One of my favorite things about Valentine’s Day is that we get to make our Chocolate Cherry Almond Heart Bread. This bread is inspired by a Greek Christmas bread I began baking in Macrina’s early days. It has evolved into one of my favorite Valentine’s Day gifts. The aroma coming from our ovens while it is baking is irresistible— sweet and buttery mixed with the scent of cherries and bittersweet chocolate, and that hint of brandy is the kicker. We bake the golden-brown bread in the shape of a heart. I warm it up slightly before serving and have difficulty restraining myself from eating the whole loaf.
For those who don’t eat the entire thing in one sitting, or are looking for how best to use this bread, I have a few suggestions:
1. This loaf makes incredible French toast served with fresh raspberries, maple syrup or a drizzle of chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.
2. Sauté one-inch slices with butter until caramelized to a golden brown. Serve warm drizzled with chocolate ganache and slightly sweetened whipped cream.
3. For a decadent dessert, toast one-inch slices and serve them with rich chocolate or vanilla ice cream and top with plumped dried cherries and drizzle of chocolate sauce
4. For a savory treat, cut half-inch slices and sauté in butter to golden brown and top with a slice of brie. The heat of the bread will warm the brie.
Our Cherry Almond Heart Bread is available at our cafés through Valentine’s Day.