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Chcolate Bourbon Pecan Brioche knots

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I would love to serve some chocolate pecan pie for breakfast every morning but I would get a lot of funny looks from guests, for sure. This is my substitute, buttery, egg, smooth whole grain brioche rolls layered with chocolate and pecans. A number of techniques for making a smooth as silk brioche dough exist, but I think the best and easiest method is to mix the basic dough, let it rest for a bit, then mix in the soft butter. Try it for yourself and see.

To obtain a genuine Southern pecan flavor, I added bourbon to the filling. Nearby Glacier Distilling (glacierdistilling.com), the first legal distillery along the Middle Fork, produces Fireweed, a very smooth cherry bourbon that adds a nice finish to the chocolate filling.

The Dough

3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140 g) whole wheat flour
3/4 Tbsp (7 g) dry yeast
3/4 Tbsp (11 g) kosher salt
2 Tbsp (25 g) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (214 g) milk, warmed to 105-115 F
4 large eggs (192 g)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 169 g) butter, slightly melty
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In a large bowl, measure out the flours, yeast, salt, sugar and dry milk then stir a bit to mix. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and warm water. Stir vigorously by hand for 30 seconds or knead in the mixer for 4 minutes at medium speed then cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

After 20 minutes, stir or mixer in the softened butter. The butter should be quite soft, a little melty around the edges. After a minute of stirring or mixing the dough should look silky soft. Cover and allow to rise for 2 hours at room temperature then refrigerate 2 hours to 3 days until ready to use the dough.

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Filling and Shaping

For the filling:
1 2/3 cup (10 oz) Bittersweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
2 Tbsp bourbon
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped plus more whole pecans for topping knots
About 2 hours prior to serving (or the night before), on the stove or in the microwave, melt the butter or coconut oil and bittersweet chocolate, then add the bourbon and stir until smooth. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface into a 14 x 21 inch rectangle. Using a spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly over the dough. Allow the chocolate to harden on the dough for 4 (cool kitchen) to 8 (warm kitchen) minutes, then roll up the dough from the long side to make a 21 inch long layered log. 

Using a pizza cutter or serrated bread knife, cut the log crosswise in the middle to divide the dough in half. Set one half aside, then cut the other half into halves longitudinally, then cut those halves longitudinally again, so that each half of dough is cut into four equal striped strips. Repeat the longitudinal cutting with the other half of the log.

Next make a simple knot with each of the 8 pieces or stretch each piece out to 12 inches or so for a double knot. Space the rolls widely on a parchment covered sheet, place a few whole pecans on top and cover lightly. Allow the rolls to rise for 1 hour (or refrigerate overnight), then bake for about 28 minutes at 375 F until lightly browned. Serve while warm if possible.