Black Forest Soaked Cherry Dark Chocolate Chunk Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: One 1.5 lb loaf
 
Recipe from The Best Bread Machine Cookbook Ever, by Madge Rosenberg, converted to manual mixing/kneading and oven baking, with my addition of chocolate chunks
ingredients:
  • 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, but no more than 3.5 cups. 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
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Spread
  • 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
directions:
  1. 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.
  2. Boil water and stir in cocoa until uniform. Let cool until tepid, about 120 to 130 degrees F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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!
Bread Machine Directions
  1. 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.
  2. At the end of the first knead cycle (it should beep) add cherries with soaking liquid and frozen chocolate chunks.
  3. Brush top of loaf with kirsch or rum after you remove the fully baked bread from the machine.
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Spread
  1. 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.
notes:
* Stick empty vanilla bean pods in a separate canister of granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar; great stuff!
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/02/23/black-forest-chocolate-chunk-cherry-bread-for-bbd-47-and-bad-boy-first-love-part-five/