Grease a 7-inch round baking dish with butter. Cut the croissants (or brioche) into 1-inch cubes.
Now layer the croissant pieces in the baking dish and spread half the chocolate chips evenly across. Top with another layer of croissant pieces. Save the remaining chocolate chips for later.
In a mixing bowl, combine half & half, eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and whisk to make a smooth custard.
Now pour the chocolate custard all over the bread.
Using a fork, push the bread under so it gets soaked in the custard.
Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the custard. Top with the reserved chocolate chips and push them under the liquid to prevent burning.
Air fryer method
Place the baking dish in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 330°F for 15 minutes. After 15 mins, pull out the basket. Insert a knife to check if the custard has set and cooked through. If it comes out sticky, put it back in for another 3 to 5 mins.
Instant Pot Method
Add 1.5 cups of water in the steel insert and place a trivet with handles. Put the baking dish on the trivet. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent the condensation from dripping into the pudding. Close the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 30 minutes at sealing position.
When cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After that, release the remaining pressure manually. Carefully lift the trivet with the baking dish. Insert a knife to check if the pudding has cooked through. If it comes out sticky, pressure cook for an additional 5 minutes. For a crispy top, broil for 3-5 minutes until the top layer is lightly browned.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes, or till an inserted knife, or toothpick, comes out clean. If it comes out sticky, put it back in for another 5-7 minutes. For a crispy top, broil for 3-5 minutes until the top layer is lightly browned.
Let the bread pudding rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with sifted powder sugar or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
Stale bread is okay! This recipe was originally created to use up scraps of old bread, so when buying croissants or brioche for bread pudding, look to see if your local grocer has items that have been discounted because they have begun to go stale.
Make sure to give your bread enough time to soak up the custard mixture. 10 minutes is really the minimum. If you prefer, you can allow your bread to soak in the egg mixture overnight in the fridge prior to baking.
Push the chocolate chips under the custard to prevent them from burning.
The bread pudding is done when an inserted knife comes out clean. If it comes out sticky, put it back in for another 5-7 minutes.
To store your bread pudding, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 3 months. If you freeze your pudding, allow it to thaw in the fridge for a day before eating.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.