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Friday, July 13, 2012

Dark Chocolate Almond Bread


I love bread. I could never give up carbs completely because I honestly love bread more than most things. My favorite bread is probably either the chocolate bread or the rosemary boule from Uppercrust in Gainesville. I've planned entire Saturdays around making a trip to Uppercrust just for their bread (...and their raspberry rose pastries. And their sticky buns. Basically, I would buy one of everything in their bakery if I could, its that good).

So when Annelih, Rhiannon and I decided to make bread for the second week of our recipe challenge, I was excited!

And of course I decided to make chocolate bread, come Hell or high water. Luckily I found a recipe for dark chocolate tea bread that was easy to follow (though it was very ingredient heavy and not in any way health conscious). This is a dessert bread rather than a yeast-based bread, but I still enjoyed eating it (and so did my family!). Definitely a recipe I would repeat in the future.




The recipe I've adapted comes from Williams-Sonoma's aptly titled book, Bread. The original recipe calls for hazelnuts, not almonds, but I couldn't find any hazelnuts in Publix this time of year. The almonds worked great, however, so feel free to experiment with the nut component of the recipe! Walnuts would probably work pretty well too. I also didn't have any raw sugar, so I didn't sprinkle any over the top of my bread.


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz (125 g) cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1.25 cups buttermilk
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup almonds (or hazelnuts), roughly chopped and toasted*
1 tablespoon raw sugar (optional)

Dark Chocolate Almond Bread:
*Toasting the almonds: spread the nuts in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and toast the almonds at 325F for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool until you need them again.

1. After toasting the almonds, preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Whisk until blended.

2. In a larger bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese at a medium speed until fluffy, then add in the granulated sugar until combined. Add the eggs one at a time until you're left with a light, fluffy mixture.

3. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the creamed mixture in small amounts, beginning with the dry ingredients. Mix until until smooth, then add the vanilla to the mixture. Fold in the toasted almonds until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

4. Scrape the batter into the pan, and make sure the pan is no more than two-thirds full. Smooth out the batter and sprinkle with raw sugar if you'd like to add a little sparkle to your bread (you could also sprinkle some confectioners sugar on after baking).

5. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake seems done. To check, stick a clean knife or cake test into the densest part of the cake and if it comes out clean, its done. To prevent over-browning on the top and edges, cover the loaf with tin foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time.
**My bread took a little less than an hour to bake, so make sure to check on it a little earlier than the recipe might say. We went by the smell test--it started to smell done after about 55 minutes!

6. After taking the bread out of the oven, turn the loaf out onto a cooling rack immediately and let cool completely. Cut into thick slices and serve with a cup of your favorite tea (or milk!), and you've got a perfect rainy day or late night snack.

This bread was just what I needed after a long, rainy day stuck indoors. It tasted great plain, but I loved it with a little butter. I have some leftover buttermilk, so I may make scones in the next day or two. Look out for that recipe, it'll end up on here sooner or later. Don't forget to check out Rhiannon and Annelih's great bread recipes as well!

Annelih's Peanut butter bread
Rhiannon's Chocolate orange bread

I'm also participating in a link up at Simply Sweet Home this week!

Thirty Handmade Days
Simply Sweet Home Featured

11 comments:

  1. Looks delicious. I can imagine that warm with some butter it would be just perfect for breakfast!

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    1. I had that way for a late night snack and it was perfect. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. What a delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. This looks wonderful! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites! I'm featuring you this week. Come by and grab my featured button if you'd like one.

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  4. Replies
    1. The perfect word to describe it (I wish I had more!). Thank you for visiting!

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  5. Looks and sounds amazing!! Can't wait to try it!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  6. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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