This classic recipe for one of my favorite holiday treats, Italian Panettone comes from Martha Stewart's holiday recipe collections. I have tweaked her version to follow the Italian recipes I was taught by my famiglia in Italy and here at home. —cucina di mammina
paper baking rounds (5 1/4? x 3 3/4?) or 2 metal coffee cans (if desired)
In your large mixer bowl, add the warm milk and sprinkle the dry yeast over the top (do NOT mix); let this stand until foamy, approximately 5 minutes or so.
Sprinkle 2 ounces of flour (about 1/2 cup) and 1 tbsp of granulated sugar over the top. Cover with plastic and let rest for 1 hour.
Take the foamy yeast mixture bowl and add the remaining 12 ounces of flour (about 2 1/2 cups) and the remaining sugar (about 3 tablespoons or more), the beaten eggs and the salt.
Mix this well until combined and dough forms a stiff ball of dough.
Slowly (1 tablespoon at a time) add the butter and mix with each addition until well combined.
Switch to a paddle attachment and mix the dough on high speed for about 5 minutes or so until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add the rum or cognac, candied orange peel and the chopped chocolate if desired.
Mix this on medium speed until all liquid is blended and all the dough is well combined.
Turn dough out onto a clean lightly floured surface and form mixture into a ball. Transfer to an oiled large bowl, cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Bring dough to room temperature in the morning and divide in half. Form each half into a ball and place each dough ball into a 5 1/4? x 3 3/4? paper panettone mold or metal coffee can (my photos were taken when I mixed up a double batch of these lovely cakes.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the 1 egg and the 2-3 tbsps of cocoa powder and beat well until fully combined and no lumps appear.
Brush this glaze mixture liberally over the top of each molded dough and then sprinkle heavily with the turbinado or pearl sugar to cover the tops.
Bake until golden brown in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let cool.
Once the cakes are cooled, sprinkle the top of one cake with powdered sugar (if desired) or store for future use in well-sealed plastic bags. These cakes freeze well for future use (within a month or so of baking.)
I like to store them as is and then when ready to serve cut them into slices and sprinkle powdered sugar over the sides and tops of the slices. Truly wonderful with espresso and cordials after dinner or for a sweet treat at breakfast.