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Colomba di Pasqua II

Annnnd because I can never do anything the same way twice, I did a variation of my first colomba di pasqua...this time with unsweetened cocoa and chocolate chips.

Breads
2 quarter ounce packages of active dry yeast
1/2 C warm water (approx. 110 degrees)
1/2 C butter, room temperature
7 oz. package almond paste (in the baking aisle of most grocery stores)
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
1 T pure vanilla extract
1 t pink Himalaya salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg, separated
1/2 C warm milk (approx. 110 degrees)
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 C dried cherries
1/2 C raw pistachios
1/2 C semisweet chocolate chips

Glaze
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1/2 C ground almonds
2 large egg whites
1/4 t almond extract
1 C sliced almonds
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar

1. In a small cup or bowl, stir the yeast into water to soften.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, almond paste and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the softened yeast, vanilla, salt, eggs, egg yolk, milk, unsweetened cocoa, and 3 cups flour to the creamed mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

3. Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Gently stir in dried cherries, pistachios, and chocolate chips.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a tightly woven cloth and let rise about 1 1/2 hours. Due to the almond paste, this recipe doesn't double in size.

5. Divide dough into halves. Place the two dove shaped pans on a large baking sheet, then arrange dough in the pans. Cover with a towel and let rise 45 minutes. Although the dough won't rise as high as other types of yeast dough, it will rise during baking.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat all glaze ingredients except almonds, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar together. Gently mix in almond then spoon over the breads. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and chocolate chips. Bake for 45 minutes.

7. Remove pans to a cooking rack and cool completely.

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