Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread

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The moody fog and rains of autumn have arrived. The rich colors of the leaves are dulled by the cloudy skies, producing an nontraditional landscape of beauty. I've been nestled indoors, sitting near the fireplace and curling up in knitted blankets. It's been a quiet autumn so far, with weekends and evenings spent close to home. When the sun appears, I'll head back outdoors, but for now I feel content with a book in hand and a mug of warm cider nearby. 

To bring this cozy feeling into the kitchen, I wanted to create a bread that would incorporate these comforts of the season. I kneaded together a rich dough, made with butter, milk, and egg . After rising, the dough is spread and swirled with warm spices and melted chocolate. The dough is cut, twisted, and sprinkled with raw sugar for sweetness and texture. The bread can be served for breakfast or dessert, but either time of day it is enjoyed, it will carry the warmth of the season through.

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Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread is a sweet breakfast bread. A rich dough is rolled out and spread with brown sugar mixed with ground cinnamon and cardamom. Finely chopped chocolate is sprinkled evenly on top before the bread is rolled, cut in half, and twisted. After baking, the top of the bread is golden brown, with raw sugar to provide a crunchy texture. The bread is best served warm, either plain or with a scoop of ice cream.

One Year Ago: Roasted Fig & Almond Cake & Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Two Years Ago: Carrot Almond Muffins & Pear Almond Tart
Three Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Espresso Chocolate Coffee Cake, & Boiled Cider
Four Years Ago:  Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies, Vanilla Malt Cake, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, & Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Five Years Ago: Brown Butter Pear Muffins, Pumpkin Espresso Bread, Coconut Cookies, & Pumpkin Waffles
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Beet Cake, Zucchini Cake, Lemon Blueberry Scones, 3 Milk Coconut Cake, & Pumpkin Spice Latte
Seven Years Ago: Coconut Boba Tea, Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bread, Maple Roasted Bananas, & Mixed Berry Crumble

Spiced Chocolate Swirled Bread

Yields 1 loaf

Dough
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (43 grams) butter, melted
2 to 2 1/4 cups (250-280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

Warm milk and butter until about 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), or until slightly warm to the touch. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add 2 cups flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Fold together until the batter forms a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour by the tablespoonful until it begins to form a ball. On a lightly floured surface, place the dough and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-8 minutes. Form into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and allow the dough to rise in a warm environment until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Filling
1/2 cup (66 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, room temperature
3 ounces (85 grams) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and butter until it forms a uniform spread. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to approximately an 11 x 15-inch rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the brown sugar mixture uniformly on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate evenly over the mixture. Starting lengthwise, roll the dough until coiled. 

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the coil in half lengthwise and face the inside upwards. Pinch together one end of the dough and twist the two long strands, facing the cut side upwards at all times. Pinch together the remaining end. Form the dough into a circular shape. Transfer the circle to a lightly greased cast-iron pan or 9-inch round cake pan. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle the raw sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until dark brown and fragrant.

Run a knife around the outside of the pan and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.

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Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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