We had friends that we traditionally celebrate Valentines Day with. We got together this past weekend for dinner at one of Shreveport's incredible restaurants, but our friends wanted to come back to our house for dessert. This is what I came up with. I used dark chocolate, simply because it is my favorite. You could use semi-sweet or even milk chocolate if you prefer...but why? LOL!!!
Tear your loaf of bread into small chunks. When I make bread pudding I prefer to allow my bread sit for several hours or overnight to "stale." I tear the bread in pieces into a large bowl and cover it with a dish towel until I am ready to mix it all together.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a medium sizes bowl,mix slightly beaten eggs, sugar, half and half or cream, and vanilla. Beat on medium until well blended.
Melt the butter in the microwave and slowly blend into the sugar mixture.
Pour this mixture over the bread pieces and stir gently to coat all the bread pieces evenly.
Gently fold the chocolate chips and the pecans evenly into the bread mixture. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes to absorb the liguid. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake 45-50 minutes or until lightly brown but not overdone. Allow to cool a bit while you prepare the Chocolate Sauce.
DO NOT PREPARE THE CHOCOLATE SAUCE UNTIL THE BREAD PUDDING IS READY TO COME OUT. IT WILL GET TOO HARD.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and the butter, checking and stirring every 30 seconds or so.
Once melted and stirred smooth, add your half and half or cream about 1/4 cup at a time stirring well and microwaving another 30 seconds each time until you get it to the consistency that you want it to be to allow you to drizzle it.
At this point, for each person I was serving, I dipped a strawberry in the chocolate mixture and set them on waxed paper to dry. I dished everyone's bread pudding up, added the chocolate sauce and then garnished with a chocolate covered strawberry. THIS WAS A HIT!!!