Easy Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Serves 3-4

1 cup milk
3 cups crusty bread, crusts removed, cubed (I used a baguette)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white, stiffly beaten

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large, heatproof bowl, pour milk. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until scalding hot. Carefully remove from microwave. Add bread to the bowl and toss until smooth and slightly textured. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and egg yolk. Beat until well blended. Add butter and vanilla. Fold in beaten egg whites.

Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish or 3 (4-ounce) ramekins. Set dish in a pan with about an inch of hot water. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, or until firm.

In the meantime, prepare the whipped cream. In a medium-sized bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft peaks form. Store in the refrigerator.

Let bread pudding cool for about 30 minutes and then top with vanilla whipped cream. Serve.