Saturday, February 4, 2017

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tea Bread & February's Give-Away Apron

February is here and I heard that Punxsutawney Phil once again saw his shadow; but as a friend said, "how could he not with all those spotlights on him!"  Well, to get through the month I've decided to pull out the chocolate recipes to make any bad weather seem a little more tolerable.

I bet you're asking, why do I call this a tea bread and how is it different from either a quick bread or cake?  So let me try to explain...why I've call this a "tea bread" and not either of the two above.  Typically, a quick bread refers to a loaf, usually made with fruit (i.e., banana, zucchini, etc.) and the ingredients are stirred together so the protein fibers don't bread down.  It has less sugar than cake and, in fact, the ratio of flour to fat to sugar is different.  Quick breads also came about in the United States with the creation of leavening agents--baking powder or baking soda--which gives rise to the bread with heavier ingredients in it.  Cakes, on the other hand, use "air" to give them rise; beating butter and sugar together until fluffy traps fat crystals in the sugar helping with lift.  Also, a low-protein flour, like all-purpose flour is used so gluten doesn't form from beating the ingredients.  Now, a tea bread lies somewhere between the two.  Although very similar to a quick bread because of a lower amount of sugar, it does use the technique to cream the butter and sugar together to form "air" for lift.  And, then there's the definition in Webster's dictionary that says, "a tea bread is eaten with a cup of tea!" A dip in temperatures yesterday prompted a nice slice of tea bread with a hot cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tea Bread

5 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. cream chest
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Cake Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 buttermilk
2/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

*I used Triple Blend Dutch-process Cocoa

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Grease a large loaf pan or use a 10-cup Bundt pan.  I also dusted some cocoa in the pan.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy.   Beat in the granulated sugar until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The mixture should be fluffy!

Stir together the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Fold in the hazelnuts to evenly distribute in the batter, which is very thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Smother the surface.  Bake in the preheated oven until firm to touch and pulls away from the pan sides, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  You can also use a cake tester!  If the top looks like it's browning too much, loosely cover with aluminum foil.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool  for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan onto a rack or serving dish and let cool completely.  I dusted the top of my loaf with confectioners' sugar (icing sugar).  Cut into thick slices to serve.

Although we had this in the evening after dinner, it was also perfect this morning.  Enjoy

This month's apron is appropriately in colors to celebrate Valentine's Day, but also to keep in mind to stay in the "pink" health wise.  Comment on the posts this month and you could be the lucky recipient wearing this apron to bake in your kitchen!


  1. Gorgeous tea bread! I always learn something new from you and now you've solved the tea bread mystery for me after watching the GBBS. Love that pan and your tea bread is lovely. I'm hoping this solves the extended winter blues. Out here, I say bring on the rain and snow pack! lv, me

  2. All those extra things you do when you bake really make a difference! And the pretty apron will be perfect for this month! Hugs Sis, Diane

  3. My cake eating buddy can't, sadly, eat dark chocolate. What a pity ~ I guess I'll have to eat it all myself {giggles}
    Such pretty colours on that apron this month ~~~Deb in Wales

  4. Ahh chocolate to lighten the mood. The apron reminds me of the promise of Spring.

  5. I love the science lesson along with your lovely recipe, Susan. Chocolate and hazelnut is a match made in heaven--I'm sure this tea bread is a winner.
    What a cheerful beautiful apron you have made for this month. Of course they all are. You must be close to 400 aprons by now. Have a nice afternoon. XOXO ♥

    1. Seems like 400, but actually this is #139❣

  6. Chocolate is definitely way to go, Susan. The bread looks awesomely hearty and divine.

  7. Just discovered your blog. Lovely on this co l d winter evening

  8. Your tea bread sounds delicious and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of tea bread and a quick bread or loaf. This bread and Irish breakfast tea sounds delightful.

  9. Wish I could share a slice of your tea bread and a cup of Irish breakfast tea with you. It sounds delightful!

  10. That apron is adorable and I've always loved using stripes for binding or edging. Nailed it!
    Tried your "Brown Butter Chocolate Chip" cookie recipe over the weekend - the cookie jar is empty.

  11. I like the shape of your cake today.
    stamping sue

  12. Started looking at King Arthur Flour blog and recipes. Made their banana bread recipe today and will share at the library tonight with my fellow volunteers and employees. Next week I will make a chocolate chiffon cake as a birthday treat.