Y’all. I am in full throttle Christmas mode over here. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of wrapping paper and Mariah Carey Christmas songs, and I’m so excited about it, I could squeal.
Last week we enjoyed our first (and maybe only) snow of the season. Aimee was unsure about the snow at first, but eventually came around. She made a snowman and ate the snow, and all in all, I’d say she enjoyed her first winter wonderland. George didn’t have a clue what was going on but was less than enthusiastic about snowballs. Is anyone surprised? It seems like the harder I try to get my kids excited about Christmas, the more annoyed they get with me. Case and point:
After a weekend of Santa visits, snow flurries, and mugs of cocoa, we’ve pretty much hit all of the Christmas highlights. Even if the kids aren’t in the holiday spirit, I’m going to be the merriest little elf this side of the North Pole, okay? Basically, hide ya kids and hide ya wife, because we’re making everything Christmassy up in here.
You’ve already heard me go on about how much I love peppermint bark. Chocolate plus anything is a win, but the sweet addition of peppermint bits just makes it absolutely irresistible. In my opinion, everything is better with a little bit of peppermint bark, even if it is as simple as a loaf of bread. Thus I give to you my new favorite holiday breakfast treat, peppermint bark bread.
The recipe for this bread is adapted from my favorite cinnamon swirl bread. The dough is buttery and fluffy and goes splendidly with anything sweet. Here, a chocolate filling and chopped bits of peppermint bark bring the razzle dazzle to my favorite dough to create a holiday bread that is as delicious as it is beautiful. This peppermint bark bread is perfect for snacking, gifting, or grinching all to yourself. You decide.
I prepared this peppermint bark bread in my new kitchen BFF, the Wolf Gourmet Oven. Remember the Wolf Gourmet Blender that I used to make the most delicious peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake? Well, in similar fashion, this countertop oven knocked my socks off and I am tickled to jabber on about it today. In the past, we used our counter ovens to make toast or heat small plates of leftovers, but we never utilized it for any substantial work. This Wolf Gourmet oven is not your average bird, though. It is made for heavy duty, legitimate baking, and I was thrilled with the results I had in preparing this bread.
The dough for this peppermint bark bread starts off like any other with yeast, flour, and sugar. We add an egg and some butter to the loose dough and beat away at it in a stand mixer until the dough becomes stretchy and soft. While I normally proof my doughs on the counter next to a warm oven, I was thrilled to find that my new counter oven had a proof setting! I let the dough rise quickly in the oven and then began to prepare the filling.
Chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder are melted together and then stirred with a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. The whole lot of it gets smeared on the rolled dough and dotted with bits of peppermint bark. Roll the dough into a log, cut it lengthwise into two pieces and twist them over one another, pinching the two ends together to form a wreath. Allow the loaf the rise just slightly while you preheat the oven.
Again, I used the Wolf Gourmet oven to bake this loaf and the results were fab. I found that my peppermint bark bread baked in the counter oven was consistent with loaves I baked in my traditional oven, and I am grateful for a second baking option in my home. This appliance is a terrific addition to my kitchen and I hope you will consider one for your own!
Because Christmas is the time for giving, my friends at Wolf Gourmet want to share one of these beauties with you! For an entry to win, click over to my Facebook page here and give it a like! Afterwards, leave a comment on this page below telling me your favorite holiday baked good. One U.S. winner will be randomly selected on December 19th! Happy baking and love to you all!
If you like this peppermint bark bread, you should check out:
Peppermint Bark Bread
This is a braided holiday bread filled with chocolate and bits of peppermint bark!
- Prep Time: 120
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- ½ cup (120 mL) whole milk, lukewarm
- ¼ cup (50 gm) sugar
- 2–1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 cups (260 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (55 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the filling:
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
- ¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup (40 gm) powdered sugar
- 4 ounces peppermint bark (like Ghiradelli), finely chopped
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the warm milk and half of the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over top of the milk and allow the yeast to activate, about 5 minutes. The mixture should froth and foam slightly. You can stir it gently to make sure all the yeast has been moistened, but if the yeast does not foam, dump it out and start over. Once the yeast has been activated, stir 1/2 cup of the flour in to the milk mixture. Once combined, add the remaining sugar, 1 egg, and salt, and stir to combine. On low speed, add the remainder of the flour and beat to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Once evenly combined, increase the speed to medium (I use speed number 4 on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and add the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then continue to beat on medium speed for an additional 4 minutes. The dough will be quite moist and sticky.
- Lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough inside, covering it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest in a warm spot in the kitchen until it has approximately doubled in size, about 1-1/2-2 hours.
- Once the bread has nearly risen, melt the chocolate, butter, and cocoa in a saucepan over low heat. Once smooth, stir in the powdered sugar until well combined. Set aside until the dough is ready. If it firms up beyond a spreadable consistency, gently melt it again.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a 12”x18” rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the chocolate filling evenly over the rectangle, leaving a 1” border around the perimeter of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the peppermint bark bits.
- Starting with one of the long ends, roll the dough somewhat tightly into one long tube and pinch the ends of the dough to seal in the filling. Use a sharp knife to slice down the middle of the length of the dough, leaving one inch at the top uncut. You should end with two strands of rolled dough connected by a 1” chunk of dough at the top. This will serve as the starting point for your braid, so you want the dough to remain connected here. Turn the exposed innards of the dough roll to face upwards and then twist the dough, right over left, right over left, until the entire length of dough has been twisted into one long piece. Join the ends of the dough to make a ring, pinching the ends together slightly. Carefully transfer the ring of dough into a lightly greased 10” cast-iron skillet. Cover the skillet with a piece of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the oven is preheated, stir the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush a thin layer of the mixture over the surface of the dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the dough is puffed and golden brown throughout. Allow to cool slightly prior to cutting and serving. Feel free to dust with powdered sugar once cooled.
In a pinch, you can substitute ¾ cup chocolate spread for the filling.