These Chocolate-Cherry Brioche are scrumptiously indulgent soft brioche packed with chocolate and cherry flavors. They’re especially hard to resist warm!
Despite everything that’s been going on, I’m glad I was able to squeeze in this Chocolate-Cherry Brioche into my Christmas recipe rotation. I’ve been having trouble getting into the Christmas groove these past few years and this year is by far the worst. I’ve just been so exhausted I couldn’t get both my body and mind to care.
Usually, Christmas is my favorite season for more adventurous and creative baking because it’s such a festive season, but now I have confirmed that how festive I feel directly affects my baking mood. And since I don’t feel all that festive this year… Well let’s just say that even though I’m going to share not very many Christmasy things on the blog, this Chocolate-Cherry Brioche recipe is fantastic to start with.
This Chocolate-Cherry Brioche I would classify as an indulgent sort. It’s waaaay packed with cherry and lots of chocolate. I mean, you can make this all year round for sure, but I don’t see myself eating something so rich and chocolatey on regular days. In my book, this is one indulgent treat, and having cherries in it makes it somehow very fitting for Christmas more than any other time.
In fact I suggest making them a part of your Christmas breakfast table, with either hot coffee or hot chocolate to pair with.
I’m a big fan of brioche because I love how rich the bread is, but at the same time it is pleasantly fluffy. It opens itself to both sweet and savory flavor additions, but sweet seemed more appropriate for the season at hand. While the original recipe from King Arthur Flour has you making one giant round loaf of bread, I decided to break the dough into individual portions inspired by the Filipino version of brioche called the ensaymada.
[READ ALSO: Ensaymada Recipe]
Actually, making individual brioche is really just an excuse for me to use my fluted ensaymada molds. They really help the dough rise up beautifully and give its base a lovely design. Equally lovely of course is the crumb of this bread once it is completely cooled.
In contrast, the bread when warm is a lot softer that you can easily squish it as you tear it apart. I honestly like eating this warm about ten time more, because this way the chocolate inside is practically oozing. This is how you will fully feel how this Chocolate-Cherry Brioche falls within the worthy-of-special-occasion territory. You get chocolate filling the bread as well as bits of it inside the bread itself alongside the cherries. It’s just so good!
I highly suggest eating these babies warm on the day they are baked, but if you have leftovers, do heat them up. I always say, warm bread really elevates the eating experience.
I’m not going to deny that this Chocolate-Cherry Brioche requires a bit of time. The work isn’t so difficult since the machine does most of it for you, but because this bread makes a very very soft and sticky dough– thus the highly recommended use of a stand mixer– it needs some time in the fridge to slow down the fermentation of the yeast, making it easier to handle.
I generously dusted my work surface with flour just to be sure it doesn’t stick as I work with it, but don’t go overboard as you don’t want to work too much extra flour into the dough. You want it soft and fluffy. The time and effort will be completely worth it. Promise!
Chocolate-Cherry Brioche Rolls
Makes 12 large rolls
For the dough
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk powder
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk, reserve the white for egg wash
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 2/3 cup dried sweet cherries
For the filling
- ⅓ cup powdered confectioner's sugar
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup milk, or more as needed
For the egg wash
- 1 large egg white, reserved from the above egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon cold water
Prepare the dough
- 1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, almond extract, eggs, egg yolk, water, and butter. Use a spatula to mix together all of the ingredients until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer the bowl to your stand mixer with the dough hook attached and let it knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will transform into a satiny but sticky-wet dough. (It's too sticky to knead by hand so use machinery.)
- 2. Add in the chocolate and cherries, then let it mix for another 5 minutes. Make sure they get incorporated into the dough as evenly as possible. Scoop out the dough into a lightly greased bowl, then oil your hands lightly as well to make it easier to form the sticky dough into a ball. The dough will be very soft so don't worry if you aren't able to form it into a perfect round. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Next, refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or overnight. (This refrigeration is crucial to slow the fermentation and chill the butter inside the dough, making it easier to manipulate later on.)
- 3. Once dough is ready, remove from the refrigerator and deflate the dough. Work with half of the dough first by placing it on a lightly floured work surface. Shape the dough into a 24-inch log, then roll out to a rectangle approximately 6 x 4-inches.
Make the filling
- 4. In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Give it a good whisk to make sure the two ingredients are well-combined.
Form the brioche
- 5. Brush the entire surface of the dough with a bit of milk, then sprinkle half of the sugar-cocoa filling over it. Starting with the long end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam to seal. Slice the dough log into six equal portions, then place cut side up inside a large muffin tin or fluted ensaymada mould. (You can trim the ends if you don't like the uneven edges.) Repeat with the second portion of dough until you have 12 rounds of dough inside your tins.
- 6. Cover the tins with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for another 2 to 3 hours, until very puffy and almost doubled in size. About 20 minutes towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 7. Prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg white with the water. Brush the risen brioche on top and sprinkle with coarse white sugar, if so desired. (I didn't think it was necessary since this was already an indulgent treat without the added sugar.)
- 8. Bake the brioche for an initial 20 minutes. Tent it with aluminum foil to prevent too much browning on top, then bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. Once the brioche are golden brown, then it is ready. (You may also check the internal temperature of the breads. They are ready when they reach 190°F/88°C on an instant-read thermometer.)
- 9. Remove the brioche from the oven and allow to cool inside the pans for 5 minutes. Afterwards, you may loosen them up carefully and transfer onto a rack to cool. (The breads will be soft so be gentle!) These are best eaten warm with the chocolate filling slightly oozing, in my opinion.