Nutella Challah Chocolate Chip Slow Cooker Bread Pudding

Why can’t you win a Pulitzer or a Nobel for things that count? As in..we need to seriously reward the person who first thought of the idea of mixing chocolate and hazelnuts and selling it in a little jar and then excusing you for eating it first thing in the morning by claiming that it was an integral part of a “tasty yet balanced breakfast.” After all, if we spent more time each morning spreading Nutella on our wheat toast we might not need a peace prize or an investigation into corporate malfeasance because we would be too busy licking our fingers. We definitely would not need  these things if  the Nutella reappeared after dinner in the form of Nutella challah chocolate chip bread pudding. This dessert is delicious beyond in I gave more than half of it away so I wouldn’t eat it all and then immediately wanted it back. It tastes something like french toast injected with Nutella spiked with chocolate chunks. It’s another Cooks Illustrated recipe so it actually can be counted upon to come out perfectly on the very first try. That said, even if you burnt it beyond repair or substituted salt for the sugar, you would still have the Nutella jar to lick out.

Nutella Challah Chocolate Chip Slow Cooker Bread Pudding

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Slow Cooker Revolution (so far my favorite new cook book of the year!)

non-stick spray

14 ounces challah cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

9 egg yolks

1 cup Nutella (which is most of the a standard 13-ounce jar)

3/4 cup plus 1 tbs granulated sugar

4 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbs brown sugar

Slow cookers get extra hot under the collar (haha) directly across from the control panel which can burn your food. Create insulation by folding heavy duty foil until you have a six-layered rectangle that’s about 16″ by 4″. The recipe also suggests making a foil sling to facilitate removal by fitting two large sheets of heavy-duty foil perpendicular to one another, with excess hanging over insert edge. Although I followed these instructions and was okay with the results, I’m not sure it was necessary to make the sling. This pudding is just not pretty, even if you remove it from the cooker in a single gloppy, brown chunk. If you do make the sling, spritz it with non-stick spray. Otherwise, spritz the inside of the cooker and the collar.

Place challah cubes on a baking sheet and cook 40 minutes in  a 225 degree oven on the center rack.

While bread is cooking, combine cream, milk, egg yolks, Nutella, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, vanilla and salt. Cooks Illustrated suggested whisking these ingredients. I used an electric mixer to more evenly distribute the sticky Nutella.

Remove bread from oven and add to slow cooker along with chocolate chips. Pour Nutella liquid evenly over this mixture, pressing down slightly to completely submerge the chocolate and the bread. Mix the remaining table spoon of granulated sugar with the brown sugar and sprinkle it over the pudding. Cook for four hours on low, or until the center sets.

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