There are breads that are simple and no-frills, good for sandwiches and toast. And then there are breads that are stuffed, topped, and loaded with all the fixings, a solid meal in and of itself. This loaf falls squarely into the latter category.
Filled with dried cranberries (homemade!), chocolate chips, walnuts, and pecans, this bread makes for a great breakfast. It’s so hearty and substantial it doesn’t need any butter or jam (though some Nutella would really put this over the top). Just pop a couple of slices in the toaster and enjoy.
Chocolate Cranberry Nut Bread
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsps salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 3/4 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted pecans and walnuts, chopped coarsely
- In a large bowl, combine flours and salt and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and sugar and stir together. Let set for 10 to 15 minutes to proof the yeast.
- Add water mixture to flour mixture and knead until it forms a smooth dough. Let rise in a warm place for 4 hours or until double in bulk.
- Once dough has risen, knead in the cranberries, chocolate chips, and nuts. Make sure they’re well incorporated and aren’t falling out.
- Let rise again for another 4 hours or until double again.
- Bake at 450F for 30 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf registers 200F.
To make the dried cranberries, bring a bag of cranberries to a boil in a saucepan with about 1/2 cup of sugar, or more depending on how sweet you want them. Keep them cooking at high heat until all the cranberries have popped. Drain the berries and then spread them out evenly onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle more granulated sugar over them and bake at 250F for anywhere between 3 to 5 hours. The berries are done when they’re shriveled up but still chewy. The great thing about homemade dried cranberries is that you can really capture the natural tartness of the berries. I find storebought dried cranberries to be overly sweet, so making them at home is a good way to get that true tart flavor.
When I first made this bread, I committed the cardinal sin of baking and didn’t read the recipe carefully – I used active dry instead of instant yeast. Rookie mistake, self! Rookie. Mistake. Not that it’s a huge deal – the difference in yeast only affects how long the bread will take to rise, so unless you’re on a deadline, it’s not a huge deal if you make this particular mistake.
This bread is definitely one of my favorites, and I’m sure to experiment with different flavor combinations in the future. It’s got that great thick crust and chewy interior, and the cranberries and chocolates are a good play of sour and sweet, with the nuts providing another textural contrast. It’s so filling that it actually took me an entire week to eat it, which is pretty much an eternity considering how quickly I usually plow through a loaf. I’ve been bested by a boule! Well played, bread. Though I will soon be challenging you to a rematch.