It’s officially winter here in Vancouver. The fuzzy boots have replaced flip flops, the warm coffee has replaced the iced at Starbucks and the beautiful red leaves all fell off our front tree yesterday. I’m sitting here now in my front room with the fire place burning. It’s dark and gloomy outside and the rain is pouring down but at least the snow fall warning has passed. It’s times like these when I so look forward to spring.
There are only a couple of things I like about winter. I love Christmas, the first day of a big snow fall (Vancouver does NOT deal well with snow) and the warm fragrant smells that emanate out of the oven. Like the smell that filled the house when I baked this Peppermint Mocha Loaf.
The peppermint in this loaf is perfect. It’s not overpowering but perfectly balanced against the chocolate. The coffee isn’t the star more a backup singer. I served it with some sweetened whip cream and man it was moist and flavorful. My marbling needs a little work but I really didn’t want to over do the marbling so I under did it instead. This makes a perfect hostess gift or seriously how good would this be if you made it into french toast?
Peppermint Mocha Loaf – slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan
2 c all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter – room temp
1 c granulated sugar
4 eggs room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c milk
4 oz dark chocolate melted but cooled
2 tbs espresso or 1 tsp instant espresso powder and dissolved in 2 tbs of boiling water – room temp
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 325 F and place oven rack in middle position. Spray a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan with non stick spray. I used a silicone lined gift pan from Superstore. Get 2 baking sheets or one insulated baking sheet out as well. You are going to put the loaf pan on top of the baking sheets while it’s baking in the oven.
In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on med speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. The batter may look curdled, don’t worry. Add vanilla. Turn mixer to low and add 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, 1/3 dry, rest of milk then rest of dry. Mixing after each addition just until incorporated.
Take 1/2 the batter out and place in a large bowl. Add in coffee and melted chocolate. Mix until all the chocolate has been mixed in.
In the remaining batter add in the peppermint extract.
Now to marble better than I did – drop batter into the pan alternating dark and light. Run a knife through 6-8 times.
Bake in the oven for a hour and 20-30 minutes. If you notice the top getting dark make a tin foil tent and cover the top of the loaf. Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean. Try not to over bake as it will make the loaf dry. Let the cake rest for 15 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.