Here in Virginia, we got a big snow storm that cancelled classes Thursday and Friday, and with President's Day on Monday, that means the kids have been home for 5 straight days in Loudoun County. We've already had 11 snow days, and frankly, I'm done with all of it. Fortunately for me, my kids are old enough to get their snow gear on and play outside with their friends without my direct supervision, so I had some extra time the past few days. The majority of that time has been watching the Olympics, I won't lie, but I managed to get a few more things done.
After making snowmen pancakes for breakfast (nothing fancy, folks, just three small, connected blobs of pancake batter with chocolate chips for eyes and buttons), the kids went outside and I started making this:
I had seen this recipe for chocolate swirl bread and thought is looked so good! It's from the Woman's Day January 2014 issue. While none of the steps are really difficult, it is a little fussy. The results were so good, though, I would definitely make it again, but doubling the recipe. I figure, if I'm going to go through all that work, I might as well get two loaves out of it, because the first loaf will be gone in minutes!
Even though it's a yeast dough, I found it really easy to work with. Maybe it's the eggs that are in it. When you first turn the dough out, it will look a little shaggy:
But it only takes a couple of kneads to get it nice and smooth:
See what I mean about being easy to work with? It rolls out beautifully!
The chocolate filling is also easy, basically just melting all the ingredients together and stirring until smooth. If you are not familiar with the spreading tool in the picture below, it's an offset spatula. If you are spreading anything -- cake batter, bars, icing, fillings -- you really need one of these! It works so much better for getting everything smooth and even than using a regular flat knife or spatula. This particular one is from Pampered Chef (the one pictured is the large one. I also have the small spreader).
Rolling the dough is always my downfall -- I never think I get the roll tight enough.
Making the "braid." Don't worry -- it's not complicated, more of a twist than an actual braid.
Popping it in the parchment-lined pan:
Clearly, I could have done better at forming the dough...
Making the crumb topping, I went old-school, using two knives to cut the butter into crumbs. When I make this again, I'm going to use the food processor. So much easier and faster!
It's a beautiful bread, worthy of gift-giving, I think. And, as I mentioned before, none of the steps are hard. Don't you want to have some of this?? So, so yummy!