Swirled Blackberry and Marzipan Challah

I’m a big fan of rainy days. 

That strange “spring-winter” we had for a few weeks was 100% cool with me. Cozy rainy days instead of ice and snow? I was sold. (OK, so maybe I am a little happy with the snow we have now, it is Vermont after all).

BUT, that’s besides the point. Those 60 degree weeks were a beautiful way to ignore the impending winter. 

The inherent coziness of gray rainy days lends itself extremely well to baking. The kitchen seems that much more inviting as raindrops stain the windows and heat from the oven creates a soft haze across the panes of glass.

C’mon, it’s basically begging us to throw together some yeast, sugar and flour. 

Yes, I realize I just posted a challah recipe but is too much really a bad thing?? This bread is unreal and pretty in a rustic and messy way. It’s also deceptively simple so that you can be eating it in less than 4 hours (you’re welcome).

Marzipan and challah have long been a favorite of mine and the sweet cooked blackberries and vanilla bean paste put it over the edge. Really any berry could be used, I just happened to love the vivid color these gave.

Browned butter in the dough also adds another toasty depth of flavor that marries too well with the just-sweet-enough filling.


Swirled Blackberry and Marzipan Challah 

Makes 1 loaf

For the dough: (adapted from here)

0.75 cup warm water

1 tablespoon dry yeast

0.25 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

3 cups all purpose flour + more for kneading/rolling

1 teaspoon salt

0.25 teaspoon cardamom

0.33 cup butter, browned

3 eggs

0.5 teaspoon vanilla bean paste


For the filling: (Adapted from here)

7 ounces marzipan

4 tablespoons softened butter

0.25 cup sugar

0.5 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

3 tablespoons blackberry puree, seeds removed

  1. Make the dough: Combine water, yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. Let sit for a few minutes until the surface bubbles. Whisk together flour, salt and cardamom in a large bowl.
  2. In another bowl beat together 2 eggs, browned butter and vanilla bean paste.
  3. Once bubbly, add yeast to dry ingredients, immediately followed by egg mixture. As dough comes together, move to a lightly floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes, until it’s completely smooth. 
  4. Place in a lightly greased bowl covered with a clean cloth and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  5. Make filling: Combine all filling ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until completely mixed. 
  6. Once dough has risen, punch down and roll out on a floured counter into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle. Spread filling evenly across the dough, making sure to cover the edges.
  7. Roll dough from long side, making sure to leave no gaps. Slice the roll lengthwise, creating two even trips. Pinch together at the top and twirl them together like a two-piece braid, keeping seams facing up. Place in a well greased and parchment-lined loaf pan and set aside to rise for 30 minutes. 
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Brush with additional egg and bake for 20 minutes and then cover with foil and bake for another  

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with! This bread would be super pretty in a three-part braid or even one classic swirled loaf. If you try it, take a picture and tag me. I'm here on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook