Because I can, that's why... (Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Panettone)

I think by now we've established that I {heart} making bread.

It's an addiction that I indulge in at all hours. Yes, even at 6:34 on a Saturday morning....

The early bird gets the... or is it the early baker gets the early bird's eggs???


Now, I know that panettone has a reputation for being a bit difficult. And for needing...gasp...special equipment.

But I am here to tell you that you can make a pretty good approximation using an overnight starter, the ol' "dump and mix" method and some "back-woods" baking dishes.

Now, I know everyone is going to be jealous of my high-end baking pans...

Are you ready? I am going to let you in on one of my secrets.

I used aluminum coffee cans.

My dad saves them for me and every so often, I get a delivery. 

And let me tell you, these things are like gold.

I have a can opener that takes the whole top off the can (It was an investment that was made after a VERY ugly kitchen incident involving the lid off a soup can - I won't go into details, but it involved a trip to the emergency room and surgery. Needless to say, I haven't used an old-style can opener since).

Lidless cans are a beautiful thing. And do you know what else is a beautiful thing? If the bread sticks to the bottom of the can, I just remove the bottom and slide it out. Even more beautiful - I don't have to wash the cans when I am done (unless I am recylcling - which I try to do, but not always...)

So now, my secret is out. Hopefully, I didn't scare anyone too much...

On to the bread... Now, I know this isn't an official "panettone" - the flavors aren't exactly traditional. But, it's good. Really good. And worth the effort...

Any time you have chocolate, cherries and almonds in a room together, it's all good. This is a King Arthur Flour recipe - I mostly followed it as written (only a couple of minor adjustments). No one does bread like KAF.

This loaf is really good with a little bit of butter and lightly toasted in a frying pan or you could...well, you'll just have to wait and see...
Don't be jealous of my high end bread pans...
See, they have pretty ridges :-)

Chocolate Cherry Pannetone

Over night Starter:
4 ¼ ounces unbleached A-P flour (I cup)
Pinch instant yeast
4 oz cool/ room temperature water (1/2 cup)

All of the overnight starter
3 ounces (3/4 stick; 6 Tbs) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 ounces slightly warm water (1/4 cup)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ½ ounces unbleached A-P flour (2 cups)
1 ½ ounces potato flour (1/4 cup)
1 ¼ ounces sugar (white) (3 Tbs)
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp instant yeast
4 ¾ ounces dried cherries, chopped (1 cup)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
4 ¾ cups toasted almonds, roughly chopped (1 cup)

Raw sugar for sprinkling on top of loaves (optional)


Combine starter ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, cover and allow to rest overnight – time is on your side, so a cool room temperature is okay here.

The next day, combine all of the starter with remaining ingredients (except for the chocolate, nuts and cherries). Use the mixer attatchment to form a shaggy dough – switch to the dough hook once dough begins to hold together and knead until smooth and shiny (~5 minutes). Near the very end of kneading time, add in the nuts, cherries and chocolate – work them in until they are mostly incorporated.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours – dough won’t necessarily double. You are looking for a really puffy dough.

Now if you have panettone pans or papers. Awesome – this needs a tall sided pan that can hold 1 ½ to 2 quarts. Since this is the one pan I don’t seem to have, I went all out – high class and used 2 one-pound aluminum coffee cans (labels removed, rinsed clean and top removed). A single two-pound can would also work well. Whatever container you are using, grease it (I like Crisco for ease of removing dough from my high end bakeware…).

Gently deflate the dough. Divide it in to the appropriate number to match the number of containers you are using (in this case, I divided in half because I used 2 one-pound containers). Form dough into ball(s) and place into greased containers. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise another 1 ½ to 2 hours – again, dough may not totally double in size, but should be very puffy (depending on your pan height, dough will probably crest over the top).

Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350F – make sure your rack is in the lower part of the oven (you don’t want to clean burnt bread off the top of your oven. Trust me). Lightly coat top of loaves with water, sprinkle raw sugar on top.

If I am using aluminum cans, I like to place them on a baking sheet to keep the bottoms from over-baking. Place cans/ pans in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes (depending on size breads) – until golden on top and internal temperature of bread is ~190F. (If you are making mini-loaves, start checking them at ~35 minutes).

When done remove bread from oven and place pans (cans) on a cooling rack. Wait ten minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the loaf to loosen and then turn loaves directly on rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before cutting.

P.S. If by some weird chance you let this bread go stale, it makes REALLY good bread pudding…


  1. This looks absolutely delicious and what a genius idea to use those coffee cans! Love the chocolate. cherry, and almond combo. I adore panettone, my mom always buys one (an Italian import one) for Christmas and I've loved it for many years. This year I thought I would venture into making my own since I love bread baking, I even bought some paper panettone wrappers/baking cups but never got around to using them. I put them on a shelf and was planning on waiting until the next holiday season to try them out but seeing your post reminds me panettone can be an "anytime food" :)

  2. I cannot believe you are doing two weekly cooking groups plus recreational baking on the side! I salute you and your alarm clock! Your can opener accident had me totally cringing, as I'm still not over my avocado incident from last summer. [Cringe!] I love the tall and proud pannetone - such a pretty loaf with its super mod ridges. :)

  3. Wow, another gorgeous bread!!!

  4. I like the indentations from baking in cans. Very rustic!

  5. Cher! This bread looks amazing! I heart King Arthur, too. This recipe (and nearly any recipe they have out there) is on my "must make" list now! Just added LARGE coffee to my grocery list!

  6. I am so jealous! I love anything chocolate and cherry, and your loaves are absolutely beautiful. I'm going to have to start searching for aluminum coffee cans...

  7. Chocolate and cherry? What's not to love? Your pannetone looks great!

  8. My mom's been after me to bake pannetone. I may have to try this soon. It looks great!

  9. That panettone looks fantastic. I love the idea of the coffee can baking. Great idea.
    I use leftover panettone for bread pudding with crushed pineapple, works well.
    Reading all these blogs, I realize I forgot to use the salt. Oh well, I thought it was
    still delicious.

  10. Love those bread pans, how creative! This bread looks delicious.


Hi - Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you!

Due to the high number of weirdo SPAM comments I have been receiving, I have turned comment moderation back on for the time being... Comments may show a slight delay.