Let’s call this for what it is, absolutely incredible. Seriously, I can’t take how delicious (or stunning) this braised cocoa and peanut butter brioche is. This is not my recipe, this amazing recipe is from the magazine Bake from Scratch and it is a killer one. The moment I saw it, I had to make it, and boy was it worth it. I am already a huge brioche fan and the coco and peanut butter combo looked too exceptional to pass up.
This is by no means an easy recipe, if fact, I list it as “difficult” which is not something I do often. But it is not impossible, you just need patience, as it requires a double rise time. The twisting technique sounds hard at first, but don’t let that stop you, it is somewhat forgiving and can be mastered.
Bake has a great video titled “babka like a boss“, which uses the same method as in this recipe if you want a little more guidance on method, i suggest you watch it. I only made one slight modification regarding the type of cocoa used, otherwise the recipe below is as written. If you wish to check out the the original recipe on the Bake website, the link can be found here.
For those unfamiliar, brioche (pronounced brie-osh) is a rich French yeast dough pastry made with lots of eggs and butter. Brioche is technically considered a Viennoiserie, in that it is made in the same basic way as bread, but has the richer aspect, more similar to a pastry because of the extra addition of eggs, butter, liquid (typically milk or cream) and occasionally a bit of sugar. What’s not to love?
Brioche is not, however, inherently sweet, which is one of the reasons I love it as much as I do. But brioche is also incredibly versatile (another something I love about it) and can be used to make either savory or sweet baked goods from basic dinner rolls to sticky sweet cinnamon rolls. As a chef, brioche is a go-to for me and I simply could not live without it.
Quick note about ingredients. Above I mentioned one tweak I made in this recipe. The original calls for black cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder is a great ingredient, it is basically a super-dark Dutch-process cocoa with an intense, dark color and unsweetened-chocolate highlights. But it can be hard to find. I used my standard Droste cocoa powder, something I have in my house at all times. Droste is not nearly as dark or as intense as black cocoa powder, but it’s a one that works nicely in this recipe.
Another important thing to remember with recipes like this is using good quality ingredients helps. Good quality flour and butter especially, make all difference in the world. Think the better the quality, the better the result.
Braided Cocoa And Peanut Butter Brioche
- 1 cup warm whole milk (105°F)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- Step 1 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the warm milk and the yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Step 2 Add the eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add the flour, sugar and salt
- Step 3 beat on low speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook attachment, and beat at low speed until smooth, about 4 minutes.
- Step 4 Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Step 5 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 tablespoons melted butter at medium speed until smooth. Transfer peanut butter filling to a small bowl,set aside.
- Step 6 Clean mixer bowl and paddle attachment. Using the paddle attachment, beat 1/2 cup of softened butter, melted chocolate, cocoa, remaining 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
- Step 7 Punch down the dough, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Roll half of the dough into a 20×9-inch rectangle. (Keep remaining half covered to prevent it from drying out.) Spread the peanut butter filling onto dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on one long side. Starting on the opposite long side, roll up the dough, jelly roll style
- Step 8 pinch the seam to seal. Set aside, placing the seam-side down. Repeat with chocolate filling and the remaining dough. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut each roll in half lengthwise, leaving 1 inch intact at top. Place rolls cut side up, and carefully twist dough pieces around each other.
- Step 9 Spray a 10-inch removable-bottom or standard tube pan with cooking spray. Gently lift and place the dough into the prepared pan, circling the tube and tucking the ends under. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffed, about 30 minutes.
- Step 10 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Brush the top of dough with the egg wash( peanut butter piece first and then the chocolate piece to help from messing up the top). Place in the oven and bake until top is golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers 190°F, about 50 to 55 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning.
- Step 11 Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.