Okay, you know it's coming, so let's just get this out of the way:
Clyde trying on his Santa hat.....
and naptime. As usual, Clyde is cuddling with a sneaker. Gus momentarily woke up as I slithered across the floor on my belly to get this shot.
Gus went right back to sleep and then it was Clyde's turn to wonder why I was flat out with a camera pointed in his face.
Okay, thank you all for being such good sports and putting up with my puppy pictures.
Today's recipe is fabulous, if I do say so myself. I'm experimenting with recipes, trying to figure out what I might want to make for breakfast on Christmas morning. This morning I cooked up some chocolate French toast, with raspberry syrup and whipped cream and it's a keeper. Definitely making this on Christmas morning!
I clipped and saved this recipe for chocolate bread, "Pane Alla Cioccolata," from Country Living Magazine in February 2001.
I knew it would come in handy someday. It took almost twelve years, but I have finally found a use for that recipe!
Make it easy on yourself and bake the bread the day before. Better yet, bake two loaves (like I did), so you can freeze one for next time.
- "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch"........The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree".........Brenda Lee
- "The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year".......Burl Ives
- "Let It Snow"........Michael Buble
- "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)".....Mariah Carey
- "Mr. Heatmiser"........Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
- "White Christmas"......Johnny Mathis
Make Your Chocolate Bread
(This took me about 4 hours, from start to finish)
Pane Alla Cioccolata (adapted from Country Living Magazine)
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/3 cups warm (100 degree) water
- 1 large egg, separated, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Sanding Sugar, for sprinkling
Gather your ingredients. Disregard the box of semi-sweet chocolate that you see in the picture. I decided to forego the chopped chocolate sprinkled on the loaf and opted for sanding sugar instead.
Separate your egg. (I doubled the recipe, that's why you see two eggs.) Crack the egg, hold it over a bowl and pour the yolk back and forth from one half of the shell into the other while the white drips into the bowl. Then put your yolk into another bowl. Set aside.
In the large bowl of your stand mixer or in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, sugar,
yeast and salt.
Just mix on low speed until blended.
Whisk together the warm water and egg yolk in a medium bowl.
Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and mix or process to form a soft dough.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the butter into the dough.
This was interesting. I've never had to knead butter into dough before and at first it kept squishing out, but eventually it incorporated into the dough.
Knead until the dough is smooth and supple, about 10 minutes. Or, if you are using a food processor, mix for 45 seconds.
I decided my arms needed a workout so I went with the 10-minute kneading plan.
Coat the inside of a large bowl with vegetable oil.
Add the dough to the bowl, turning it to coat it with oil on all sides.
Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size--about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes.
Divide the dough into three equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Cover with the damp towel, and let them rest for fifteen minutes.
After they've rested, form each of the balls into a 12-inch-long rope.
Place the three ropes onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Braid the ropes to form your loaf.
Cover with the damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
To bake the bread, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Using a fork, stir a tablespoon of water into the egg white that you had set aside.
Brush the egg wash onto your dough.
Sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
Bake the bread in the center rack of your oven, until it is a deep mahogany color and cooked through, 40-42 minutes.
Place on a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Make your French Toast!
- 1 loaf of chocolate bread
- 9 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- raspberry syrup
- whipped cream
- fresh raspberries, for garnish
I apologize, I did not take many pictures of this process! I had only planned to blog about the chocolate bread; when I was using the bread to make the French toast, I realized while I was in the middle of making it that maybe I should take some pictures.........hopefully, you can fill in the blanks.
Gather your ingredients.
Slice the bread into slices about 3/4" thick. I got 12 slices out of my loaf of bread.
Whisk the eggs and milk together in a shallow dish.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a griddle pan or frying pan set over medium heat.
You will need to cook the French toast in batches. I did three batches of 4 slices each. However many slices of toast you can fit on the griddle at once is how big your batch should be.
Place your bread slices into the egg mixture in the shallow dish. Allow them to sit for about 30 seconds on each side to soak up the egg/milk mixture. You don't want them to get soggy, sopping and heavy. Let them sit just long enough to get moist on each side.
Remove the first batch from the pan and keep warm in your oven. Repeat: oil the pan, soak the bread, brown and crisp on both sides, until all the bread is cooked.