Category Archives: Bread

Dark Chocolate Banana Bread

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This bread is not for the faint of heart.  It is rich, dense, and velvety to the extreme.  I had a few ripe bananas sitting on my counter and since I’m not one to waste good food, an immediate baking need was obviously in order.   It just so happened that I also had a chocolate craving (when do I not) so after a little plinking around my Pinterest board, I found a recipe from Joy the Baker that satisfied both needs.  Never one to leave well enough alone, a little modifying was performed and the resulting bread is just short of chocolate heaven.

I’m going on record to say this recipe is healthy as well.  It has a few of the major food groups (fruit, grain, dairy) and is made with dark chocolate.  Antioxidants people!!  I’m fairly sure it cancels out the calories.


Dark Chocolate Banana Bread
adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened Dark Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick (8 Tbs) unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular sheets together.

3.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4.  Beat the butter at medium speed until soft, about a minute.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each.

5.  Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three batches, only mixing long enough to incorporate it into the batter.  Add the heavy cream and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and scrap batter into prepared pan.

6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the bread loosely with foil and continue to bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it onto a second rack.  Let cool to room temp before slicing.

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Cinnamon Sugar Pullapart Bread

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Isn’t this a thing of beauty? Tender gooey flakes of cinnamon and sugar deliciousness draped in a sweet vanilla glaze.

When various versions of this bread started to pop up around the blogospher, I bookmarked one (yes I know bookmarking is old school but this was before I discovered Pintrest), noting to myself to make it soon. A few months later I was planning out the dessert to make for a girls night and I came across the recipe again and knew it would be perfect.

We ate it fresh out of the oven with a glass of sweet dessert wine while watching cheesy romantic comedies. Perfect.


Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

The Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) rapid rise yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
The Filling:
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted until browned
1/4 tsp salt
The Glaze:
 1/8 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs.

2.  In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F.

3.  Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.   Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be sticky.

4.  Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

5.  While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt for the filling.

6.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.

7.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

8.  Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to a 12 x 20 inch rectangle.

9.  Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

10.  Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

11.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw. A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

12.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a clean board. Place a plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up. 

13.  Whisk together milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Drizzle over the bread with artistic swirly flourishes.

Due to the layers being exposed to the air, this bread is best the same day.

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Recipes

Volcano Cheese Bread

Volcano Cheese Bread

This weekend I decided to try a recipe from the King Arthur Blog. This bread had a little something extra called cheeeeese. After a first rise, the dough is wrapped around a load of shredded cheese and left to rise again. The bread is then split into four pieces of cheese oozing loveliness. The recipe calls for Gruyere but at $18/lb I decided swiss would work just fine.

There was a big round of Uuuuuuuuus out of the guests when I bought this out of the oven.

Volcano Cheese Bread

from the King Arthur Blog

Starter
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cool water

Dough
all of the starter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) to 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water*
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups (14 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

*Use the greater amount of water in winter, when conditions are dry; and the lesser amount in summer, when the weather is humid.

Filling
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, or the grated/shredded cheese of your choice (I used swiss)

To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix till well combined. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature.

To make the dough: Combine the risen starter with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle—to make a smooth dough. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it into a ¾”-thick rectangle, about 9″ x 12″. Spritz with water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a lightly floured or lightly oiled surface. Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it’s puffy though not doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yield: four mini-loaves or two standard-size loaves.

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