I was in the magazine aisle at the grocery store. It's tucked away by the florist, near the restroom. Poppy had a blowout, so I parked there to get organized for the great changeroo, glanced up and saw a holiday baking mag I hadn't seen before. Made a mental note. Cleaned Poppy all up, then came back to the magazine. Sure enough, it was from December 2010 and hadn't been cleared from the rack. I flipped through for 20 seconds, long enough to get the gist and decide if there were enough appealing new ideas to buy it. There were. Bought it.
Came home and whipped up this indulgent loaf for "Breads & Spreads" night. I felt like going a bit over the top so I chopped my own dark chocolate instead of using chips, and pulled out the Nutella to make a drizzle.
It was fabulous, not too sweet but very flavorful, with all the right flavors of course. It actually won in a three-way tie on our first vote - we always have ties! - but I am not allowed to win (says me) since I am the host (and already had my own dough rising bucket.) But everything about this bread says WINNER!
*A note about hazelnuts. Some people call them filberts, depends on where you're from and/or when you were born. You can chop them up with their skin on, but the skin is papery and somewhat bitter, so here is a way to get some or all of them off. Toast them in a skillet over medium-low or on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for a few minutes, until fragrant and the skins start to crack. You will both see and hear them crackling. Then pour them onto half of a clean textured dishtowel (terry cloth or waffle weave are good.) Fold the other half of the towel over the nuts and rub them - the cracked skins will flake off pretty easily.Chocolate-Hazelnut Bread with Nutella Drizzle
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup Nutella
Additional chopped hazelnuts, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan. Stack two baking sheets and put parchment on top, then bread pan. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in 1 cup chocolate pieces and 1 cup chopped hazelnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.
4. If desired, before serving, microwave 1/4 to 1/3 cup Nutella in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until melty. Spoon into a small plastic bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle over bread before serving. Sprinkle with additional hazelnuts if desired.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Baking magazine, December 2010