Do you love trying new brunch recipes? I know I do. Whether for my MOPS group or Bible Study, I get the opportunity to try many new recipes. We had a baby shower for my cousin recently, and I was given another opportunity to try something new. Now don't get me wrong, I have many good recipes that I have tried in the past, and many favorites as well. There's just something about trying something new! So I looked and looked for the perfect recipe (something I do a lot!), and one night was reading a Martha Stewart Living magazine that my mother-in-law sent on to me (we magazine-share), and there it was! What I really love about this recipe is that you can really put whatever you want into the filling.
I made one chocolate loaf and one with cream cheese and raspberry jam. If I did the chocolate again, I would chop it very finely, and possibly even melt it with the butter and sugar. I just didn't really love the texture of the chunks of chocolate in the nice soft bread. I loved the cream cheese/raspberry jam mixture, and I think next time I make it, I will add some whole raspberries as well. You could even make this like cinnamon roll bread, and coat the rolled-out dough with softened butter, then sprinkle with 1 cup brown sugar, and sprinkle all over with cinnamon. The possibilities really are endless, and I have a feeling you may be seeing some more variations of this recipes in the (near) future! Bear with me through the different fillings/directions, it's not as confusing as it may initially appear :)
For the Cake
2 1/4 tsp (one 1/4 oz pkg) active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs plus a pinch of granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (110F)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbs heavy cream (or milk) for egg wash
For the Chocolate Filling
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbs butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
For the Cheese and Fruit Filling
12 oz softened cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 1/2 fresh or thawed frozen sour cherries, raspberries, or blueberries OR
1/2 cup jam
For Chocolate Crumb Topping
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs powdered sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs butter, at room temperature
Glaze Topping for Cheese/Fruit-Filled Bread
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs whole milk
Make the Cake
Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar over warm milk in a medium bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In bowl of electric mixer, using paddle attachment, mix 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar, the egg, and the yolk. Add the yeast mixture.
Combine flour and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl. Add to egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost fully combined. Switch to dough hook and add butter. Beat until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about ten minutes. This is not like normal bread, so it will not fully form around the dough hook while mixing. I did add some additional flour, but go by touch and not look for this dough. As long as it is not sticking to your fingers when you touch it, it is good.
Grease a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until smooth. Place in the bowl, turning once to coat, then cover with plastic and let raise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
Make the filling of your choice.
Combine chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon. Rub in butter with your fingers until combined. Reserve 1/2 cup for topping.
Cheese and Fruit Filling
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and yolk until smooth in a small bowl.
When dough is ready, punch down, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll out to an 18x18 inch square. Brush the edges with egg wash. For chocolate filling, sprinkle evenly across dough, keeping off of egg wash border, reserving 1/2 cup filling. For cheese and fruit filling, spread cream cheese mixture evenly across dough, keeping off of egg wash border. Sprinkle fruit evenly over cream cheese, or if using jam, spread evenly over cream cheese.
Roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. Pinch seam to seal. Fold in half to form a U, with the dough touching. Holding each end, twist a few times to form a "braid". Place in a greased 9x5 inch pan. Cover and let raise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until increased by half.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine crumb topping ingredients with reserved filling mixture if making the chocolate loaf. Sprinkle evenly over top of loaf. Bake for 55 minutes. Lower temperature to 325F and continue baking until deeply golden, 10-20 more minutes, covering with foil if getting too dark.
Let cool 10 minutes, then invert from pans and cool completely, right side up, on cooling rack. For cheese and fruit loaf, mix sugar and milk, starting with 1 Tbs to form a thick glaze. If more milk is needed, add a small amount at a time. Drizzle over cooled loaf.
Yield: 10-12 servings
Source: adapted from Martha Stewart