I love bread puddings. They’re messy, tasty concoctions, every bit as good as a pie or a cake. This is a riff on chocolate zucchini bread and cake recipes, a deconstructed version, as it were. Just when you thought there was nothing more to do with zucchini…

2 c milk, dairy or other
2 T butter or oil
1/3 c (brown) sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 t cinnamon
6 c whole wheat bread cubes or pieces
2 c grated zucchini
3/4 – 1 c chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put a rack in the middle of the oven. Lightly grease a casserole dish or other suitable baking vessel.

2. Combine the milk, butter, and sugar in a saucepan. If using oil, don’t add just yet. Gently heat, stirring, until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add oil now, if using instead of butter.

3. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add vanilla, and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Add cooled milk mixture.

4. In the prepared baking dish, combine the bread pieces, zucchini, and chocolate chips. Pour the egg/milk mixture over all, stirring to incorporate. Let sit, if possible, for at least half an hour to allow the bread to become saturated with the liquid (longer is even better, but refrigerate if it’s more than an hour). Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the custard is set. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.