A good loaf of bread has the power to transform a meal but this dulcet chocolate cherry bread, developed by Good Housekeeping, is exceptional enough to stand alone. Moist bread captures the richness and decadence of cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, blanketed by a whisper of coffee. A scattering of tart succulent dried cherries offer bursts of texture and refreshing balance against the darkness of the aforementioned chocolate. Even the subtle complexity of molasses introduced by dark brown sugar contributes to a depth of flavor that is entirely unexpected from a loaf of bread.
We love to serve this bread with a generous smear of velvety Devonshire cream for a smooth lush mouth feel. Paired with a warm cup of coffee or a stiff glass of bourbon, this bread is ideal aside breakfast and post dinner drinks alike. Enjoy it this holiday season as a contemporary interpretation of a traditional fruit cake.
Recipe from: Chocolate! Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes By The Editors of Good Housekeeping
Prep: 20 minutes plus rising Bake: 20 minutes Makes 2 loaves, 12 slices each
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
About 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1-3/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled until warm (105 to 115 degrees F)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 large egg, separated
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
3 squares (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon water
In cup, combine warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, cocoa, brown sugar, and salt.
With wooden spoon, stir warm coffee, butter, egg yolk (cover egg white and set aside in refrigerator), and yeast mixture into flour mixture. In bowl, with floured hands, knead several times to combine well.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour just to keep dough from sticking. Knead in cherries and chocolate.
Shape dough into ball; place in greased large bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F) until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Punch down dough.Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and cut in half; cover dough and let rest 15 minutes for easier shaping.
Shape each dough half into 5-inch ball. Using the sides of your hands, tuck sides of dough under to meet in center. Rotate and repeat to form taut ball. Place balls, 3-inches apart, in opposite corners of un-greased large cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In cup, beat reserved egg white with water; gently brush over the tops of the loaves, being sure to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle loaves with remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. With serrated knife or single-edge razor blade, cut shallow X in top of each loaf.