Chocolate Orange Panettone
Take your holiday tradition to the next level with this chocolate orange panettone! Sweet, moist Italian yeast bread, studded with citrus and chocolate.
My grandfather was first generation Sicilian-American, but sadly, not much from his culture was passed down. He was probably more interested in assimilating, like many other immigrants at that time.
So no, I did not grow up with panettone. And I did not have a little Italian nonna teaching me her ways in the kitchen. I just grew up like most other American kids, eating candy canes and sugar cookies at Christmastime.
Which I still love of course. You can tell that by looking at any of the numerous peppermint recipes or cookie recipes I have on this site.
But while I was putting myself through college, I worked as a pastry chef at a catering company that was run by an Italian-American family. Many of the parties they hosted were also for Italian families, and so the food reflected that. During that time, I discovered a passion for Italian food, and learned many of the wonderful traditions.
Christmas was always a special time there. There were so many dishes that only appeared during the holidays. Especially desserts. I remember piles of pizzelles, and zeppoli, and struffoli. All the aunts and grandmas would join us in the kitchen, and teach me about their holiday traditions. I ate it up. Both literally and figuratively!
After I finished up with design school and moved on to a career in architecture, I still had such a passion for Italian food. For years, it was all I ever wanted to cook or eat. It seemed like it was just in my blood, and it made me feel connected to my dad’s family.
What you see here is my first attempt at panettone. I’ve been wanting to make it forever, and am finally just now able to cross it off my baking bucket list.
It begins with a starter, which I had never done before. The idea of it scared me, but don’t let it do that to you. It’s just flour, yeast, and water, but you do have to let it sit for 8 hours, so you will need to plan ahead.
It’s not a perfect panettone. If you read my posts regularly, I’m sure you already know I’m not the most confident bread baker. (Talk to me about cakes!) I’m timid, and I need a recipe to start with and then riff on. I’m not that good that I can develop one completely on my own. I second-guess myself every step of the way. But I’m learning.
There’s only one way to get better at anything and that’s to practice, practice, practice. And that is what I hope to do. Every time I venture into this category of baking, I learn so much.
My loaf is a little cracked on top. I think it’s probably because I under-proofed it. It never really doubled in size, which is probably because it’s enriched. I’m sure the eggs and sugar and fruit and chocolate inhibit the rise a bit.
But it baked up tall, and light, and moist, and yeast-y, and a little sweet. The candied orange permeates the whole loaf with a sweet, citrus-y perfume that tastes just like marmalade. Big chunks of melting bittersweet chocolate are studded all throughout, and they balance out the orange in the loveliest way.
Eat it warm, if you can. It’s a an unforgettable treat, and so perfect for this time of year.
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Chocolate Orange Panettone
For the starter
- 3/4 cup (93.75 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/16 teaspoon (0.06 teaspoon) instant yeast, (just a pinch)
- 1/3 cup (83.33 ml) cool water
For the dough
- all of the starter, (above)
- 2 1/4 cups (281.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (66.67 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (56.75 g) unsalted butter, (half a stick), softened
- 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) lukewarm water
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (1.25 teaspoons) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 cup (150 g) diced candied orange peel
- 1 cup (175 g) bittersweet chocolate pieces
To make the starter:
- Place the flour, yeast, and water in a large mixing bowl and stir together until combined.
- Cover, and allow to rest for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.
To make the panettone:
- To the bowl of starter, add the flour, sugar, butter, water, eggs, yeast, salt, vanilla, and orange blossom water.
- Mix on medium-low speed (using a dough hook) until combined, then knead for 10 minutes.*
- Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Gently deflate the dough, then knead in the candied orange peel and chocolate.
- Shape it into a ball and place it in a paper panettone mold.
- Cover, and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake the panettone for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 degrees F, and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Turn the oven temp down to 350 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes more.**
Absolutely heavenly! Loved it! Great recipe 😊
Do you HAVE to use the orange blossom water? I mean, will leaving it out change the texture, etc.? Is it just there for flavor?
Hey Sheila! It’s just there for flavor. You can leave it out if you’d like, or replace it with another kind of extract. Hope that’s helpful!
Mmm… I can almost smell it so much it looks good! 🙂 I was wondering about the ‘instant yeast’ : do you mean baking powder, i.e. the chemical leavening agent? Or is it truly some other kind of living yeast?
Hey Diane! No, there’s no baking powder in this recipe. It’s a yeast bread. I just used a packet of instant yeast. Hope that helps!
This looks amazing, Allie! I know this would be a huge hit with my family!
Thank you so much Tori! So glad to hear you and your family are panettone lovers! 🙂
The pictures are just gorgeous! I never tried a Panettone but this most certainly makes me interested.
Thank you so much Nicole! Panettone is so good! I love that yeasty sweetness, just puts me in mind of Christmas. Hope you have a chance to try! And congrats on your adorable little one! xo
If using an existing starter…3/4 of a cup?
Ooh, good question Tiffany! Sounds like you are a more experienced bread baker than I am, lol! I think it probably did end up being about 3/4 cup, after it had risen/fermented. Hope that helps!
Omg! I love Italian food! Panettone has been on my to-do list like for ever as well. Looking at your beautiful photos I am thinking of giving it a go!
Oh I hope you do Julia! I really enjoyed making it, and we’ve been nibbling on it for breakfast for days. Thank you so much dear!
These are such a beautiful edible gift! My mom LOVES panettone and she and I both share a love for the chocolate/orange combo. I may have to make these especially for her! They may not be “perfect”, but they turned out absolutely gorgeous!
Aw, thank you Diana! I’m so happy you like this! Chocolate and orange has always been a favorite for me too, especially at this time of year. xo
I’ve always wanted to make this – and I think yours turned out lovely! I adore all things Italian too. Going to check out the molds – thanks!
Oh wow! Thank you! It’s been on my list forever and I’m so glad I finally got around to trying it. My whole family has been enjoying it ever since. Hope you do too Tricia!
Panettone is one of my favorite things about the holidays Allie! I will need to get your recipe on my baking list! Your photos are just gorgeous!
Hey Allie, great recipe! Thank you for sharing 🙂
I was wondering what size is the form you’re using?
Thanks in advance! Have a great day 🙂
Hi Esurbeva! Thank you! I’m so happy you like it. I’ve actually linked to the exact form I used. Here it is again, just in case you missed it: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/panettone-papers-set-of-12. Their description says they are 6 inches by 4 1/2 inches tall. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!
Oh, I saw it, but wasn’t sure if you used only one of them and how many Panettones I can make of this ingredients 🙂 Sorry I didn’t ask the right way 🙂
Oh gosh! I’m so sorry- I totally misunderstood. It’s just one loaf! I will go in and edit the recipe to include that. Sorry for the confusion!
I made the panettone 4 times and every time with different filling – dry fruits, chocolate, nuts and every time was perfect! Thanks for sharing again!
You can see how mine looks like here: https://cakeandpancake.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/%D0%BF%D0%B0%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B5-2/
Oh that’s wonderful! Thanks so much for the update! They look absolutely gorgeous, and so tall!