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Chocolate, Cherry, and Nut-Stuffed Braid

  • Chocolate Cherry Braid
  • Slices of Chocolate-Cherry Braid
  • Chocolate-Cherry Braid
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Sigh…I’m still basking in the glow of all of your thoughtful, insightful, and encouraging comments on last week’s post, You’re Only As Good As Your Last Post.  You reminded me of why I’m doing this and in the process, I learned from you and about you.  Thank you.

Foodward:  To my tastebuds, there’s not much better bread in the world than Finnish cardamom coffee bread.  The combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and coffee are intoxicating – especially when baking.  For this recipe I’ve adapted a basic braid bread from King Arthur Flour (you can find my cherry-orange version here) and in addition to the traditional spices, I’ve added cacao powder to add a little flavor and to give the bread a rich brown color.  I’ve also added a filling that includes…chocolate chips.  You may notice that my dough contains no cinnamon.  This is because cinnamon can adversely affect the rise of the dough.  The cinnamon shows up in the filling.  (For my no-knead Finnish cardamom coffee bread version, click here.)

Chocolate-Cherry Braid
Makes 1 large loaf

Starter:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/8 tsp. instant yeast

Dough:
1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water
1/2 cup brewed Choffy* (or use non-dairy milk or water)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp. fresh ground coffee
2 tbsp. Choffy grounds that have been brewed
1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1 cup whole wheat flour
~1 cup all-purpose or bread flour (you may need more)

Filling:
3/4 cups dried tart cherries, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. cinnamon
(a handful of mini vegan chocolate chips wouldn’t be a bad thing, either)

Make the filling:
Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until needed.

Make the starter & dough:
In a small bowl, mix the starter ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Cover and let sit overnight.

The next day combine the starter and all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Process for about 6 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky to the touch.  If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more flour.

Place the dough in a bowl that’s been spritzed with oil.  Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.

Punch down the dough and on a floured surface, divide it into three equal pieces.  Working with one piece at a time (cover the others), roll into a 6″ x 12″ rectangle.  Lightly spray the dough with water and spread one-third of the filling over the rectangle.  Starting with a long edge, roll into a log.  Place the log onto the prepared sheet and roll, fill, roll the other pieces of dough.  Braid the pieces together and tuck under the ends.  Lightly spritz with oil and cover.  Let rise for about an hour.

Bake the loaf for 30-35 minutes.  It should be nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped.  Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.  This is so good toasted!

*or similar product

Slices of Chocolate-Cherry Braid

Chocolate-Cherry Braid

Chocolate partners beautifully with so many flavors (cherry, mint, peanut butter…).  Fill in the blank: My favorite chocolate combination is ______________.

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  1. Sophie33 says:

    Waw, what a georgous appetizing special bread! Yym Yum Yummmmmm! Another must make, Anne! x

  2. Mmmmmm, I want a branch of Annie’s Bakery to open just round the corner from me. As for the favourite chocolate combination, that’s an exceptionally tricky question to answer, but cherry is certainly a contender, along with almond, hazelnut, mint, orange, strawberry…..the list is too long!

  3. Gorgeous recipe Annie! Favourite combination with chocolate….more chocolate? ;)

  4. My favorite chocolate combination is….orange, but then there’s peanut butter…or raspberry…too hard to choose. This bread is like a bunch of breakfasts in one slice and I would love to have a few to take with in the mornings! I haven’t used a ‘starter’ either. Must try ;0 Glad to see I’m not the only one baking breads in January instead of just smoothies too !

  5. Annie, you always have the most gorgeous breads!

  6. Gabby stole my answer, LOL! But, I guess my runner-up is something plain, like a muffin or cookie or plain bread to contrast with the chocolate.

  7. Vanessa says:

    You always have the best breads! How do you do it?! Love this recipe. Well done.

  8. narf77 says:

    My favourite combination is finding the time to sit down with a cup of tea and actually eat ANYTHING at the moment. Steve decided that we would paint the deck over the Christmas period…it extended to prepping and painting our extensive area of deck that goes around 3/4 of our home to the deck rails (sanding, stripping, prepping and painting), to “lets paint the gutters” and then “lets do the fascia’s” and then “lets paint the cedar that has weathered too badly to just varnish” and then I said “ENOUGH MAN YOU ARE KILLING ME!”. I resemble Smurfette who has been intimate with Kermit the Frog AND Casper the Friendly Ghost (you didn’t know she was easy did you? ;) ) and have a permanently bewildered look on my face and my hair has gone over to the dark side (gunmetal grey dark to be specific)… I don’t care what flavour it is, a cup (bucket) of tea and a huge wodge of ANYTHING sweet and restorative is going to be numero uno on this long suffering middle aged hippies bucket list ;)

    • Egads, woman!! I wish I could airlift you a whole mess of goodies and hot bevies!

      • narf77 says:

        So do I! I feel like a vegan exile at the moment existing on soaked buckwheat and finished sesame milk and date smoothies till I can shovel in a face full of steamed veggies at the end of the day and fall lifelessly into bed to sleep the sleep of the dead only to wake up the next day and do it all again! Those buckwheat smoothies keep me going all day though so I owe them a debt of gratitude :)

  9. Brittany says:

    Ohh how I adore a good piece of bread. I also adore chocolate..I would say my favorite way to enjoy chocolate is in a cupcake. HEAVY on the frosting.

  10. That is one beautiful bread Annie! Yum it sounds and looks delicious :-)

  11. Sarah says:

    Annie, that is just gorgeous!

  12. This bread looks so beautiful and delicious! I love the braid shape as well.

  13. India says:

    I’ve never braided food…just hair, so far in my life. As a gf vegan I wonder whether I’d be able to without the use of xanthum gum. You’ve inspired me, I’d like to try it one day. Your creation looks gorgeous! And what is Choffy? Totally new to me, roasted cacao..so does it have a coffee flavour?

    • Thanks, India! And I’ve only braided hair once or twice (I have short hair)! Choffy is wonderful! It has a rich, deep chocolate odor and flavor (though not sweet). There are other brands out there, but that’s the one that I use.

  14. The New Loaf says:

    This bread looks wonderful – I love the chocolate-cherry combination. Can’t wait to try it.

  15. Becky Sriepe says:

    Gorgeous! Chocolate and cherries were made to be together forever, imo.

  16. Sunny says:

    This looks so amazing…. my mouth is watering. As someone who just turned vegan and having turned my own blog vegan too, I love coming across blogs like yours, thanks for sharing!

  17. This looks wonderful Annie!! :)

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