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Chocolate Braids

 Chocolate Braids
"This bread is fantastic and gets rave reviews every time. The recipe is a little more complicated than some, but worth every minute of it."
16 ServingsPrep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup honey, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
  • CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

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Chocolate Braids (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 2 teaspoons honey;
  • let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, egg, cocoa, salt, 1-1/2 cups bread
  • flour and remaining honey. Beat 2 minutes or until smooth. Stir in
  • enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn 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-in. rectangle.
  • In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half
  • of the filling over dough to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up
  • jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
  • Place seam side down on a large greased baking sheet. With a sharp
  • knife, cut roll in half lengthwise, leaving one end intact.
  • Carefully turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other,
  • keeping cut side up. Pinch ends to seal. Repeat with remaining dough
  • and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. For topping, combine flour, sugar and
  • cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts.
  • Sprinkle over loaves.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire
  • racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, cocoa,
  • vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over
  • warm loaves. Yield: 2 loaves (8 slices each).
Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 274 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 36 mg cholesterol, 147 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein.