Chocottone is the clever name for the chocolate version of panettone fruitcake, known as panetón in Latin America. Italian immigrants to South America brought this special yeasted fruitcake with them, and it has become a beloved part of the Christmas celebration throughout Latin America, traditionally enjoyed with hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.
This recipe produces a rich chocolate brioche bread, baked into a high round dome and drizzled with a shiny chocolate glaze. Chocolate chips and nuts replace the traditional dried fruits, but if you must have fruit in your panettone, chopped dried cherries go well with chocolate. Bake the panettone in the traditional panettone paper molds (which you can order online) or in a deep round cake pan lined with parchment, or a brioche pan. A large (well-greased) coffee can or even a new terracotta pot lined with parchment paper could work well. The pan should be approximately 6-7 inches in diameter and about 4-5 inches deep.
- For the Dough:
- 2 1/4 cups flour (divided)
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast (divided)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter (softened, divided)
- 4 tablespoons Nutella (or other chocolate/hazelnut spread)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (good quality)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup pecans (chopped fine)
- Optional: 1/2 cup dried cherries (chopped fine)
- For the Chocolate Glaze:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
Make the sponge: Place 1 1/2 cups of the flour, 2/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons raspberry jam, and 1 teaspoon yeast in a small bowl and whisk together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rest for 3 hours.
Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the sponge, 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon yeast. Use the hook attachment to knead the dough until the mixture is smooth and stretchy, about 3-5 minutes.
Add 3 egg yolks, one at a time, and knead until dough is smooth, shiny, and stretchy.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Return dough to the mixer, and add salt, vanilla, honey, and 1 teaspoon yeast. Knead for 1 minute. Add 3 egg yolks, one at a time, and knead until smooth.
Add the 8 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the Nutella and continue to knead until dough is shiny, stretchy, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 5 minutes).
Toss the chocolate chips and pecans with 2 tablespoons of flour (add dried cherries, if using). Add them to the dough and knead briefly, until just mixed in.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Make a small "x" in the top of the dough by snipping it with scissors.
Place dough inside of a 6-inch diameter panettone mold, or use a deep round cake pan lined with parchment paper. Let dough rise in a warm place until triple in size (at least 3 hours).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bake the panettone for about 1 hour, lowering the temperature to 325 after 20 minutes, until the cake has risen high and springs back a little when pressed on top (like a muffin).
Let the panettone cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Make the chocolate glaze: On low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter with 1 cup chocolate chips. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon corn syrup. While still warm, drizzle icing decoratively over top of panettone.
Store panettone loosely wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.