Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chocolate Braids

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup honey -- divided
6 tablespoons butter -- softened
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour -- to 3 cups
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 Ounces cream cheese -- softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter -- cold
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 2 teaspoons honey; let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the butter, egg, cocoa, salt, 1 1/2 cups bread flour, and remaining honey. Beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion into a 12x7 rectangle.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half of the filling over the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with the long side; pinch the seams to seal.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, carefully cut roll in half lengthwise, not cutting all the way through one end. Carefully, turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other, keeping cut sides up. Pinch ends to seal.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts, and sprinkle over risen loaves.

Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over loaves.

"Taste of Home"
"Feb/Mar 2008"
"2 loaves"

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