If someone asks what food they might make for you for a real treat, suggest this deep-chocolate-flavored pudding—studded with peanuts and creamy banana. To make individual bread puddings instead of one large pan, divide the batter among 12 small oiled individual baking dishes (about 8 ounces each). Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover, sprinkle with peanuts and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more.
5 large eggs 3 large egg whites 3 1/2 cups whole milk 3/4 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups chopped ripe banana 8 cups day-old whole-wheat bread cubes (1/2 inch) 1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts, toasted
SKIP THE PEANUTS if your throat is sore.
1. Whisk eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk in milk, brown sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, vanilla and salt until combined. Add banana and stir until incorporated. Add bread and stir until combined. Let stand for 30 minutes, pressing the bread down into the liquid a few times to help it absorb the custard.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a shallow 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
3. Transfer the pudding mixture to the prepared pan. Coat a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan with it, sprayed-side down.
4. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with peanuts and continue baking until puffed and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
ACTIVE: 20 minutes TOTAL: 2 hours
TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes before baking.