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Chocolate Almond Loaf: Submitted by: Marguerite Martin | Date Added: 13 Sep 2011
Listed in: Breads / Yeast

4 to 4 cups cups all purpose flour
1 package quick rise yeast
1 cup milk
13 cup sugar
13 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

12 ounces almond cake and pastry filling (NOT almond paste)
cup miniature chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions

This is one of those Christmas Comfort Foods, made once a year and served on Christmas morning. Be sure to use almond filling and not paste.

1) In a large mixer bowl stir together 2 cups of flour and yeast. In a small saucepan heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt just till warm (120F to 130F), stirring constantly. Add to flour mixture; add eggs. Beat with an electric on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

2) On a lightly floured surface knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn dough once to grease surface. Cover; let the dough rise till double about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down; divide in half.

3) Roll half of the dough into a 24x8-inch rectangle. Spread with cup of the almond filling and 2 tablespoons of the chocolate pieces. Fold dough loosely from one of the short sides, making about eight 3-inch wide folds. (This is similar to rolling a jelly roll except you fold the dough instead of rolling it.) Transfer to the baking sheet. Make 2 -inch-long cut into dough at -inch intervals on one of the long sides. (Do not cut completely through to the other long side of dough roll.) Make a "C" shape like a bear claw. Twist each cut in the same direction to expose the filling. Repeat, making a second loaf with the remaining dough, filling, and chocolate pieces. Cover loaves and let rise in a warm place till nearly double (about 30 minutes).

4) Bake loaves on parchment and Airbake pan in a 350F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or till golden, covering with foil after 10 minutes to prevent over browning. Sprinkle each loaf with half of the remaining chocolate pieces while the loaf is still warm. Serve warm. Makes 2 loaves, about 10 slices per loaf.

NOTE: Serve this gorgeous bread for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon gatherings. Your guests will love the almond and chocolate combinations.

Freezing Directions
To freeze, wrap the loaves thoroughly in freezer wrap, seal, label, and freeze loaves up to 8 months.

To serve, thaw loaves in freezer wrap at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours. If you wish to serve the loaves warm, reheat the thawed loaves, loosely covered with foil, in a 350F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or till the loaves are completely heated through.

Or, to reheat directly from freezer, unwrap frozen loaves. Place loaves on a baking sheet; cover each loosely with foil. Bake in a 350F over for 1 hour or till heated through.

Better Homes & Garden; November 1989

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