200g dark chocolate drops
600g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
1 tsp salt
30g dried yeast
100g butter, softened
Place the flour in a large bowl and mix in the sugar and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast. Heat the milk in a plastic jug in the microwave for 20 secs, then beat in the eggs. Add the milk and egg liquid to the well, then mix together with a fork, until it comes together to form a dough. Dust a clean work surface with flour and knead the dough for 10 mins. Then knead in 80g of the butter, a bit at a time. Place the dough into a clean bowl covered with cling film and a tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for at least 3 hrs.
Knock back the dough by pushing the air out with a fist. Place it on a work surface and divide into three equal-sized balls. Roll each dough ball to a rectangle, measuring 30 x 40cm, then place one on a large sheet of baking paper. Scatter with half the chocolate drops and cover with the second piece of dough, then scatter the remaining chocolate drops over, followed by the last piece of dough. Lightly mark out a central tube for the tree trunk, then cut a triangle from the top middle to the opposite far corners. Make two incisions about 4cm up in the middle of the bottom, to make the bottom tree trunk. From the top to the bottom, on each side, cut strips coming away from the middle trunk, cutting further in higher up the tree. Transfer to a baking tray and twist each strip to form a spiral pattern. Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
Melt the remaining butter and brush it over the bread. Bake for 15-20 mins, until golden and risen. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.
Other breakfast dishes in our Christmas 2016 issue:
- Rich scrambled eggs and smoked salmon
- Cranberry and orange sparkler
- Christmas pancakes
- Kipper kedgeree
- Sticky cranberry sausage sandwich
- Trio of mushrooms on toast