When you move to Israel, you are constantly astounded at how different it is from the States. Everything, and I mean everything, is different from the size of paper, the fact that you pay for your medical insurance in the post office, and that chocolate is a type of sandwich not a bar.
I can't tell you how or why, but I can most definitely tell you that chocolate sandwiches are not only an option but the option of choice when it comes to sandwiches. When I first arrived here, I found the concept of putting chocolate in between two pieces of bread bizarre and now that I am here for a number of years; I still find it to be incredibly weird.
For me chocolate spread was like coconut macaroons, it only existed on Passover. Seeing it sold here all year round and in great bulk is somewhat entertaining. So entertaining that my friend once called it chocolate fondue without a fire, which if you tried it, is no stretch of the imagination.
Honestly, the fondue angle works for me. Chocolate is meant to be a dessert, not a sandwich. When I say this to Israelis, they say that chocolate sandwiches area to Israelis what peanut butter sandwiches are to Americans: purely delightful and sugar filled 'witchcraft.'
July is the beginning of summer camp season in Israel. School is finally over and the heat is at it's peak and the season of excitement has just began. Every morning I see kids with bright colored t-shirts and hats with not so clever word play printed across the front.
You might be asking what does summer camp have to do with chocolate sandwiches; well, the answer is everything. Today, and probably every day of the summer, the kids of Israel will be eating the well balanced lunch of a chocolate sandwich with 'choco' or chocolate milk at their day camps.
Chocolate sandwiches aren't Israel's summer food, but the meal of choice for anyone under 12 all year round. So this recipe takes the national sandwich and gives it a new spin or swirl. Instead of spreading chocolate spread on slices of fully baked bread and calling it a day; it creates a loaf of warm fresh bread baked with gooey delicious chocolate filling. In fact, only when you cut into the loaf of bread do you realize that it's not your usual loaf of plain old white bread but a revolutionary version of everyone's favorite summer camp snack.
This recipe uses the same technique as babka. If you've never made a babka don't worry, it's not nearly as complicated as you think. It's basically like shaping a deli roll but you pinch the edges together. The bread wash technique comes from the baking of soft pretzels and will give you bread a nice crunch and gleam.
When you cut into the loaf, you will see these tantalizing chocolate swirls which create a fun and delicious dessert. Slice and serve this bread fresh out of the oven to be able to really appreciate the rich chocolate layers. If the impossible happens, and there are any leftovers, I recommend reheating them in the oven; but this dessert bread is delicious at room temperature too!