I've been a long time reader of Alexandra Stafford's blog. In fact, we probably cook from it at least once a week. So when her book, Bread Toast Crumbs came out last month, it arrived in my mailbox with not a minute to spare. I've been wanting to be the type of person who bakes my own bread for a while now but unfortunately this whole grad school thing was not allowing that to happen. This cookbook has showed me otherwise. The recipes are simple and fairly quick and make me wonder why it's taken me so long to make homemade bread on a weekly basis because fresh out of the oven it's just such a game changer.
This bread is adapted from one in her book and it teeters on the line of being borderline too decadent. Creamy chocolate ganache with bursting juicy berries swirled together in a barely sweetened loaf that's all too unassuming until you cut it open and BAM - what dreams are made of. My dreams, at least. And somehow it's dairy and egg free. I seriously don't know how that happened but it wasn't hard at all.
Of course you could go ahead and use whole milk in the dough and butter in the ganache, but I've replaced them both with coconut milk to keep that fat content and creaminess factor high. Honestly, you'd never know the difference, plus that subtle coconut smell as you're mixing up the ganache is quite intoxicating.
So maybe make this for your mother on Sunday, maybe make it for yourself and eat the whole thing in 24 hours, maybe bring it to brunch. Either way, food is love, and everyone will love you.
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from: Bread Toast Crumbs
For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour (384 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
a knob of vegan butter* for greasing the pan
For the Filling:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespooons powdered sugar
1 scant cup of berries (I used strawberries + raspberries)
Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and water (both boiling & room temp). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry followed by the coconut oil. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising make the ganache. Place the chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate begins to milk, then stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Remove form heat and set aside to cool completely.
Grease a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan generously with vegan butter. Once the dough has risen de-flat it with a fork and transfer it to a heavily floured work surface. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (it should be very covered in flour at this point) and let sit for 20 minutes uncovered. Gentle shape the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (using either your hands or a rolling pin). Make sure you have plenty of flour underneath your rectangle so it doesn't stick to the surface. Spread the ganache all over the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all sides. Top with berries. Roll the bread from short end to short end into a thick 10 inch log, seam side down. Take a deep breath (you've got this!) and transfer it your buttered loaf pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, while you let the dough rise for about 10 minutes until it just begins to crown the rim of the pan. Cook the bread for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Remove from the pan and turn onto its side to cool (I let it rest on 1 side for 10 minutes then the other side for 10 minutes) before cutting into it!
From my experience, I've learned the world is divided into two camps. One is "team tutti-fruity". This camp is made up of people who love sweets like gummy bears, jelly beans, and twizzlers. My husband lives on this team, as I frequently find sour gummies covered in sugar hidden behind the seat in his car. Oh the shame.
Then there is "team chocolate" of which I've been a member my whole life. The darker, the richer, the better! I also happen to come from a long line of chocolate lovers. In fact, I distinctly have memories of my dad insisting that white chocolate is not actually chocolate at all and is therefore not even worthy of the name. And I must admit, I agree. I mean how can something that doesn't even contain cocoa be called chocolate?
So if you've been following this blog for a while, my chocolate obsession is no secret. In fact, chocolate partnered with berries is probably my favorite flavor combination in the world. Something about the warm richness of dark chocolate partnered with the sharp tartness of perfectly ripe berries.
So to my fellow dark chocolate lovers (and to myself!), I feel I must apologize. I have momentarily betrayed you. Accept my sincerest condolences in the form of:
But let me just say these cookies are everything. And as possibly the world's greatest white chocolate skeptic, I can whole-heartedly say that it works, in a surprising and fantastic way. And white chocolate aside, when I attempted to throw whole frozen raspberries into my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I had serious doubts. I figured they would get soggy, the berries wouldn't cook through, the cookies would turn into a mess. But somehow, it worked and the result is perfect.
I hope you have a lovely christmas. I hope time spent traveling is done so safely, and I hope the next week provides you with some time to relax and take care of yourself. I hope that if things do get stressful, as they often can when holiday expectations are partnered with family, that you eat and share these cookies. Because somehow food has a way of transcending us, I think. Of blurring the lines of generation and political affiliation. Good food is something I think (and I hope!) we can all get behind. And I sincerely thank you for letting me share mine with you all year long. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Makes about 29 cookies
adapted from: Date Night In
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz white chocolate chips, ~heaping 1/2 cup
5 oz frozen raspberries, ~ 1 heaping cup
fluer de sel (for finishing)
Preheat the oven to 360 degree and line two large baking sheets with parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light color and smooth in consistency. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add in the egg and vanilla and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
With the mixer still on low, slowly scoop the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Continue until no streaks of flour remain. You will likely need to scape the sides of the bowl a couple times. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and pour in frozen raspberries. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gentle integrate the raspberries into the dough. Though some will inevitably become smashed, try to keep the whole raspberries intact.
Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the dough into balls and line onto the baking sheet. Bake for 11-15 minutes (I did 12 minutes for very gooey but cooked cookies) until slightly golden on top. Let cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
Have extra dough or want to make it ahead? I recommend scooping the finished dough into cookie dough balls then freezing in a freezer bag until you're ready to bake. Alternately you could form a log of cookie dough and slice and bake when ready. You will likely need an extra minute or two of baking time if cookies are frozen.
Although it's ok, I do not recommend refrigerating the dough once the raspberries are incorporated. The raspberries will melt and their juices will make things messy resulting in streaky blue (though still very tastey) bruised-looking cookies.