When my mom bought a bread machine, in 2000 something, we were curious about one of the recipes in the booklet that came with it: chocolate bread. We made it, but it was only ok, so we never repeated it. Last month, when I found this recipe by David Lebovitz, I decided it was time to give the idea of chocolate bread a second chance.
Don’t fool yourself: this is not a cake. It’s not a fluffy bread with a hint of chocolate, either. This dense bread has a deep chocolate flavor, and it is wonderful when toasted, with a little bit of butter! It’s perfect for a special breakfast, say… a birthday breakfast! 😀
55 g (4 Tbsp) butter
85 g dark chocolate – I used a 71% one
¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm
2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast
75 g (6 Tbsp) sugar
1 ½ tsp instant coffee – optional, but highly recommended
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
280 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
90 g (3/4 cup) dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate, chopped – I used chocolate chips, 50%
70 g (½ cup) walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, chopped – also optional, also highly recommended! I used walnuts.
Start by melting the dark chocolate with the butter in a double boiler, or on very low heat. When it melts, remove from the heat and let it cool down.
In a big bowl, place the lukewarm milk, yeast, and one Tbsp of the sugar. Mix and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. When the mixture has bubbled, with a layer that looks like beer foam, it’s time to add the rest of the sugar, instant coffee (if you’re using it), egg, vanilla, and salt.
As the cocoa powder tends to clump, sift half of it and half of the flour directly in the bowl. Mix with a silicone spatula. Add the melted chocolate, mix a little bit more, and sift the remainder cocoa powder and flour. Mix until it’s all incorporated.
If you have a stand mixer, use the hook attachment and knead for five minutes – the dough won’t stick to the side of the bowl for long, but keep kneading anyway! You can also knead by hand (the original recipe called for mixing vigorously with a spatula for five minutes), but resist the temptation to add more flour. The dough is a little wetter than that of normal bread!
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for two hours in a warm place. After this, add the chocolate chips and the nuts. Place the dough in a buttered 9-inch loaf pan.
Cover the pan and let the dough rise for one hour. Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 40 minutes. The bread will be ready when the house smells of chocolate and you hear a hollow sound when you tap it.
Now comes the hard part: let the bread cool completely before slicing it!
After our break for the Olympics (withdrawal syndrome, anyone? 😉 ), it’s time for a new series! Muffins, or “let’s use that muffin tin we bought in 2011 and haven’t used ever since” 😀
While I was choosing the recipes for this series, Sky made a specific request: he wanted a cornbread, but with cheese. I started researching and found this recipe, which I kinda followed – I used mozzarella because that’s what I had at home, I forgot to add herbs, used homemade buttermilk, you know how it goes.
When they came out of the oven, Sky ate three at once. I had one, liked it, but I didn’t fell in love with it. On the next day, though, I thawed one of the soups from the last series (the carrot one!) and decided to re-heat the muffins. TOTAL SUCCESS!! This was the perfect side for the soup!
For 12 muffins, you’ll need:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt – if your cheese is too salty, use less salt here!
2 garlic cloves – I used 3 big ones
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese – I used mozzarella, but any cheese that melts well will do.
1 cup buttermilk – to make at home, put 1 Tbsp lemon juice (vinegar would work too) in the measuring cup, fill it with whole milk, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Use the entire cup in the recipe.
1/3 cup butter, melted
The best thing about muffins is they are usually VERY easy to make. If you use paper liners, you don’t even have to butter the tin! 🙂
Start by preparing your buttermilk if you can’t buy it at the store. Meanwhile, take the muffin tin out of the cabinet, rinse it because I know it’s been WAAAAY too long, dry it and put the paper liners on it.
Melt the butter in a pan large enough to mix all the other ingredients, so there are less dishes to do at the end! 😀 When the butter is melted, let it cool a bit before adding the buttermilk and the eggs – we don’t want scrambled eggs in our muffins! Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cheese and toss it with the mixture. Place the dry mix over the wet mix and gently stir with a rubber spatula – you shouldn’t overwork a muffin batter, or else your muffins will be rock-hard! Just mix until you can’t see flour specks anymore.
Place the batter in the tin – fill only to 3/4 capacity, so they won’t overflow in the oven. This time, I got exactly 12 muffins. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, give or take, or until they pass the toothpick test!
Serve warm with a nice hot soup!
To freeze, all you have to do is place the cooled muffins in a ziploc bag! 🙂