1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso granules
2 tablespoons Kahlua (coffee-flavored liqueur)
2 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 cups (1-inch) cubed French bread (about 8 ounces)
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in liqueur.
2. Combine 1 3/4 cups milk and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add espresso mixture, stirring with whisk. Add bread, stirring to coat. Pour bread mixture into a 2 1/2-quart round casserole coated with cooking spray. Place dish in an oval 7-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours or until set.
3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk, mascarpone cheese, and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spoon bread pudding into dessert dishes; top each with mascarpone sauce, and sprinkle with cocoa.