Chocolate Almond Twist Bread is a sweet yeasty bread that’s perfect to enjoy for lazy Sunday mornings, holiday brunches or for a midnight snack (shhh I promise I won’t tell).
I can’t believe it but it’s been 6 weeks since I last posted any sort of sweets recipe on this blog. I’m pretty sure that is some sort of record for the three years I’ve been around this parts. Now that’s a commitment to good health wouldn’t you say? Have you felt a little deprived? Don’t worry, today we are going to make up the lack of bready carbs and chocolate all at once with this sweet and yeasty chocolate bread I made for my good friend of Renee at Magnolia Days.
Renee is one of those bloggers that I just always knew, we started blogging around the same time, fell into the same group of friends and clicked immediately. Perhaps it was our love for our dog(s), a good cut of meat, the perfect dessert and a great cocktail to finish the night off. The only difference is I’m all New York and she’s all South!
Two of Renee’s specialities happen to be German cuisine and bread baking and what do you know – she’s on her way to Germany as we speak. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to attempt to recreate a pastry-like pretzel that I fell in love with when I visited Cologne 2 years ago.
This pretzel was incredible, they lined the windows of all the shops just begging to be eaten, swirls of chocolate were hidden underneath piles of slivered almonds. The first bite did not disappoint after staring at them during a day of sightseeing! While these guys didn’t turn out how I wanted, what I did end up with was a sweet roll with a hard to resist aroma and taste.
23/4 cups + 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for your workspace
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
11/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons water
For the filling:
3/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (60-70% cacao)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
For the topping:
1 large egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten for egg wash
Slivered blanched almonds
Powdered sugar to top
In a large bowl combined the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
Using a pastry cutter, quickly work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal. You want some pieces of butter to still be in large chunks, others to be the size of pebbles.
Transfer to your stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment and add the vanilla, milk, water and egg. Mix until the dough starts to come together and form a sticky mass. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, continue to knead and stop when it just starts to pull away from the sides. The dough will never fully form into a ball in your stand mixer.
Scoop the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead until it is no longer sticky and you can form into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
Flour your work surface again and roll the dough out into a 10 inch rectangle, it’s okay if it isn't perfect. Fold the dough into thirds, turn and fold again into thirds so that it’s a nice package. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill. Remove to roll out and repeat the folding steps again. Wrap up to chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Before shaping the bread, in a small bowl mix together the chopped chocolate, cinnamon, sugar and salt and set aside.
Take the dough out of the fridge and cut the dough in thirds, placing the part you are not working with back in the fridge to stay cool. At this point you can shape the dough as you like, you can make rolls, long twists or pretzel shapes. If you are going to make a roll remove a small piece roll it in a floured hand, make an indent and fill it with some of the chocolate mixture then seal up. If you want to make twists or pretzel shapes roll out into a 6-8 inch long, press flat, fill with chocolate, twist around it so not too much falls out and flip to twist in a pretzel or leave as is. You can also tie the twist in a knot. Once you have determined you shape transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet to proof for 1 hour. Also proceed with all remaining dough.
Let the dough proof in a warm but not drafty spot, covered with plastic wrap for one hour or until doubled in size.
Once it’s finished rising, heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash and then generously top with the slivered almonds. Gently brush the top of the almonds with the remaining egg wash.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. Let cool before serving with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Store any remaining bread in an airtight container.
Dough adapted very slightly from King Arthur Flour Danish Pastry recipe.