Monday, March 7, 2011
NOTE: Apparently we didn't make the glaze thick enough to make the colored sugar really stand out against the white, but that was due to our inexperience, and not the recipe.
2 Tbs. active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk (heated to about 115 degrees)
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
6 Tbs. sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups flour (plus more for dusting the work surface)
1 tsp. kosher salt
small plastic baby or heat proof gold coin, optional (can be found at craft stores)
CHOCOLATE CINNAMON FILLING:
8-ounces dark chocolate, coarsely grated
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened or melted
1 large egg white
2 Tbs. water
1 cup powdered syrup
~1 Tbs. corn syrup (or milk)
~1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla)
Colored sugar, for garnish
Directions: For the cake, in a small bowl whisk the yeast into lukewarm milk; let sit for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the butter, oil, and sugar in a medium sized bowl until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the yolks to the bowl one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt, then the milk mixture. Beat on low speed or stir by hand for 2-3 minutes to form a soft dough. Knead for an additional 3 minutes. Place dough in a large well-greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; allow to rise for 1-2 hours.
While dough is rising, make chocolate cinnamon filling, by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside. (Note: The recipe said to grate the chocolate, but we chopped it instead. We liked it with the bigger chunks of chocolate, but either way would be good.)
Punch dough down and roll it out on a well floured work surface, into a 15-inch square about 1/4-inch thin. Make sure to keep the bottom well dusted with flour, so that it doesn't stick. Spread chocolate-cinnamon filling over the surface of the dough. Roll the sheet of dough like a jelly roll, then pinch the seams to seal it. Gently stretch and roll to form a log that is about 24-inches long.
Cut the log down the middle lengthwise, making sure not to cut through one end. Twist the 2 halves over each other to achieve a braided look. Pinch to seal the seam. Place braided cake on a well-greased rimmed baking sheet. If desired, insert a plastic baby (or heatproof gold coin) deep into the dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for about 1-2 hours or until the dough is approximately 1-1/2 times its original size.
At this point, the dough is ready for baking, or it can be covered and refrigerated overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make egg wash by whisking together the egg white and water. Use a pastry brush to coat the surface of the dough with the egg wash.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cake is golden brown. Let the cake cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes, then transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely.
NOTE: Don’t mind how thin our glaze is. We just added too much liquid and didn’t realize until it was too late that the colored sugar kind of got lost without the thick glaze.
For the glaze, place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in just enough corn syrup (or milk) and almond extract to form a barely pourable glaze. Use a knife to "paint" the cake with the glaze. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired. Let the icing set before serving.