Upon learning of my quest to cook every country on Earth, a friend of mine sent me a recipe for Romanian Chocolate-Walnut Bread. She's from Pennsylvania, but she dated a Romanian for three and a half years, which is a lot closer to Romania than I've ever been.
This is a beautiful quick-bread: spongy, soft and sweet, with a delicate crunch of walnuts and a decorative band of chocolate.
Chec cu Nuca si Cacao
Makes 2 loaves
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 lemon zest
5 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans.
Cream the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Add the milk, lemon zest, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and walnuts. Mix this with the wet ingredients. Pour about 1/2 of the batter into a new bowl and mix in the cocoa. (Add a bit of milk if it's too thick).
Into each loaf pan, pour a layer of the white batter, making sure to leave some batter for the top. Then pour in a layer of the chocolate batter, and top each with the last of the white batter.
Bake about 1 hour, until a stick comes out clean.
Let the loaves cool and dust with powdered sugar.