Tags: baking, Basil, Chevre, Chibes, Chili Flakes, Dough, flatbread, garlic, goat cheese, Herbs, Lemon, Parsley, Pide, recipes, Turkish Flatbread
So..I’m making cheese, goat cheese – chevre to be exact. Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge. I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.
So, it’s a ‘palooza’, but not a Lala – a cheese ‘palooza’, rather.
Can you dig?
So, no, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be performing, but they will be making an appearance inside of my cheese!
I’ve made cheese from scratch before..Ricotta and Macarpone. I’ve also made Paneer, but I didn’t blog it, so I do have some cheese making’ experience under my too tight belt. However, all three were made with cow’s milk.
Tags: Asian Buns, Asian Vinaigrette, Bell Peppers, Chicken, Crockpot Pulled Chicken, Honey Sesame Chicken, Pulled Chicken, Red Cabbage, Red Onions, Sandwiches, Sesame Chicken, slaw, Sliders, Slow Cooker Chicken, Snowpeas
We’re all familiar with loads of twists on pulled pork, pulled beef, pulled chicken – pulled any meat that can be shredded into juicy strands after being simmered in a sauce for a few hours – then slopped on a bun, which soaks up some of that sauce. I’ve seen riffs on Asian pulled pork and chicken, but I’ve never seen the following Asian take on it until I scrolled through my blog assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.
Does any carnivore NOT love Sesame or General Tso’s chicken? Well, the blog I was assigned, Eat Little, Eat Big..authored and photographed by Susie, who just so happens to live on the beautiful island of Maui (lucky!), came up with this brilliant idea. She simmered chicken breasts in a similar sauce used for sesame chicken – in a crockpot- for a few hours. Voila, Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken!
Initially, I was going to make her Crunchy Oven Baked Fish Sticks, but then decided that there was no way I was turning on the oven in this oppressive heat. We’re talking 98 – 100 degrees the past week, so I loved that this dish was slowly simmered in a crockpot..or slow cooker, whichever you prefer to call it. Potatoes, puhtatoes.
Of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone. First, I toasted the sesame seeds, then I omitted the ketchup and used tomato paste instead. I used Chili Paste (Sambal Oelek) in lieu of chili flakes, added rice wine vinegar for a bit of acid, and a little chicken stock for more sauce.
I also changed the cooking time since I was starting with semi-frozen chicken breasts, plus…to get that really shredded texture, more time was needed, semi-frozen or not. To thicken the sauce after simmering, I made a slurry of cornstarch and chicken broth, instead of using cornstarch alone. I grated some fresh ginger into the sauce simply because I couldn’t fathom sesame chicken without ginger.
Before I even finished reading the recipe, I had decided to pile this pulled chicken on buns. At the bottom of Susie’s recipe – she suggested doing just that. SO, I piled this chicken on buns, but not just any buns. Back in Dec, ’11, I baked some plain buns using an extra batch of dough I made from the Daring Bakers Char Siu Bao recipe and froze them. Instabuns! For the sliders, I used store-bought slider sized potato buns.
I love Asian bun dough. It’s soft and so velvety, so I knew they would make great vessels for burgers or sandwiches. Use any kind of bun you’d like, even a doughnut if that suits your fancy, since it, ummm, it seems to be all the rage, but I’m not really recommending it, so, proceed with caution, and an adventurous palate! Oh, sprouted buns are also nice and work very well because they’re sturdy, leaving lots of leeway for sauce soakage, without falling apart, I highly recommend those along with the two aforementioned buns — not doughnuts.
Finally, you know how much I’ve waxed on and on about my love of natural rainbows incorporated into dishes? What better than an array of colorful vegetables to pile on these buns with the chicken? We’ve got shredded red cabbage (the purple), a mix of red, yellow and orange bell peppers, and blanched snow peas – all tossed together with a light vinaigrette.
This is my summer of Eat the Rainbow. Well, I’m trying to Eat the Rainbow. More to come soon, I hope. You see, I always say I’m going to make something, and then I never come through. I’m definitely not cut out for blogging, am I? OKay, I will rephrase that. I will do my very best to regale you all with loads of rainbow inspired dishes this summer. Hmm..maybe I should just stop saying it and try to actually do it?
In conclusion, these honey sesame chicken sliders are pretty, darn amazing and perfect for any party, so I do recommend you proceed without caution! If you’re GF, eat it out of the slow cooker, like I did at one point.
- 4 semi-frozen chicken breasts, cut in half , OR, about 1 to 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs *
- kosher salt and pepper
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- ½ cup chicken stock or broth
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon chili paste (more if you like a lot of heat)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth or stock
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Toasted sesame seeds, the amount depending on your preference
- burger buns or slider buns
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin or shredded
- 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded, ribs removed, sliced thin or shredded
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
- About ¼ a small head red cabbage, shredded
- 1 very small red onion or half a large red onion, sliced very thin
- ¼ lb snow peas, blanched, each snow pea sliced in half vertically and horizontally. No worries about peas falling out - it just makes it better.
- 5 tablespoons peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced with kosher salt until it's a paste
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1¾ teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- squeeze of lime juice
- freshly ground black or white pepper (to taste)
- Season frozen chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place in the crockpot.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients together except for the sesame oil, sesame seeds, cornstarch and 2 extra tablespoons of chicken stock. Pour over seasoned, frozen chicken in the crockpot.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours, until the chicken starts to fall apart. Remove chicken from sauce and shred with two forks. Set aside in a bowl.
- Pour sauce into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir together the cornstarch and chicken stock until smooth, then pour into the simmering sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking constantly - it should only take a few minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Pour over shredded chicken and mix well. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Combine all the shredded or sliced vegetables in a large bowl.
- In a clean jar with a lid, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and shake like crazy until uniform. Pour over shredded vegetables and toss to combine.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the flavors blend in the fridge for a few hours. You can use it immediately, but it's much better after marinating for a few hours. SO, make this salad while the chicken is cooking.
- Cut buns in half - toast if you like. Place a heaping spoonful of rainbow slaw on the bottom bun. Top that with a heaping spoonful of the pulled chicken. Pour some extra sauce over chicken and top with other half bun. Enjoy with plenty of napkins!
** If you want a really shredded slaw, use the shredding disk or very thin slicing disk in your food processor for all the veggies (stack the snowpeas to shred). I used a knife that needed to be sharpened so I couldn't slice the veggies as thin as I would have liked. It's much easier to pile a more shredded slaw on the sliders or sandwiches and much easier to eat.
Click on the blue frog below to see what my fellow SRC Group A participants chose from their assigned blogs.
Tags: #BreaingBread, Arugula, Bacon, Bread Baking Society, Cheddar Cheese, Cheese, eggs, focaccia, Roasted Peppers, Yeast
There’s a new bread challenge in town. It’s called the Bread Baking Society (Twitter handle @Breaking_Bread – hashtag #BreakingBread), – founded by Lora from Cake Duchess and Shulie from Food Wanderings. This month the bread they asked everyone to bake is focaccia and of course, I wanted to take part. Thankfully I got it in on the last day, last minute, of the month. Once again, there was humidity, but not as bad as last week. But, no braiding or shaping of focaccia – just dimpling (awww) – so humidity foiled. Ha!
Of course, there was free creative reign, so the variety of focaccias linked up, sweet and savory, is pretty amazing, from sweet potato to southern charm.
I made a Focaccia McMuffin. I call it that because it’s composed of bacon, eggs and cheddar encased in dough (the Mcmuffin part). What makes it kind of cool is, the eggs are in focaccia wells. I scrunched up 6 large pieces of tin foil into 3-inch balls, coated each one generously with olive oil, then stuck them into the cheese and bacon filled dough before rising. When fully risen, I pressed them down again, and baked the focaccia for 20 or so minutes, then removed the tin foil balls – giving me perfect wells to crack 6 eggs into. I put the focaccia back in the oven for 8 to 10 more minutes, and voila, six perfectly cooked eggs in six bacon – cheese bread squares (when cut), per person.
Of course I had to make it pretty, so before baking the focaccia, I topped it with some roasted red peppers, arugula, more bacon – plus a few drizzles of olive oil. When done, the eggs were seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and chopped chives.
Finally, I used Nick Malgieri’s focaccia dough in this recipe, which Lora also used. But, due to the damn humidity, I had to add an extra cup of flour because the dough continued to suck up flour while basking in the free sauna the weather provided. I also took down the salt because of the bacon..bacon = salty. I’m sure Nick wouldn’t mind..he’s a pretty awesome pastry chef and guy, and he left a comment on THIS post back in 2010…thanks to Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie, alerting him to the post. Cool, huh?
I was pretty stoked since I’m such a fan girl when it comes to my favorite chefs. As you can see, I wrote a novel in response to his comment and it kind of makes me cringe. But, I won’t delete it because it was a genuine moment, and genuine moments can be embarrassing at times.
So, uh, make this focaccia if you can. Yes, it’s unusual, and yes, many Italians would probably gasp in horror at the site of it, but it’s really fun and delicious (this is all filler text since there used to be a story here.)
More filler. Not much to say. *twiddling thumbs*.
Bacon, Cheddar and ‘Eggs in Wells’ Focaccia
Basic focaccia recipe adapted from How to Bake, by Nick Malgieri, with my revisions
Copyright (c) Nick Malgieri 1995, All Rights Reserved
6 individual servings
1 1/3 cups warm tap water (about 110 degrees)
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ( I ended up using 1 more cup due to humidity)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
6 to 8 oz cheddar cheese, cubed
10 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese plus 6 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese for the egg wells (1 tablespoon per well)
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced (optional, or add your favorite vegetable(s)*
arugula leaves (optional, or use your favorite greens)*
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium or large eggs
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
*If you don’t want to add greens or veggies of any sort, top with extra bacon and cheese. Herbs would be nice too.
101/2 x 151/2-inch jelly roll and parchment paper
1. In a small bowl,water sprinkle the yeast over the water. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir.
2. In large bowl, combine the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; whisk together or mix together on low speed in your mixer.
3. Stir the yeast, water and olive oil into the flour and salt until you have a dry dough. Slowly add the 1 1/3 cup of water while mixing, until you have a soft, but slightly raggedy dough. You may or may not use all the water.
4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
5. When dough has doubled, fold it onto itself, then flatten it on a floured board. Scatter the cheddar cheese cubes and 2 pieces of chopped bacon all over the flattened dough. Fold it over a few times, adding flour as needed. Use a bench scraper because you will run into stickiness. Keep folding and kneading until the bacon and cheese is disseminated throughout the dough evenly. If bacon and/or cheese pops out during kneading, just shove it back in. Let rest, covered for 5 to 10 minutes to relax the gluten.
6. While the dough is resting, oil the jelly roll pan, then cut a piece of parchment to fit. The oil will keep the parchment paper down. Flatten the ball of dough onto the parchment lined pan and spread it as best you can until it almost reaches all four corners. If it resists, let it rest a few minutes, then start pushing and spreading again. Tuck in any cheese or bacon that pops out.
7. Make 6 tin foil balls..about 3 to 4-inches each, and coat each one with olive or any oil, generously (I used spray olive oil) Press each tin foil ball into dough, deep..two on each row, equally apart.
8. Cover pan with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.
9. Prehaet oven to 425 degrees F. Once risen, press the foil balls down again (they rise with the dough), then dimple focaccia and drizzle with olive oil. Top with remaining chopped bacon, pepper strips, and arugula.
10. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven..keeping oven at 425F, and pull out foil balls. Sprinkle a 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese in each well. Crack each egg, one at a time, into a ramekin or small bowl, then slowly and carefully pour each egg into a well, until all six are filled.
11. Place pan back in the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still jiggly, like a sunny-side up egg.
12. Remove pan from oven, sprinkle all over with remaining shredded cheddar cheese (the heat will melt it), and salt and pepper each egg. Sprinkle with chopped chives, if desired. Serve immediately, cutting the focaccia into 6 squares, each containing an egg. Gently reheat leftovers, as not to overcook the egg.
Tags: Chicken Breasts, Chicken Fingers, Chile Garlic Sauce, Cilantro, coconut, cooking, Dessicated Coconut, garlic, Ginger, Greek Yogurt, Lime, Panko, Soy Sauce
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa. For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it. Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.
You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion. It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it. I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.
Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes. I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade. I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station. Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.
Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious. I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious baked chicken fingers I’ve ever had, and kids would go absolutely berserk over these. Just my completely unbiased opinion..I swear.
Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together. It was interesting and tasty, (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.
That said, I hope you try these little delights of crunchy chicken, and I hope you enjoy them!
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- ¼ cup light olive oil
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips. Cut each strip in half to make 'nuggets'.
- 1½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
- ⅔ cup dessicated coconut shreds
- ¾ cup flour
- salt and pepper to season flour
- 2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can't find coconut water)
- Oil spray, doesn't matter what kind
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
- 1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt. Add the chicken strips and stir until they're completely coated with the marinade. You can also pour the marinade with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did. Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.
- Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn't overly-saturated (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.
- Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. IMPORTANT - Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven. Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.
- Make the Spicy Greek Yogurt Dip. Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors blend
If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club. Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!
Tags: baking, banana bread, Chocolate, chocolate popovers, First Love, grated chocolate, peanut butter cheesecake, popovers, quick breads, Recipe
This is what I made for this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge..Popovers, but not just any popovers, popovers with flecks of chocolate in them. Cool, huh? Even though you can barely see the flecks until you split them open. Below was my original plan for this month’s Daring Baker Challenge. That original plan is now known as minor failure. I have a tendency to experiment at the last-minute..always confident that it’ll work out – no problem! More than half the time, there’s some kind of problem that I can either fix in time, or I end up making something else – quickly. I’ve always been a last minute person and I’d like to say I thrive under pressure, but I’d be lying. When it doesn’t work out the way I hoped it would..major potty mouth may ensue. My plan was to add chocolate chunks, then pipe peanut butter cheesecake batter from this recipe, into a really great banana bread batter. It worked as far as taste, texture and flavor went, but it sunk in the middle because I think I used too much peanut butter cheesecake batter, and frankly, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing – which is pretty important when you’re a food blogger. BUT, I will have a refined recipe for it eventually. SO, when you have only a few hours to pull something off, something quick is your saving grace. What better than popovers? Honestly, who doesn’t love popovers? Not only are they easy to put together, but the dramatic appearance usually elicits oohs and aahs when you pull them from the oven. Just look at how tall and whimsical these are! There’s a supposed secret to getting them this tall and crazy poofy, well, two secrets really, maybe three – ok, four. One, baking powder – just a little bit. Two – bread flour instead of AP flour. Three – room temperature eggs and milk. Four – letting the batter rest an hour before filling and baking I usually use a simple formula of 1 cup AP flour, 1 cup milk, 3 eggs and a pinch of salt – foolproof, beautiful popovers..every.single.time. However, after trying this new recipe,, and seeing how some of my popovers did the crazy dance once they rose above the rims (maybe it was the chocolate?), has certainly made me want to use it again. It’s amazing how much higher they would have risen had I not added the chocolate. There are photos of the popovers at the linked recipe, so you can see how high.
NO IDEA. Use your imagination.
Another key to tall, crazy and dramatic popovers is giving them some interior drying time in the oven. You poke a tiny hole in the side of each popover (the bottom part – I call it the ‘stand’) to let the steam escape. If you don’t do this, they will eventually slump and the interior will be soggy. Once you pierce them, give them 5 to 10 more minutes in a low oven on a baking sheet to dry. They will now hold shape, no shlumping and no soggy interiors, just crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside with lots of wonderful air pockets. I froze some grated chocolate, tossed it in flour (shaking off the excess in a strainer), and added it to the batter just before I filled the wells of the pan. I love the slight speckled effect and the streaks of chocolate on the inside, but most importantly, they’re tasty – like pulling apart a pain au chocolate, with less chocolate (and a lot less butter!) Those little bits of chocolate dispersed throughout the fluffy interior and crispy, golden exterior, will make you really happy. The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was Lis (my wifeypoo). Lis stepped in last-minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites, encouraging us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles. That’s right up my culinary alley. I never fully follow a recipe. I served these with leftover vanilla bean cream cheese spread and fruit. You can serve them with whatever you want, or just eat as is. I wanted to eat them all. I didn’t. Shock. Chocolate Flecked Popovers 1 recipe for these popovers – dijon mustard omitted plus 2/3 cup grated or finely chopped chocolate, frozen, then tossed in flour, shaken in a strainer, and stirred into the batter. If you have a moment, please check out some fantastic quick breads created by other Daring Bakers members, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE. For some great quick bread recipes that Lis compiled for the challenge, click HERE.
Tags: Bad Boys, Black Forest Bread, Cherries, Chocolate, cream cheese, Dark Cocoa, Dried Cherries, First Love, Kirsch, Vanilla Beans, Yeast
If you recall, I mentioned last time that I’m this month’s host for Bread Baking Day #47, Bread with Chocolate. Of course, the host takes part too, so I’m submitting a fantastically, deep, dark chocolate bread with dried cherries that are soaked in kirsch and big, chocolate chunks.
Remember, there’s still plenty of time to submit your yeasted creation, sweet or savory, baked, fried, or whatever..with chocolate added in any form, up until March 1st, Midnight EST. You can read about it HERE!
It all began when I was looking for an old cookbook a few days ago and came across a bread machine cookbook that I received as a gift with a brand new bread machine during the holidays back in 1994. I used to use this book to death because it was chock full of incredible and unique bread recipes adapted for bread machines and it was fun trying all the recipes during this bread machine phase of my young baking life.
This Black Forest Chocolate Cherry Bread was one of my favorites to make because everyone in the world loves dark chocolate, except for me, so it was always easy to give it away to oohs and ahhs while I kept my muffin top from spilling over and busting my zipper.
It’s now out of print, but if you can find it somewhere., used or new, I highly recommend grabbing a copy if you have a bread machine and like to use your bread machine. It’s the best bread machine cookbook I ever came across, to this day. It’s called The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever by Madge Rosenberg.
Look at that beautiful, shiny crust after it’s brushed, HOT, with the kirsch! The kirsch soaks and the crust remains, well, crusty, A good thing as one, famous Domestic Goddess whose initials are MS, might say. Not to mention, the interior of the bread is almost fudgy, while retaining a fluffy, light crumb, if that makes any sense.
I tried to be artsy. It never works. I’m photographically challenged.
This is the piece de resistance of accouterments to this bread. Creamy, sweet, vanilla bean cream cheese. Even though I don’t like dark chocolate, I wolfed down about 3 slices slathered with this spread. I also ate some of it with a spoon. Yes, I’m a glutton.
Look at those gorgeous dried cherries studding each slice,, below. They plump up while the bread is baking, giving you a little juicy that’s unexpected. I also gorged on the cherries, dipping one of them in the cream cheese spread, sloppily, because, again, I’m a glutton.
Finally, the best part. For those of you who don’t have a bread machine, I converted this recipe to hand or stand mixer kneading and oven baking. I added the chocolate chunks to the recipe – well chocolate disks, very large couverture disks I purchased from Leites Culinaria a while back for a chocolate chip cookie recipe I never got around to trying.
AS mentioned above, I also made a sweet vanilla bean cream cheese whip as a spread for this wonderfully moist and dense chocolate bread. It’s a tasty, tangy, sweet emulation of the whipped cream on a Black Forest Cake. Plus, why not add more calories? Enjoy!
- ¾ cup dried cherries
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch or rum (optional, you can soak the cherries in any fruity liquid you prefer..it doesn't have to be alcohol)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Valrhona. You can use a basic supermarket cocoa powder, and it doesn't have to be dark, your call.)
- 2¾ cups bread flour - if dough is too wet, keep adding flour until you have a soft and slightly tacky dough. Flour absorption depends on a lot of factors, like the weather.
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoond salt
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ¾ cup good quality chocolate chunks or disks
- 8 oz of cream cheese, softened
- 2 large, 3 medium or 4 small vanilla beans, split and scraped *
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- About 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place dried cherries in a medium bowl with half the Kircsh or rum, or whatever soaking liquid you choose. Set aside until needed. They will plump and soften slightly.
- Boil water and stir in cocoa until uniform. Let cool until tepid, about 120 to 130 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Using paddle attachment, combine and slowly pour in tepid cocoa/water mixture. Add softened butter and mix until it's blended in. Add the egg and keep mixing until uniform and brownie batter like.
- Slowly add in remaining (more or less depending on weather) flour until you have a slightly stiff dough that's easy to work with. Now, you can either switch to the dough hook and let it knead the dough until it's smooth and silky - slapping against the sides of the bowl cleanly, about 10 minutes, or dump it on a floured pastry board and knead by hand (therapeutic).
- Form the kneaded dough into smooth ball. Lightly grease a large bowl, and place the dough in it..turning to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or so, until doubled in size.
- When doubled in size, fold dough over on itself to deflate it, then place back on a clean floured pastry board, flattening it. Add the cherries with soaking liquid and the chocolate chunks or disks then fold the dough over itself several times to start incorporating them. The cherries and chocolate will keep popping out of the dough in a peek-a-boo manner with some falling out. It's ok, just keep pushing them back in and kneading. There will be cherries and chocolate chunks showing once you're finished, but that's perfectly fine..just stuff them back in with your fingers as best you can. You just want to make sure you get them evenly distributed throughout the dough. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, for another hour.
- Form dough into a loaf shape, and place in a greased and lightly floured 9 x 5 loaf pan. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until more than doubled..rising above the top of the pan - about 1½ to 2 hours. Could be less depending on how warm the area you keep it in, is.
- When the dough looks about ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. This is a very dark chocolate bread, so you can't tell by color. Another way to tell if it's done is to take it's internal temperature. It should register about 205 degrees F, but I don't like poking a hole in my bread. ;D
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and place on wire rack to cool fully. Brush with remaining kirsch or whatever liquid you used if flavored over top of loaf. If you used water, don't bother. Slice up and enjoy!
- Freeze the chocolate chunks. Place all ingredients in the order suggested by your bread machine manual except the cherries and chocolate chunks and process on the basic bread cycle.
- At the end of the first knead cycle (it should beep) add cherries with soaking liquid and frozen chocolate chunks.
- Brush top of loaf with kirsch or rum after you remove the fully baked bread from the machine.
- In a medium bowl, with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla bean scrapings, then powdered sugar. Beat on medium speed until uniform. Drizzle in heavy cream and continue beating on low speed until it's reached a nice, creamy, fluffy, spreadable consistency.
I’m submitting this Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread to Yeastspotting, a weekly bread baking showcase hosted by the uber talented Susan of Wild Yeast.