Chocolate Maniac Fire Bread (spiced chocolate quick bread, smoked salty raspberry butter)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 serrano chili, stemmed and minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate (your favorite brand)
Raspberry Smoked Salt Butter (recipe follows)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9 by 5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line each pan with a strip of parchment paper the width of your pan and long enough to hang over both sides by a couple of inches if drapes across the middle (this method gives you two handles to pull the finished bread out). Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter and blend until just combined. Add the eggs, applesauce, vanilla paste, chile, and milk. Stir gently with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing gently until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chocolate pieces.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces down the center of the loaf lengthwise and pat them down into the batter to just below the surface. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning out. To turn out, grab each side of the parchment paper and lift. Let cool completely before slicing and serve on its own or with the Raspberry Smoked Salty Butter.
Raspberry Smoked Salty Butter, yields 3/4 cup
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup raspberries, mashed
1/8 teaspoon fine smoked salt (Summers' note: I use alderwood smoked salt; a little goes a long way)
Mix all the ingredients together.
When I realized that the recipe was enough to create two regular loaves, I halved it. I'd never heard of vanilla bean paste but bought a jar before making this recipe because I adore this book and this ingredient is in multiple recipes. While the paste smells heavenly and I may have it on permanent rotation, I can't see why you couldn't just replace it with beans scraped from a vanilla pod (or even authentic vanilla extract, though I suspect the flavour would be weaker).
I loved the dark chocolate + spicy element to this bread. Chilis can vary in spiciness and although I was nervous about adding the serrano to this, next time I'd actually double it (fingers crossed that the heat level would be similar). The chunks of chocolate scattered throughout the bread give it a lovely texture, though if you like your quick breads to be domed (raised up higher in the middle), the line of chocolate chunks on top will cause you grief. The trick with the parchment paper was great and was worth the effort of cutting the paper down; I've never removed a quick break from the pan so easily.
Ugh, so that raspberry smoked salt butter that looks so chunky and not-smooth in the first photograph? This is the element of this recipe that I can't highly recommend. I wouldn't say not to make it (though the bread is rich and delicious all one its own and doesn't necessarily need it). The taste of the butter was great, and the butter and the dark chocolate was a fantastic flavour combination. But while the bread was cooking, I made the butter and ended up needing to use and wash more dishes for the butter alone than I did for the bread. The butter was at room temperature and I mashed the raspberries well, but they simply wouldn't mix. So I dragged out the food processor (and the small bowl and blade), and created a big mess to finally get these ingredients to cream together. But the butter still remained stubbornly chunky, and did not improve. I persisted because the idea sounded delicious, and I'm glad I tried it but if you have problems remotely similar to mine, I'm not sure I'd say it it's worth it.
Reasonably successful, all around. Though perhaps not as strong as the Jacked Up Ginger Cookies, I liked this recipe. Next planned: the savory Meatball Muffins.