Posting this recipe for Chocolate Things was not part of my plan. I made them on a whim last Friday for my family and myself, because some days I just need something bread-y and I need to make something from the Cheese Board’s book. Thus, that afternoon was spent kneading doughs and shaping said doughs into knots and rolls.
They came out of the oven while there was still just enough light outside to snap a few photos, so I did. Not great photos, and definitely not photos intended for the blog, but photos for documentation nonetheless.
The next day, while at the art museum, my beloved camera lens sustained a small fall and separated into two pieces. It was tragic. I probably shed a tear or two. I don’t know if anyone was watching or not, and I don’t care. The lens that I use almost everyday and can’t blog without died.
I tried not to think about it, or about the fact that I didn’t have the ability to replace it. I opened the sunroof on the car and grabbed a chocolate thing from the back seat (I’d intentionally left it there all day so it would be sun-warmed by the time I wanted it for the ride home).
One-half of a chocolate thing significantly improved my outlook. It’s amazing what a bit of chocolate can do in a time of despair. (Especially when paired with a good friend + good music + good weather.)
Whether you’re trying to forget a minor tragedy or not, you should make a batch of chocolate things. It basically involves two things: a ball of buttery brioche dough and a mound of huge dark chocolate chunks.
The dough comes together easily without any electric objects. There are a couple of rises involved which make these a bit of a time-consuming undertaking, but nothing out of the ordinary for a yeast-raised pastry.
Chocolate things can improve bad days and highlight perfect days. They are good morning, noon, or night. They also have a pretty great name, in my opinion.
chocolate things | print recipe
recipe adapted slightly from the cheese board: collective works
note: fight the temptation to chop the chocolate any smaller than 1-inch. it will feel crazy, but the whole point is to have large melty pockets of chocolate (that have the ability to drip down your chin if you’re not careful) encased in a rich, stretchy dough.
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ½ cups organic flour, plus extra for kneading
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
2 eggs, divided (one for the dough, one for the egg wash)
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Heat the cream and buttermilk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just barely warm (about 105-115 degrees). Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle with the yeast over the surface. Whisk to dissolve, then let stand for 5 minutes.
Add the flour, butter, sugar, one egg, and salt to the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. If it is too wet, stir in extra flour one tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead for 10 minutes, adding a little extra flour as needed, only to keep the dough from sticking to the counter or your hands. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick circle. Place all of the chocolate in a pile in the center of the circle and fold the dough over to enclose the chocolate. Gently knead a few times just to distribute the chocolate throughout the dough.
Lightly oil the mixing bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about one hour. The dough should double in size.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl and set aside as well.
Lightly flour your counter again and roll the risen dough out into a 10×12-inch rectangle. Working with the 12-inch side parallel to you, brush a strip of egg wash along the long side opposite you. Tightly roll the dough towards the egg washed side, and place the roll seam side down on a cutting board. Cut the roll into 12 slices with a sharp knife. If any chocolate pieces fall out, just nudge them back into the roll. Place the slices 2-inches apart on the baking sheet and cover with a clean floured kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 15 minutes before the rise time is up. Uncover the rolls and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Eat warm for melty chocolate, or cooled for more firm chocolate.
These reheat beautifully wrapped in foil in a 300 degree oven.
Makes 12 things.
P.S. Regular programming will resume ASAP around here. When my mom purchased my lens from Amazon, she added the Canopy Protection Plan… best use of $15 ever. They’re replacing the lens this week!!!!!