Place bread on 2 baking sheets, and bake at 325° for 12 minutes. Transfer bread to a large bowl, and set aside.
Butter a 13" x 9" baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
Bring half-and-half and remaining 2 tablespoons butter to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add 1 cup chocolate morsels, stirring until melted. Whisk in cocoa and next 4 ingredients. Pour over bread, tossing to coat; transfer to baking dish. Cover and chill 8 hours.
Sprinkle with remaining chocolate morsels and pecans. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until set. Let stand 10 minutes.
*You can use French bread as a substitute for challah.
Note: You can also bake bread pudding in 8 (8-ounce) ramekins or 12 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Prepare as directed above, and after chilling 8 hours, spoon pudding evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with morsels and pecans. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35 minutes (for 6 ounce) to 40 minutes (for 8 ounce).
Made it for an Advent brunch at my church this morning. Everone wants the recipe. Pretty risky taking an untried recipe to such a function but my intuitions paid off. I also threw 24 Hershey's kisses on top before baking. Wanted it to be over the top. I served it with a vanilla sauce. From Pauly Dean. Let a container of good vanilla ice cream melt in the frig.. I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the melted ice cream. Yum, yum is all I can say. Will make it again for the office pot luck in three days. PS....I did use the bourbon.
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