Round Eight — Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread
I have a confession to make.
Though I truly, deeply love to bake bread and delight in all its complexities, idiosyncrasies, successes and catastrophes, I must admit it is not my first love. You see, I have an indelible sweet tooth. This is no ordinary sweet tooth — oh, no. I am perplexed when I pick up a Glamour or Self Magazine and read their articles titled, “Eat What You Want And STILL Lose Weight!”, only to find that their suggestions span only as far as, “When vexed with a desire for chocolate, have one Dark Chocolate Hershey’s Kiss to diminish the craving.” This advice, however, does not subdue my monstrous sweet tooth. Once I ingest the drop of chocolate, my sweet tooth rears its ugly head and, in full force, demands several more larger portions in order to be satisfied. So when I decided to take on bread baking — a venue that often avoids recipes with heaps of sugar — it was an attempt to find a hobby that perhaps would force my sweet tooth into submission forevermore.
Then I found this recipe. With loaves like these, I will never have the courage to beat down my sweet tooth monster.
I needed to make this recipe for two reasons: one, I’ve been dying to make a dessert bread and, two, I had one of those won’t-take-no-for-an-answer kind of chocolate cravings the other day. And so, with the help of my lovely new book, The Bread Bible, I created chocolate chocolate chip bread. Yes, that’s chocolate times deux.
This loaf is not really a “bread” in the sense of kneading, etc. but it is still a quickbread, and thank God, because this bread is far too delicious to have any sort of patience to eat it. Extremely moist and fluffy, with a Kahlua syrup soaking in from all sides, adds to the density and makes the bread more “grown up.” It was very, very easy to make (I randomly decided while baking the first loaf to bake a second loaf, and by the time the first one finished the second was ready for the oven), and very rich. If you don’t like chocolate, you won’t like this bread, though the bread itself is less fudge-y than you’d expect. Using a stand mixer was useful in this project, especially because the addition of ingredients and the rounds of mixing were important to aerate and “fluffify” the dough. I’m making up words.
Debrief: Next time, I may leave out the addition of the Kahlua syrup in at least one of the loaves (though the Kahlua addition is divine), just to see if the chocolate flavor, unadulterated, becomes enhanced.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread
courtesy of The Bread Bible
Makes: an 8-by-4-by-3-inch-high loaf
3 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-processed)
3 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract (do NOT use imitation vanilla extract, or a pox on both your houses!)
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (lazy as I am, I used all-purpose flour and did not sift, and survived to live another day)
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, preferably turbinado (a.k.a. raw sugar — I used regular sugar)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
13 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp chocolate mini chips or bittersweet chocolate chopped medium-fine (optional) (I used chocolate mini chips)
a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer;
an 8-by-4-inch (4-cup) loaf pan, or, if using the chocolate chips, an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch (5-cup) loaf pan, bottom greased and line with parchment, then sprayed with Baker’s Joy or greased and floured (if using a nonstick pan and Baker’s Joy, there’s no need to line the pan) (I greased the bottom of a nonstick pan and did nothing else and was fine)
1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F 30 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the middle level.
2. Make the soft cocoa paste. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then gently whisk in the vanilla and eggs. It will be fluid.
3. Mix the batter. In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed (#2 if using a KitchenAid, with the paddle attachment) for 30 seconds to blend. Add half the chocolate paste and the butter and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium if using a stand mixer (#4 KitchenAid), or high if using a hand-held mixer, and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining chocolate paste in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the bowl. With a rubber spatula, fold in the optional chocolate mini chips or bittersweet chocolate.
4. Fill the pan. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. (The batter will be almost 1/2 inch from the top of the 4-cup pan.)
5. Bake the bread. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200 degrees F. Tent loosely with buttered foil after 25 minutes to prevent overbrowning. (The bread shouldn’t start to shrink from the sides of the pan until after removal from the oven.)
6. Cool the bread. Set the bread on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a small metal spatula and invert it onto an oiled wire rack. Reinvert so that it is top side up and cool completely.
Variation: For an extra-moist cake and a subtle background coffee accent, brush the bread with coffee syrup. To make the syrup, in a small pan, stir together 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover and remove from the heat. When the syrup is cool, add 1 tbsp Kahlua. As soon as the bread is removed from the oven, brush half the syrup onto the top. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a lightly oiled rack and brush the bottom and sides with the remaining syrup. Reinvert it to finish cooling top side up.
Extra punches (from The Bread Bible): To get an attractive split down the middle of the crust, wait until the natural split is about to develop, about 20 minutes into the baking, and, with a lightly oiled sharp knife, make a shallow slash 6 inches long down the middle of the bread. This must be done quickly so that the oven door does not remain open very long, or the bread could fall. When the top crust splits, it will open along this slash.
So, my friends daughter has this blog. On bread. Hmmm….I love bread so I should probably take a look. What is the first one that I see? Chocolate? Oh, did she hear my call? Print recipe. I have nothing else to do so making a quick bread should be easy. (helloooo!..laundry…bathrooms…dishes…) Have all the ingredients-what true chocoholic doesn’t? But I have to admit-I have gone to the dark side. My dutch processed is dark as is my Ghirardelli 70% bar of chocolate that I will use for chips. We shall see what happens! All ingredients assembled at the table. Look at quantity for butter. 13 tablespoons? 13? Open fridge door. Antique butter dish flies out and breaks on hated tile floor. Tile is fine. Throw out butter. Get out dustpan and sweep up glass. Stand up and hit head on the door left open by someone getting out the vanilla. Oh. That was me. Hope there is more butter. Yes, but of course it is salted. The world is still ok just do not add salt to the batter. Boil water in microwave. Add chocolate. Impossible to stir but it starts to come together. It cools and I add the eggs (pull out rogue eggshell pieces) and the oh-so-real vanilla. Mix with whisk. Batter clumps inside the whisk. Tap it on edge of bowl. Stuff flies everywhere but clumps fall out. Keep whisking and hoping the clumps disappear. Stop when I realize it is futile. Put dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Turn on to stir and overshoot on the button. Flour now sticking to chocolate that flew earlier. Hope there is enough left for bread! Adding butter and chocolate in precise amounts and husband Shawn walks in-I like nuts. Walnuts. Add lots of nuts. Son Robert walks in-I hate nuts. Do not add nuts. OK. My bread, My way. Pecans. Just the right amount. As for the chocolate bar that I need to chop-looking at tablespoon measure and squares on the chocolate bar. One square is equal to one spoon, right? Chop away and hope that knife behaves itself. Injury free and into the bowl! Looking at batter and looking at pan. Hmmm….might need the bigger one. Grease a whole new pan and in goes the batter. Leave enough batter in bowl to lick. Yum. This bread has potential. You can always tell if it is going to be good by the taste of the batter. Why else do you have spatulas but to get every last bit out of the bowl for tasting?? Now we wait for 50 minutes. Take out bottle of Kahlua. Taste it to make sure it is ok. Taste again. Determine that it will be fine. Going to pour it on the bread straight with nothing else mixed in. Why not? Reading about split in bread. What??? 25 minutes. Grab foil and pull out a sheet. Look at pan. Realize I am to make a pup tent, not a family of four tent. Rip foil in half and place over bread. So far so good. 50 minutes. Take bread out and look at gooey center. No toothpick needed. Back into oven. Reset time for 10 minutes. Take a peek at 8 minutes and bread is done. Take off pup tent. Takes off a bit of the top with it. Re-read directions. Supposed to butter pup tent. Brush Kahlua on top straight from the bottle. Taste it to make sure it is ok. Cooling on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto rack and flip right side up. Now has rack marks on top. A lot more attractive than the split recipe calls for. Want instant gratification so slice off the end. Steamy hot chocolate bread smells emit from the sliced end. Take bite. Sigh…bread heaven, Chocolate heaven.
So Stephanie, I have been slow in getting to your blog, but now that I am here I am here to stay. I will now relive the world of bread through your eyes and enjoy your stories. I may or may not attempt another one of the fantastic recipes but I am always available for tasting. I love Elliott’s Pics and I look forward to your newest bread adventures! Congratulations on a beautiful blog.
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