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Chunks O' Chocolate Soda Bread

in Diana's Recipe Book

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Servings: Makes 1 large round loaf
This is definitely not your traditional Irish Soda Bread. It is indeed a recipe for "chocolate lover's", which I am. Loaded with big chunks (hence the name) of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and delectable pieces of candied orange peel. A wonderful combination, especially for those of you who like the combination of chocolate and orange (that's me again!). I think this recipe would also work very well for scones. I am going to try that next time and will get back to you about this. Until then, my husband and I are enjoying this wonderful bread for St. Paddy's Day this year. BRILLIANT!!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
6 tbsp. (3/4 stick/3 oz./85g) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
6 oz. candied orange peel, diced* (see notes below)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk* (see notes below)
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Position rack in center of oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Whisk first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl to blend.

3. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in chocolate and orange peel.

4. Whisk buttermilk and egg in medium bowl to blend; add to dry ingredients. Stir just until incorporated.

5. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead gently just until dough comes together, about 5 turns. Form dough into a 6 1/2-inch in diameter round loaf, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches high. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, slash the top of loaf in the shape of a cross (1/4 to 1/2-inch deep).

6. Bake bread until well browned and very firm when pressed and wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes, turning baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer bread to wire rack and cool completely, at least 2 hours.

Makes 1 large round loaf

1. The completely cooled loaf can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw bread and rewarm wrapped in foil in a 350°F/180°C oven for about 15 minutes.

2. Candied orange peel is usually sold in the supermarket's produce section and also can be purchased online at Chefshop.com or at Kingarthurflour.com.

3. Powdered buttermilk, found in the baking section of most supermarkets, eliminates the need to keep fresh buttermilk in the refrigerator. Powdered buttermilk may also be purchased online at Kingarthurflour.com or at Amazon.com. Simply add to your recipe with the dry ingredients the amount of powder specified on the package, then substitute water for the buttermilk called for in the recipe. Store the powdered buttermilk in the refrigerator. It will keep indefinitely.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall ©2007

Date: March 17, 2007


Reviewer: Sadie
Diana's right...this isn't your traditional soda bread! It has the texture of a traditional soda bread, but is much sweeter because of the high sugar content and chocolate. The orange/chocolate combination is wonderful. The bread is rich enough that there's no need to butter it. It's delicious when lightly toasted with a bit of orange marmalade. I divided the dough in half and made one small loaf of bread and 6 scones. The scones take less time to bake than the bread so you have to watch them.


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