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Chocolate Loves Vanilla Bread

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Looking for something CHOCOLATE for Mardi Gras? Here it is, two of America's favorite complementary flavors, happily married in a tender loaf that's rich enough to be served as is — no butter, no jam, no spread of any kind necessary. Though, come to think of it, a spoonful of raspberry preserves wouldn't be amiss... By chopping the chocolate chips before adding them to the vanilla-scented dough, you'll create a fair amount of chocolate "dust," which swirls itself throughout the loaf to give it a nicely marbled appearance.

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
one 9" bread, 16 servings

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Dough

Topping

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the chips are coarsely chopped, and covered with a coating of ground chocolate. Set the mixture aside.
  2. To make the dough: Combine all of the ingredients except the chopped chocolate, and mix and knead them — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  3. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until it's puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.
  4. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan. Even better, lightly grease the pan, then add a 9" parchment round, and grease the parchment. Between chocolate melting from inside, and the sugar topping (which runs down the sides of the bread into the bottom of the pan), this bread tends to stick to the pan.
  5. Gently deflate the dough, and knead the chips into it.
  6. Shape the dough into a flat ball, and place it in the prepared pan, flattening it to reach the edges of the pan.
  7. Cover the pan with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours, or until its center just crests over the height of the pan.
  8. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  9. To make the topping: Combine the sugar, vanilla, and water, stirring until the sugar is suspended in the liquid, even if it hasn't melted. Drizzle this mixture over the top of the risen bread.
  10. To bake the bread: Bake it for 20 minutes, tent it lightly with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning, and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until it's a deep golden brown and the internal temperature registers 190°F.
  11. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes, run a table knife around the edge of the pan, working it under the bottom a bit to loosen the bread as much as possible.
  12. Carefully turn it out of the pan and transfer it to a rack to cool.
  13. Cool the bread completely before cutting it.
  14. Store the bread, well-wrapped, at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to a month.