Chocolate Spice Pull Apart Bread

25 May

I like bread. There. I said it.

Make me a sandwich, and I’ll probably want to hug you. And dessert afterwards? Let’s get married. Now, combine bread AND dessert together? Oh baby…

When I saw this recipe for a cinnamon pull apart bread, I almost peed.

I obviously made it immediately. The results? Wellll, I had a few problems, but it was amazing. Determined to achieve perfection, I made it again and made a few changes along the way….as usual.

The first step, is the dough. (Just call me Captain Obvious)

It’s a really easy dough, it just requires some patience as far as rising time. I found that it took quite a while to rise. Make sure to keep it in a warm place with a towel over it, or you will be in for a long wait. The dough is sticky at first, but don’t worry, it will not be sticky after it has risen. Trust.

Once the dough has risen, you knead a few tablespoons of flour into it, and work it until it is nice and smooth. Cover it with a towel, and make the filling while you wait. I’m excited to tell you about the filling, it’s pretty magical. Well not magical. But delicious.

The original recipe called for cinnamon and sugar. Clearly this wasn’t enough for me. I added black onyx cocoa powder that I acquired while in Boulder, Colorado and nutmeg. Yeah…I know. I’m a genius.

I rolled out the dough, brushed it with browned butter (yes, you heard me…BROWNED) and sprinkled this dark mess of a mixture over it. Then I sliced it into six strips. I then stacked those six strips on top of each other.

Those six strips were sliced into six squares. Warning: this is a messy job.

So now you’ve got yourself a huge mess on your hands…literally. Where to go from here? Shove the stacks into a loaf pan. The first time I made this, I didn’t have a loaf pan and tried to use a square cake pan. It was a big fail. It looked horrible and didn’t cook properly. Don’t do this. Use a loaf pan. I let it rise until it was approximately doubled in size. Make sure you let it rise enough. I didn’t do so the first time (impatience got the better of me) and the result was a denser and doughier product. It was tasty, but the texture just didn’t cut it.

The next step: Bake and await the smells that will shortly follow.

And after that? Admire the masterpiece. And then? Devour!

Chocolate Spice Pull-Apart Bread

adapted from Joy the Baker

Dough:

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1/2 tsp salt

2 oz unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup water

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

2 oz browned butter

1/3 cup cocoa powder

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 until the mixture it is at 115 to 125 degrees F. Sprinkle yeast onto mixture.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar and salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

Once yeast mixture is foamy, pour into dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  It will take a while to come together. Just keep stirring. The mixture will be sticky. Don’t panic.

Place the dough in 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.

While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 oz of butter until browned.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.

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. Just roll it as large as the dough will go. No need for perfection. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough.  Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cocoa mix.  It’s a lot of sugar. No worries.

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.

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.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.

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 cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm. Just eat the whole thing with a bunch of friends right out of the oven. It’s better that way. Or you can wrap it in saran and keep it for approximately 2 days at room temp.

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2 Responses to “Chocolate Spice Pull Apart Bread”

  1. Diane May 25, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Um….yum! It’s decided, the boys I’m living with in September will be bombarded with millions of baked goods…it shall be grand! Ps. You’re too hilarious…you need to write your own cook book!

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