on top. These flavors might inspire you to incorporate complementary mix-ins like crunchy pecans or toasted coconut, too. Top each serving with a berry and apple compote for a delicious fruity counterpoint or a vanilla whipped cream for a pillowy contrast — but even on its own, this hot cocoa hack will take your bread pudding to a whole new level.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.