This cherry chocolate danish is incredibly easy to make and so impressive! The filling is a combination of tart cherry jam and dark chocolate and the contrast of sweet, bitter, and tart makes such a beautiful combination!
Cherry Chocolate Danish Overview
This cherry chocolate danish looks so incredibly impressive to make but is actually very easy to put together. The dough is made with my easy danish pastry dough and it is filled with cherry preserves and chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
I love to glaze the top of the braid with a simple powdered sugar glaze (also known as flat icing) to give it a bit more contrast of color and sweetness. This danish makes a beautiful dessert or addition to a brunch spread!
How to Make Cherry Chocolate Danish
To make this danish super easy to make I use my master enriched dough yeast dough recipe, instead of a traditional danish dough. Classic danish dough takes a lot of time and effort to make, and honestly this dough is just as good!
If you prefer, you can use a traditional danish pastry in place of this dough.
Step 1: Make the Easy Danish Dough
Start by making the yeast dough. If you are unfamiliar with the detailed process of making yeast dough, you can read this post for detailed step-by-step tutorial.
Step 2: Roll Out & Fill the Dough
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle roughly 12×15″ in size. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it will look nice once it is braided. Transfer the dough onto a piece of parchment paper after it has been rolled out.
Spread on a thin layer of cherry preserves down the middle 3rd of the dough and toss some chocolate over the top. I like to use the ghiradelli chocolate chips because they melt well. Or you could chop up a chocolate bar and sprinkle it around.
Step 3: Cut and Braid the Dough
To start, cut the top two corners off the dough, and then two triangle notches into the bottom of the dough as pictured above. I like to use a bench scraper for this, but you can use scissors or a knife.
Criss-cross the dough over the filling. You can lay the pieces flat or twist them like I did in the pictures. Fold the top and the bottom pieces up and seal.
Step 4: Proof then Prepare the Bake
Allow the braided loaf to rise until slightly puffy. This will take about 30-45 minutes.
Brush the loaf with an egg wash which will give it a shiny brown look once baked. You can also sprinkle the loaf with granulated sugar or turbinado sugar to add a bit of texture.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the loaf until it is golden brown, then allow to cool completely before glazing.
Step 6: Glaze (optional)
Glazing the loaf is optional but it gives it a beautiful finished look and adds a bit of sweetness. I love to add a bit of almond extract into the glaze because it pairs beautifully with the cherry. You could use vanilla extract if you prefer.
For the Dough
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk (lower fat milk can be substituted)
- 1 1/4 tsp (about a half package) active dry or quick rise yeast
- 3 TBSP (38 gr) granulated sugar
- 3 TBSP (42 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp (3 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
- 2 cups (240 gr) all-purpose flour + more for kneading
For the Filling
- 1/3 cup (55 gr) cherry preserves
- 1/2 cup (85 gr) chopped semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
To Top Before Baking
- egg wash (1 egg whisked with 2 TBSP water)
- granulated or turbinado sugar
For the Glaze
- 1 cup (126 gr) powdered, confectioners, or icing sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract (*optional, can be replaced with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2-4 TBSP (30-59 ml) liquid of choice
- Hydrate the Yeast: Warm the milk to about 110-115 F (43-46 C). This can be done on the stove top or in the microwave. It should take about 30-45 seconds in the microwave. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and stir it together.
- Combine the Fat & Sugar: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the cooled butter, sugar, and salt with a spoon or a rubber spatula.
- Add the Egg: Stirring until incorporated.
- Add the Milk/Yeast: Stir in the milk/yeast mixture.
- Add the Flour: Stir in the flour until it is all hydrated. The dough will be shaggy at this point.
- Knead: This dough can be kneaded by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 6-7 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The dough will be very sticky to start, but will become less sticky as it is kneaded. If kneading in the stand mixer, knead at medium/high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping about halfway through to scrape the bottom of the bowl. You can a little flour if needed to prevent the dough from being too sticky.
- Ferment: Lightly spray the dough with oil and cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap. Let it ferment at room temperature until double in size. This will take about 30-45 minutes if you used quick rise yeast and 1-2 hours if active dry yeast was used. A warm spot will speed up the fermentation time.
- Roll: Deflate the air out of the dough by pressing down on it in the center and bringing the edges of the dough over the top. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a rectangle about 12" x 15" (30 cm x 38 cm), about 1/4 th inch thick.
- Fill: Spread the cherry preserves over the middle 1/3rd of the dough leaving about a 1/2" at the top and bottom. Sprinkle the chocolate over the preserves.
- Cut: Cut the corners off the top of the dough and two triangles into the bottom of the dough (see step-by-step pictures). Then cut strips about 3/4th-1 inch wide angling slightly downward going down both sides of the dough. Make sure you cut the same number of strips down each side.
- Braid: Criss-cross the strips across the dough laying them over the filling. You can keep them flat or twist them slightly like I did in the pictures. Fold the top and the bottom flaps up to seal.
- 2nd Rise: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30-45 minutes until slightly puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Brush the egg wash over the dough after it has risen and sprinkle with some more granulated sugar or turbinado sugar if you want a little more texture.
- Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool completely before glazing.
- Make Glaze: Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze until it is the consistency that can easily be drizzled. Drizzle over the bread once completely cooled.
- Store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Prep Ahead: If you want to prep this ahead of time, follow the instructions up to the point of the 2nd rise. Instead of letting the dough rise after it has been shaped, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for up to 16 hours. Before baking, remove it from the fridge for about 45 minutes before baking.