As usual, it’s been a while since I’ve visited this space, and a lot has changed in the world and with me. My baby is now a toddler who is almost two years old! We moved to Sammamish, a city east of Seattle, last fall. I started working full-time (I did some substitute teaching before) at a school in the fall for the first time after giving birth. And now I’m home once again due to school closures from the corona virus pandemic.
This is a weird time, to put it simply. I have been home for a full two weeks now and will be home until at least the end of April. The governor of Washington recently issued a stay at home order (finally) for the next two weeks or more. My husband has been working from home for almost a full month. It makes me anxious and sad to see the way this pandemic is spreading so fast, overwhelming hospitals and disrupting many lives, especially since I feel like I can do little to help. I’m washing my hands. I’m staying home. I’m not leaving my house. That’s about as much as I can do at this point.
Though this is a difficult time in the world, I am grateful for all that I have and I am looking at the silver lining for myself. For one thing, I am getting to spend more time with my daughter, seeing her grow and learn and express herself. She and I go on daily walks around the path behind our house and through the neighborhood. She scoops up shovelfuls of rocks and splashes in puddles, and I exchange smiles that say a thousand things with the other people passing us on the path.
I am also getting to cook a lot more. During her nap time is the perfect time to cook or bake. For the first week or so, I didn’t have a lot of flour (as the store I go to was out), but this weekend I was able to buy some more flour, which means more baking. My cousin calls it isolation baking! #isolationbaking . If we weren’t living in a time of social distancing I would be sharing this with neighbors and co-workers, but of course it seems like a bad time to be sharing food with others.
If you are a fan of pain au chocolat, then this Chocolate Brioche is for you. It is simple to make, buttery, chocolatey, and comforting. Or if you’d rather, you can turn the dough into cinnamon rolls (or raspberry rolls as I also did). Happy baking and hope you are all staying safe and sane.
For the brioche:
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 whole eggs, warmed in the shell in a bowl of warm water for 10-20 minutes
3 T. honey
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the Chocolate Filling:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate*
2 T. butter
4 tsp. cocoa powder
1 T. rum or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup corn syrup
In a large bowl, mix water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey and butter. Add flour and stir to mix. Cover loosely and leave to rise for two hours or until it rises. Put in the fridge for at least an hour (and up to 5 days!) to help make the dough easier to work with.
When ready to bake, make your chocolate filling by gently melting chocolate and butter in the microwave in short bursts or on the stove, over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add in remaining ingredients.
Remove your brioche and roll into a rectangle on a clean, floured surface. Your dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t worry about the extra shape or size but a rectangle is what you’re aiming for. Spread some of the chocolate filling on the dough leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. You may have some extra filling. Starting from the long end, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll and place in a greased loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly. Let rise for another 90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake your brioche for 30-45 minutes until lightly browned and firm. Remove, cool, and slice with a serrated knife. Enjoy warm
*I used a mix of chocolate chips and unsweetened baking chocolate.