Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chocolate Danish Braid

This recipe makes use of the quick laminated dough technique I use for puff pastry and croissants.  You can, of course, make a traditional danish dough if you want to (replace the cream cheese in the the recipe with mashed potatoes).  I think the results are pretty good with the quick dough, though, and spending less time laminating works for me. You can fill this with whatever you want, but the chocolate is always a crowd pleaser.  You will also have to forgive my idiosyncratic measurements in the recipe.

Quick Danish Dough
- 300 g all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 140 g cold margarine or vegan butter
- 7 oz cold plain soy milk
- 2 oz cold mashed potatoes (i.e. potatoes boiled whole, then skinned, then mashed)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Filling
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp cold margarine
- 1-2 tbsp soy milk

- soy milk and maple syrup for brushing
- sliced almonds
- course sugar

To Make the Dough:
1. Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Cut in cold margarine like you would for a pie crust.
2. Blend mashed potatoes and vanilla into the soy milk with an immersion blender until smooth.  Add to flour/margarine mixture and gently mix with a silicon spatula until the flour is hydrated. Use the spatula to shape into a ball as best you can.
3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough over night.
4. On baking day, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and fold twice as per this recipe.
5. Let the dough rest for 15 mins.
6. While dough is resting, blend together sugar and flour for the filling in a food processor. Pulse in the chocolate chips, then the margarine. Blend in enough soy milk to make a thick but spreadable paste.
7. Roll the dough into a 9x14 inch rectangle. Spread the paste down the middle third of the dough rectangle. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut 1.25 inch diagonal strips on both sides of the filling (like this). Cut off the triangular pieces at the top and bottom to leave a flap at the top and bottom.  Fold the top flap down, then start folding alternating strips over the flap and then the filling at an angle. Fold the bottom flap up before you cover it with the remaining strips.
8. Carefully transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover, and leave to rise until almost doubled.  Since the dough is cold this will take about 2 hours.
9. Preheat oven to 425. Mix a splash of maple syrup into about 1/4 cup of soy milk.  Gently brush the braid with the soy milk mixture.  Let sit for 5 mins, then brush again.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds and sugar.
10. Bake for 15 mins, then reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for another 15 mins, or until a deep golden colour.  You can cover the braid with foil if it browning too quickly.
11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.