Whether you’re planning a decadent special occasion spread for a big group, or a low-key gathering with your inner circle, these brunch-ready dishes featuring dark chocolate offer something for everyone.

 

Chocolate Babka

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) warm water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) active dry yeast
  • ⅔ cup (150 mL) milk, warmed
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature, divided
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3½ cups (875 mL) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) 35% whipping cream

Filling

  • 1 bar (100 g) Lindt Excellence Madagascar Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) walnut halves (optional)
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Steps

  1. In bowl of stand mixer, combine water, 1 tsp (5 mL) sugar and yeast; let stand for 8 to 10 minutes or until foamy. Add milk, 2 eggs and melted butter. Stir together flour, remaining sugar and salt; sprinkle over egg mixture in mixing bowl.
  2. Using dough hook attachment, mix at low speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl; mix at medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic (dough should be tacky but not sticky).
  3. Transfer to greased bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 60 to 70 minutes or until doubled in volume.

Filling

  1. Freeze chocolate for 10 minutes. In food processor, combine chocolate, walnuts (if using), sugar and cinnamon; pulse until coarsely ground. Stir into softened butter until well combined.
  2. Grease two 9- x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pans. Line with enough parchment to leave overhang at sides.
  3. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 15- x 11-inch (38 x 28 cm) rectangle. Using offset spatula or back of spoon, spread filling evenly over dough, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border all around. Starting at one long end, roll up tightly into log; cut in half to make two logs.
  4. Working with one log at a time, cut in half lengthwise and arrange halves, cut side up, next to each other. Pinch top ends together, then twist halves tightly around each other to create decorative braid (try to keep the cut side facing out to expose layers of dough and filling to create an attractive effect). Repeat with second log. Transfer each braid to prepared loaf pan. Cover and let rise for 35 to 40 minutes or until level with top of pan.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Whisk remaining egg with cream; brush generously over loaves. Bake in centre of oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and instant-read thermometer registers internal temperature of 195°F (90°C) when inserted into centre.
  6. Transfer to rack; let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

Note: Enjoy within a day or two of baking or freeze for up to 60 days.


Ricardo’s Chocolate Brioche Buns

Prep time: 20 minutes (+ 1 hour rising)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 buns

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250mL) milk, warm
  • ¼ cup (60mL) sugar
  • 3¼ cups (810mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) instant dry yeast
  • 1 tsp (4mL) salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (125mL) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 bar (100g) Lindt Excellence Ecuador 70% Cacao Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for brushing

Steps

  1. Combine milk and sugar in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. With a wooden spoon or with your hands, add milk mixture, egg and butter to dry ingredients, working vigorously until a dough begins to form.
  3. Place dough on a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Form a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest in a warm, humid place (see note) for 10 minutes.
  4. Line a 17×12-inch (43×30-cm) baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. While kneading, add the chopped chocolate. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape into balls by rolling them with your hands on the counter, then place on the baking sheet. Let rise for about 45 to 60 minutes in a warm, humid place, or until balls double in size.
  6. With the rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  7. With a brush, lightly coat the buns with the beaten egg. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool then drizzle brioche buns with espresso chocolate ganache if desired. Enjoy!

Note: A microwave is a perfect place to make dough rise. By placing a cup of just boiled water next to the dough, the interior will become a warm, humid place.


 

Pancakes with Chocolate-Orange Sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes (+10 minutes)
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Chocolate-Orange Sauce

  • 1 bar (100g) Lindt Excellence Orange Intense Dark Chocolate
  • ½ cup (125mL) 35% cooking cream
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

Pancakes

  • 2 cups (250g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3¼ cup (440mL) milk
  • Vegetable oil, for cooking
  • Orange slices (for garnish)

Steps

Chocolate-Orange Sauce

  1. Put chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat cream and maple syrup. When mixture is hot, pour over chocolate. Using a whisk, mix until sauce is blended. Reserve at room temperature for pancakes. (Makes about one cup. Sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in a sealed glass jar for 4 days in a refrigerator. Warm to serve.)

Pancakes

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk eggs with sugar, vanilla and milk. Gradually add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until a homogeneous paste is obtained. Leave dough to rest for about 10 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil the pan. When the pan is hot, pour about ⅓ cup (80mL) of dough into centre of pan and cook each pancake 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  4. Serve pancakes with chocolate sauce and garnish with orange slices.