Love is in the air this week, but it’s much better in your mouth. Case in point: this bread pudding with a boozy peanut butter sauce. While you might not think of bread as Valentine’s Day fare, when you add chocolate, cherries, and whiskey, it becomes a whole other beast — a sexy, boozy beast.

This easy recipe requires very few ingredients and it will make your mouth — and your date — very happy. We started with chocolate-cherry bread, an annual February offering from our local bread purveyor, Farm to Market, but any bread with a little something extra should work. If fact, Kevin Gillespie, the season 5 Top Chef alum and author of Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking, whose recipe inspired ours, uses Little Debbie Honey Buns. In addition to changing up the bread, we used chocolate chips in place of Gillespie’s butterscotch chips. Chocolate. Aphrodisiac. You know.

We like to make this in separate dishes so it’s already pre-portioned, but Gillespie likes to cook it all in one large dish. Like the bread, you can choose your own adventure here.

The secret (okay, the booze) is in the simple sauce: Heat some heavy cream, melt in some creamy peanut butter, and finish it off with bourbon.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

3 large eggs
1½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
9 pastries of your choice
½ cup chocolate chips

For the peanut-butter whiskey sauce:

½ cup heavy cream
½ cup peanut butter
3 Tablespoons bourbon

Preheat the oven to 325º.

Add the eggs, cream, salt, and cinnamon to a large bowl. Whisk until the ingredients become a delicious slurry and the eggs are frothy.

Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. Add the bread and the chocolate chips to the bowl and mix well.

To cook in a large two-quart baking dish: Thoroughly coat the dish with butter, then pour the bread pudding mixture into the dish and cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until set.

To cook in smaller (we used 8 oz.) ramekins: Thoroughly coat each dish with butter, then pour the bread pudding mixture into the dishes and cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until set.

Whichever method you choose, you want to cook until the custard becomes set around the edges and the center remains a little jiggly.

Heat the cream in a small heavy pot over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Whisk in the peanut butter until it’s well blended and smooth. Slowly whisk in the bourbon.

Pour the warm peanut butter whiskey sauce over the cooked bread pudding and serve immediately. Enjoy.


Recipe adapted from “Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking” by Kevin Gillespie (Andrews McMeel, 2012)