A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend fairly lengthy periods of time in Switzerland. I really enjoyed the trips I took there, I mean, what's not to like? Hiking? Mountains? Beautiful old towns everywhere you look? Chocolate?? Need I say more? There was also the Linde, near the Mister's apartment, where we drank many a seasonal beer (my favorite? The fruehlingsbier! Yum.) and had toooo few plates of apfelkuechlein. Oh my gosh, that was the best dessert ever. Wait, I have to show it to you:
Not a great photo, but mmmm. Apple rings, battered, fried, covered in cinnamon sugar, and served with ice cream? YES, PLEASE. Whoops, I'm getting sidetracked here! One of the other nice things about his place was Hausamann, an awesome bakery/cafe. It's right by the tram stop which means it's great for running in and grabbing a quick snack, but I always enjoyed perusing the racks of treats, and trying out my really, really rudimentary German on the ladies there. (And by try out, I mean, I was thrilled when I bought a Kartoffelbrot, and they understood me. Of course, they then asked me something else which I could not for the life of me understand. I think I realized like, 2 years later, that they had asked me if I wanted it sliced.) They have a nice little seating area inside, if you want a coffee and some cake, but I particularly liked their sandwiches (like the Fischli! A fish shaped fish sandwich? Yum.) and learned to buy one to take on the plane back to the States. (Don't ever ever eat the chicken "cordon bleu" on Continental. Trust me.) Another thing that I loved there? The Schoggibroetli! It's basically a soft, sweet bun studded with bits of chocolate and sugar chunks, and I have been craving them lately. Of course, there are no Schoggibroetlis to be found, so I had to try my hand at making them myself.
I started with a basic sweet yeast dough, let it rise once, and then kneaded in some finely chopped chocolate and a handful of pearl sugar, then set it aside to rise again.
This is how it looked after about an hour; good rising! I love the way yeast dough smells. After the second rise, I formed the dough into buns, and left it to rise for a 3rd time. Actually I think that was probably overkill, and you could probably just mix the chocolate in during the first rise, and the second rise will be after you form the buns.
Just before baking, brush the buns with butter and sprinkle more pearl sugar on top. Pearl sugar is great! It doesn't melt, looks pretty, and adds a nice crunch, and when you actually fold it into dough, you get little pockets of sugar. Yummmmmy.
20 minutes later? Schoggibroetli! Looks good? I can tell you they SMELLED great.
Tasted great, too! Actually, I must pat myself on the back--these are pretty close to the Schoggibroetlis I remember. I would just switch up the chocolate and use one that was slightly less bitter next time (maybe 60% instead of 72%). Also, I would be more careful and knead the chocolate in more evenly. But oh, these do take me back....now I want to take another trip to Zurich. Besides, there are those lovely Luxemburgerlis waiting for me....
What's your favorite food memory from a trip? Tell me :)
Schoggibroetli (Swiss Chocolate Buns)
2 3/4 cup bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast (or one envelope)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened (plus another tablespoon, melted for brushing the buns)
about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, or finely chopped chocolate from a bar (or to taste)
1/4 cup of pearl sugar, plus more for the top of the buns
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt, and whisk briefly to combine. Add the water, milk, and egg, mix until a dough starts to form. This is easiest in a mixer, but can also be done easily by hand. Just prepare to get messy! Knead the butter in until thoroughly incorporated, then turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Pat the dough out into a rough square, and sprinkle the chocolate chips and pearl sugar evenly over the surface. Roll up, and knead again briefly, just to make sure all of the chips and sugar are incorporated into the dough. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled (1-2 hours, depending on how warm the room is).
When the dough is risen, deflate it, and form 18 evenly sized buns. Arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about an inch and a half between each bun, and cover with a damp tea towel. Allow to rise until puffy and almost doubled, which should take about 40 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt a tablespoon of butter and brush the tops of the buns, then sprinkle a bit of additional pearl sugar on. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned top and bottom. Remove to a rack to cool; they are most delicious when they are still slightly warm, but are also good microwaved for 15 seconds or so.