2 3/4-3 1/4 cups all-purpose Flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter or Margarine
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon kirsch or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup dried Cherries
1/4 cup miniature semisweet Chocolate pieces
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon kirsch or almond extract
2-3 teaspoons milk
2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts
1.In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 cup of the Flour, the Cocoa powder, and yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir the Milk, Sugar, Butter or Margarine, and Salt till mixture is warm (120° to 130°) and butter or Margarine is almost melted. Add to Flour mixture. Add egg and 1 tablespoon kirsch or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in Cherries, Chocolate pieces, and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
2.Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 2 hours).
3.Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Grease 2 large baking sheets. Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 12-inch-long rope. Place 2 ropes, side by side, on the prepared baking sheet. Twist together; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place till nearly double (about 1 hour). Brush with additional milk. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 35 minutes, or till bread is a rich brown color and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.
4.For icing, in a small mixing bowl stir together sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kirsch or almond extract, and enough Milk to make a smooth icing of drizzling consistency. Drizzle cooled loaves with glaze; sprinkle with walnuts.