Almond Joy Bread Pudding

by Jillian
This Almond Joy Bread Pudding features buttery soft croissants immersed in a sweet coconut custard, topped with toasted almond-coconut streusel, and drizzled in silky chocolate ganache!

This Almond Joy Bread Pudding features buttery soft croissants immersed in a sweet coconut custard, topped with toasted almond-coconut streusel, and drizzled in silky chocolate ganache!

Almond Joy and Mounds bars are probably peoples’ least favorite when it comes to candy bars. I, on the other hand, am one of the few who actually appreciates this often-neglected chocolate bar. That’s why I’ve decided to dedicate one of my favorite comfort desserts to the unsung Almond Joy…

For those of you who never cared for Almond Joys, might I persuade you with this bodacious beauty of a bread pudding?

In case the photos aren’t enough to convince you, allow me to describe every delicious detail of this decadent treat. It begins with flakey croissants that have been soaked in a creamy coconut custard. It’s then topped with a buttery, brown sugary almond-coconut streusel. After it’s been baked to perfection in the oven, it’s drizzled with a silky smooth cloak of chocolate ganache.

NOW are you convinced??

It might seem counterintuitive, but the best kind of bread for bread pudding is old, stale, and dry. That’s because it’s much better at absorbing as much of the custard as possible while preventing the bread pudding from being mushy or soggy. However, if you’re like me and rarely ever keep bread long enough for it to go stale, you can dry it out in the oven. All you have to do is cut your bread up into pieces, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for about 10 minutes. Not only does this dry out the bread, but it also toasts it, adding more flavor!

As for the type of bread, my go-to has always been croissants. Although I’ve used challah and brioche bread in the past, nothing can beat the soft, yet flaky texture of a good croissant. 

The custard is JUST as crucial as the bread since it’s what’s going to flavor your entire bread pudding. Being that one of the key ingredients of Almond Joys is coconut, I decided to add a good amount of coconut milk to the custard–a full can, to be exact! You can find it in the international aisle of most grocery stores, and it’s usually in the Asian section. Make sure that it’s UNSWEETENED, and don’t buy the kind in the carton that’s in the dairy aisle. Unsweetened coconut milk is also NOT the same as Cream of Coconut, which is sweetened and usually located near the alcoholic beverages.

Oftentimes, when you open up a can of coconut milk, you’ll see a thick white layer at the top. This is coconut cream, and beneath it is a thinner, more watery liquid. Simply pour all of it into a small saucepan, stirring on low, until the cream and thin liquid have come together.

Once heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, and salt are incorporated into the custard, it’s time to add some extra flavor to the custard. Vanilla is pretty much a staple in most baked goods, but for this bread pudding, I also added some almond extract and coconut extract. The coconut extract is optional if you don’t have it, however, it does add an extra boost of coconut flavor to the bread pudding.

Now that you’ve made up your custard, toss the croissants in. Make sure that every single piece of bread is completely saturated before pouring everything into a greased baking dish. You’ll need to allow the bread pudding to soak for at least 2 hours before baking. In fact, I always make bread pudding up the night before, then bake it the next morning. This results in a much more flavorful bread pudding.

Instead of incorporating shredded coconut into the bread pudding, I opted for an almond-coconut streusel. I don’t really care for stringy soggy coconut flakes in my desserts, so I figured that toasting it on top  would be a much TASTIER alternative.

To make the streusel, all you have to do is combine some sliced almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, brown sugar, flour, and melted butter in a bowl. You can use sweetened coconut flakes if you can’t find the unsweetened kind.

Once the streusel is evenly sprinkled on top of the bread pudding, cover it with a piece of tin foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Covering the bread pudding in the beginning will prevent the streusel from over-browning or possibly burning, so don’t skip this step!

As the bread pudding bakes, you can make the chocolate ganache! Simply heat some heavy cream in a saucepan just until it begins to simmer around the edges of the pan. Pour the hot cream over a bowl of semi-sweet chocolate chips, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and stir until silky smooth.

Once the bread pudding is out of the oven, scoop it out, and drizzle away!

This Almond Joy Bread Pudding features buttery soft croissants immersed in a sweet coconut custard, topped with toasted almond-coconut streusel, and drizzled in silky chocolate ganache!

Almond Joy Bread Pudding

This Almond Joy Bread Pudding features buttery soft croissants immersed in a sweet coconut custard, topped with toasted almond-coconut streusel, and drizzled in silky chocolate ganache!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Soaking Time 2 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces croissants, torn (about 5 croissants)

Custard:

  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk*
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Streusel Topping:

  • ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Scatter the torn croissants evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and toasted, about 8-10 minutes.* Allow croissants to cool while you prepare the custard.

Make the Custard:

  • In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, whole egg yolks, egg, extracts, and salt until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk and heavy cream until combined. Gently fold in the croissants.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish, gently pressing down on the bread to ensure that all of the pieces are completely saturated in the custard. Allow to sit and soak for at least two hours**.

Make the Streusel:

  • Place all of the ingredients into a medium bowl, mixing until combined. Sprinkle evenly over the bread pudding.

Bake the Bread Pudding:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cover the bread pudding with a piece of tin foil, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. This will prevent the streusel from over-browning.

Make the Ganache:

  • Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl; set aside. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium-high heat. Once it starts to simmer, immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, and stir until smooth. Allow ganache to cool slightly.
  • To serve, slice/scoop bread pudding into bowls. Drizzle with ganache, and enjoy!

Notes

*Make sure you get unsweetened coconut milk in the can--not the carton. You can usually find it in the Asian section of the international aisle at the grocery store. If you find that your coconut milk has separated, simply pour it into a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring until it comes together.
**If your croissants are already dry/stale, you can skip this baking step.
***You can also prepare this bread pudding the night before, allow it to soak overnight, then bake it in the oven the next day.
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