Mocha Pfeffernüsse bread

Chocolate – check

Pfeffernüsse spice – check

Coffee – check

Bread – check

With all the good things in life checked off here, it’s of little wonder that this bread is sooooo good! It makes for an awesomely decadent treat (breakfast?) with a latte, and makes the whole house smell like heaven
before you even pop it in the oven. I’ve missed baking so much (stupid busy lifestyle!), and this was the perfect way to get back into the swing of it. It was inspired by the Spiced Choc Coffee Loaf in the Woolworths Fresh magazine, and the fact that while I’d run out of mixed spice, I’ve got a whole stash of pfeffernüsse spice in my kitchen. I haven’t made the original, but my spice mix brings so much to the party that I won’t be omitting it.

The caveat is that it’s, um, nearly 500 calories a slice. But it’s legitimately bread, not cake, and although decadent, it is also filling. And it’s certainly a special occasion kind of recipe, so it’s not like you’d be adding it to your regular diet. And if you are, I kind of envy you!

Ingredients

Dough

3/4 cup milk

7g sachet yeast

1/3 cup caster sugar

3 1/3 cups plain flour

3 eggs, beaten

125g butter (I use salted – if yours is unsalted, add 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes), cubed

Filling

250g dark chocolate

50g butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1tbs pfeffernüsse spice

Icing

30 mls espresso (I used Nespresso Vanilio)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Method

  1. Combine milk, yeast and sugar, and rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Place yeast mixture, flour and eggs into a bowl. Knead for 3 minutes until smooth (or 3 minutes in a stand mixer).
  3. While continuing to knead, add butter one piece at a time, incorporating each into the dough before adding another. Knead for 10 minutes after the final piece, until smooth, glossy and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a loaf pan with greased baking paper.  
  6. Melt chocolate and butter, and add sugar and spice mix. Stir to combine.
  7. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 35x40cm rectangle. Spread with chocolate mixture and roll into logs from the short edges.
  8. Cut each log lengthways (use a very sharp knife for this or it will tear the dough). Twist two halves into one log, and then repeat with the remaining two logs.
  9. Plait the two twisted logs into one large log and fold the edges underneath. Fit into the loaf pan, squishing the edges in if necessary, but aiming not to lose the twisted appearance.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes. Stand for 15 minutes then remove from pan.
  11. Combine the icing ingredients and drizzle over the loaf.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Pfeffernüsse

Growing up, one of the memories I have of staying with a Great Aunty was drinking tea and eating iced biscuits whose name I didn’t know. I only ever ate these biscuits at this one Aunty’s house, and I thought they were so very special. It was only when I was much older – well into my twenties – that I found them in the supermarket. Pfeffernüsse, that was them! And they were only a dollar a bag! I immediately brought some, and my dad and I agreed that these were the biscuits we both remembered.

Then I got a wild idea last year that I should make them myself. I came across The Daring Gourmet’s Best Authentic Pfeffernüsse, and she is not exaggerating! They’re so good that my daughter begged for a pfeffernüsse tower instead of a birthday cake this March, despite my insistence that these should be saved for December so they stay special. Everyone seems to love them, and even though most people won’t tell you to your face if they don’t love your cooking, they seem pretty enthusiastic about this recipe. I’ve tried a few other recipes, for science, but none of them come even close to these. I won’t take any credit for these beautiful gingerbread cookies, because I barely deviate from the original recipe, but I do find the website a little unwieldly, especially juggling two pages for the biscuit and the spice mix, so I’m putting it all together, here.

The spice mix recipe makes enough for at least two batches of
pfeffernüsse, but it lasts a long time in a dark cupboard, and you’ll probably be reaching for it a few times, so go to town! The recipe takes a bit of forethought and planning, so having the spices ready to go makes life a lot easier.

Calories? Well, technically 150 per pfeffernüsse, but I’m yet to meet the person who can stop at one.


Pfeffernüsse Spice

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 star anise, ground

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Method

  1. If purchasing spices already ground, combine all ingredients in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 12 months. If your spices are whole, use a grinder or mortar and pestle (I’ve even resorted to a ramekin and a wooden rolling pin) to grind them as fine as possible. Discard any woody bits of star anise that don’t grind enough.


Pfeffernüsse

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups self raising flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3-4 teaspoons pfeffernüsse spice

1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper

1/4 cup almond meal

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

5 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons thickened cream

1 large egg

For the Glaze:

2 1/2 cups icing sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

3 tablespoons hot water

Food colouring (optional – white is traditional)

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, pfeffernüsse spice, white pepper and almond meal. Stir well.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, butter and cream. Melt over medium heat until smooth and combined. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour melted butter mixture into dry ingredients and beat until very well combined. Add egg, and stir until the mixture is completely combined and has a nice shine. It will seem very wet and sticky – it dries out as it rests.
  4. Tear off a large piece of cling film and double wrap, very tightly. Refrigerate overnight, or for up to 48 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Remove dough from fridge and roll two teaspoons worth into balls, placing 2-3 cm apart, as they do spread a little. Bake for about 15 minutes: they should be firm but not hard or darkened.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Combine the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl and mix to combine. You want the consistency to be thick enough to hold on, but not so thick as to rip the fragile biscuit.
  9. Dip each biscuit into the glaze, place on a wire rack with baking paper underneath, and allow to set completely.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail