Chocolate, Cherry, and Nut-Stuffed 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.)
Makes 1 large loaf
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cool water
1/8 tsp. instant yeast
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)
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
Chocolate partners beautifully with so many flavors (cherry, mint, peanut butter…). Fill in the blank: My favorite chocolate combination is ______________.