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.