4.11.2011

Marion Cunningham's Chocolate Yeast Bread


I'm sure you've all heard of Marion Cunningham. No, not the one from Happy Days, but the wonderfully talented American chef. David Lebovitz calls her "the last of the great, classic American cooks." She assisted James Beard for 11 years, was responsible for the most recent versions of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook and has several cookbooks of her own. An unpretentious woman, she continues to provide straightforward, practical recipes for delicious American cuisine. She was a regular contributor to Gourmet and Food & Wine Magazine and I believe still writes a column for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. I can't begin to list all her accomplishments, but refer you to one of the nicest articles I've ever read about a chef, written by David Lebovitz HERE. She also received the Grand Dame award from Les Dames d'Escoffier "in recognition and appreciation of her extraordinary achievement and contribution to the culinary arts,"  and in 1994, she was named Scholar-in-Residence by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.


                
                                                                                                    Marion Cunningham
                                                                                               (photo by Christopher Hirsheimer)

I've previously done a post on her yeast waffles, which have rightly replaced any other waffle recipe we've ever made at our house and have three of her cookbooks which I frequently search for inspiration. Here's yet another gem to tell you about: her Chocolate Walnut Butter Bread.

If you're looking for a delicious surprise for a Sunday breakfast, or if you're having company for brunch.. you've got to try Marion's fabulous bread. It's a combination of a yeast and sweet bread. Only one rising, you don't need a mixer and you can do it in one bowl. I don't make a lot of yeast breads any more but I made one loaf to see how it turned out and we loved the tender crumb and the rich surprising flavors. And here's a thought: make some French toast with this bread. There'll be some happy faces!



Chocolate Walnut Butter Bread
From The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham


Ingredients:
1/2 cup warm water
1 package dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 eggs, room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken or chopped into large pieces (I used chocolate chips)

Method:
Put the warm water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast. Give it a stir and then allow to stand for 5 minutes to dissolve.
Add the flour, sugar, salt and eggs to the yeast mixture and beat vigorously until well blended. (I used an electric mixer) Beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated and the batter is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to let the batter rise to double its bulk.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Stir the batter down and add the nuts and chocolate. Spoon into two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 3 inch greased loaf pans. The pans should be about half full so the tops are nicely rounded when they are finished baking. Bake for 45  minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5  minutes, then turn out on a rack to finish cooling.



60 comments:

  1. Marion, in addition to being a wonderful cook/teacher/author is a true lady!! I think she deserves more attention than she gets in this day of somewhat flashier cooking stars. I have everything I need to make this bread, including a rainy day!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  2. Yum! I'm sure I'd love this bread. It's got nuts and chocolate, how can I refuse? I have to admit I don't know much about Marion, but I intend to fill the gaps in my ignorance right now.

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  3. It is a misty, cool morning here in New York, and just the thought of this sweet and yeasty bread is warming me up!

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  4. Oh, yummy! It must be divine.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. I can see at least one happy face in my family if I make this bread! It looks yummy and as a french toast it will be even better!

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  6. That bread looks so good! 5 Star foodie junior was just asking for a bread with chocolate chips, we need to make this for sure! Love your addition of pecans!

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  7. Those are pretty high accolades. I would love to get my hands on one of her books. Which would you recommmend?

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  8. Great looking bread and french toast would be fabulous.
    Mimi

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  9. wow great bread and your a fab American cook and need some awards thanks for listening to the show yep sleepy but wanted to get the tips down well fresh in my mind hugs Rebecca

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  10. What a fabulous bread! Looks fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing such lovely recipe. Hope you're enjoying your day.
    blessings, Kristy

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  11. Barbara, this looks so rich and delicious. I'll have to make this over the holiday when I'll have visitors to help eat it. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  12. Be still my heart. Maybe that will be my reward for finishing my taxes?

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  13. Yep, best waffles ever... and she seems like a nice lady on top of it... like the best grandmother/nurturer/mentor ever. This is a great looking bread... I have been on a chocolate binge lately (choc chip cookies) and no reason to stop now. I'm off to read Leibovitz article on her. She is the last of an illustrious line... we shall not see her like again.

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  14. I forgot about the yeast waffles!

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  15. This bread could certainly make some Happy Days here, even if it is a different Marion :) This sounds great!

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  16. Such a wonderful bread. Looks simply delicious. And French toasts with this bread will be superb.

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  17. What a beautiful loaf of bread and yes I immediately thought of Happy Days!

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  18. Oh yum, Barbara, this looks outstanding. And from your description, it sounds like it tastes as good as it looks. Printing it out. Because I just really need more chocolate recipes. ;)

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  19. This looks like a delicious bread! I bet it's delicious toasted, with maybe a little ice cream on top :)

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  20. Barbara...chocolate bread with lots of butter...I love it already :-) Have a great week ahead.

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  21. Hi Barbara,

    This bread looks so good and would like a slice for my lunch, which I am just about thinking of going to do.
    Yes, for breakfast and French toast would be delicious.

    Have a great week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  22. The bread looks so divine. I just made a bread with a complex profile of flavours.

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  23. This bread looks like it would just melt in your mouth. Yum. I have to try this!

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  24. Very lovely bread. I think you are right about the French toast.

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  25. Now this my friend is perfect..I think this would work well for Easter brunch...and French toast..yum. Thanks again for sharing such joy. xoxoxoxo

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  26. sounds like a great addition to breakfast or to my afternoon tea. chocolate and nuts, I'm going nuts. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. What a great bread, I like that it comes together in only one bowl too. You're right French Toast is a fabulous idea for this bread.

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  28. I love how full of chunks the bread is and it looks so soft on the inside too! :D

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  29. Hey Barbara,
    I can't believe it but I have this book too!
    It's been on my shelf for many years and I dip into it now and again when I want to make something
    special.
    When we had our fledgling B&B it was invaluable, it still has little post it's stuck all over the pages.
    Many thanks for reminding me about the Breakfast Book.
    Maggie

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  30. I've never made a chocolate bread, and I love the idea of using this for French toast. Sounds fantastic for brunch!

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  31. Wow..what a gorgeous bake! Love the fluffy texture and the chocolaty touch to the loaf, Barbara. Awesome clicks.

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  32. What a delicious bread! Love the chunks of chocolate against the white bread.

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  33. i've never heard of this woman--how dreadful! i clearly need to make her acquaintance, as this bread looks pillow soft yet sturdy enough to support a lot of add-ins. well done!

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  34. I am certain that this would make great french toast and I am bookmarking it for company!

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  35. Marion Cunningham's recipes are classic delights of nostaglia with a modern day touch. She did a fabulous job with Fannie Farmer's book!

    I can't make any promises because you know me and my yeastaphobia but, I'm going to bookmark this recipe to take along with me to Idaho to see the grand kids. Perhaps, and this is a big PERHAPS, I will bake it for Easter morning. The thought of chocolate French Toast for breakfast will absolutely delight the kids~

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, Barbara...

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  36. wonderful bread and wonderful review! it looks wonderful!

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  37. I'm in need of a little sweet right now, and this sounds perfect. Chocolate and walnuts? Oh yes!

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  38. I love this lady and always admired her; all the more so because she is still at it! This bread looks like a great brioche to me, yum yum, perfect for the 4PM with a cup of tea, right?

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  39. How positively delicious! I don' think I've ever seen a yeasted bread with chocolate chips - love it!

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  40. She seems like such a lovely lady, Barbara. :-) And this bread looks PERFECT for a Saturday morning with lots of good, strong coffee and marvy folks to visit with. :-)

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  41. Looks like bread dreams are made of! I can't wait to give this a try.

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  42. Making French toast with this bread would be over the top...excellent idea Barbara.
    I love the way you introduced Marion in your kitchen...she seems like such a wise and lovely woman to get life and baking lessons from. You wrote a wonderful post on her. As soon as I have a chance, I'll go for a visit at David's post also. Thanks.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Claudia

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  43. I have heard such wonderful things about Marion Cunningham's recipes but am ashamed to say that I've never made one! There's always room for a first time though and this bread looks absolutely splendid!

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  44. I saw your comment on Butteryum's last post.. i,too, love creamsicles....i posted a creamsicle cheesecake a few posts back..
    Your bread looks decatant, my family would love it!!

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  45. This looks beyond delicious, what a lovely easter treat!

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  46. mmm...love some home made bread...used to love happy days as well...fonz was so cool until he jumped that shark...

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  47. I just may have to make this bread for Easter. Marion Cunningham is a classic and I enjoyed DL's tribute to her. Thanks for an interesting post Barbara.

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  48. I love Ms. Cunningham (actually both the chef and the tv mom)..

    This looks just amazing, can't wait to try it out..

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  49. Sounds like a pretty amazing lady... I am going to have to look more into her work!

    Be blessed-
    AManda

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  50. This looks amazing. I made a chocolate bread once before and totally loved it. But it wasn't Marion's recipe. You have me itching to try hers now.

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  51. My goodness, that sounds delicious! I love the pairing of chocolate and nuts, but combining them inside bread is even more fantastic.

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  52. What a lovely loaf of bread! I've always heard of Marion Cunningham but have never tried one of her recipes. This looks like a great place to start!

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  53. I always appreciate finding yeasted bread recipes that are simple in the rising--such as this one. And, being one of Marion Cunningham's, it's got to be terrific.
    Thanks for this one, and honoring her body of work.

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  54. wow.. so inviting and moist.. love it..

    new to ur space n happy to follow u..for more wonderful recipes..

    do visit mine when u get time
    http://comeletseat.blogspot.com

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  55. Oh YUM. I'm a sucker for just about any recipe that calls for chocolate chips!!

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  56. Barbara,

    I have heard of Marion a while back--she truly seems to be a wonderful lady!

    Anyways, I promised myself that I will not eat sweets since I need to lose weight, but THANKS you, you posted this bread (that's not sweets right? haha) recipe with chocolate chips and walnuts! Yum!

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  57. Beautiful yeasted bread. Perfect for Easter.

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  58. Oh my gosh - this looks amazing!!

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  59. Wow, that is so surprisingly simple, especially for a yeast bread! Yup yup yup, that will be in my mouth this weekend.

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