OK, readers – pay attention. Because this chocolate strudel is one of the best things I bake. Seriously. I have hemmed and hawed about sharing the recipe with you and finally I decided I am getting older and want my baking legacy to live on.
Every time I serve this strudel, my eaters go a little crazy. I’ve been told more than once that the strudel should be sold in pastry shops. It is rich, chocolatey and it’s hard to imagine anything pairing so well with a cup of coffee or tea. But be warned: you can’t eat a lot of these at one time or you’ll make yourself sick.
As for the origin, my mother used to make this chocolate strudel. She got the recipe from my cousin Donnie’s first wife’s mother, Mrs. Schmuckler. From Minnesota. This isn’t something I could make up. But I do have a recollection of being at Donnie’s wedding when I was probably around 10 or so. So I’ve gotta believe there’s some semblance of reality mixed in.
So, here it is: our world famous chocolate strudel. I changed it up by adding bittersweet chocolate chunks in lieu of semisweet (always a good idea0 and toasting the nuts too.
The dough is finicky in that it crumbles apart – so you’ll have to be persistent. I find that a pastry cloth (not silicone) helps a lot. Also, Mom used to “score” the dough or make shallow slits in the finished strudel rolls before baking this and after the rolls were baked, she would slice them apart with an electric knife–not pushing down or sawing like you would a regular serrated knife.
Makes about 64-70 pieces if you count the ends
- 1 ¼ c salted butter (2 ½ sticks)
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup milk (2%)
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chunks
- 1 can Eagle brand condensed milk
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ¾ c coarsely roasted chopped pecans to top the filling
Mix the dough ingredients using a food processor (I do it there) or a mixer – keep going until everything sticks together. Knead it briefly, divide into four equal parts and pat each quarter into a smooth 4” x 3” rectangle. All four rectangles go into a Tupperware and chill at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
When you are ready to bake, take the dough container out at least 15 minutes before you start rolling. Put out the pastry cloth.
Melt the chocolate, condensed milk, and butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and cool at least five minutes. Have the nuts toasted and cooled in a bowl nearby.
One at a time press one individual rectangle on a well-floured cloth and roll to about 8” x 13”. Be sure it doesn’t stick or you’ll be swearing. I leave the rectangles of dough in the fridge while I work on one roll at a time.
Put a quarter of the filling along the bottom (the long way), about a third of the way down, close to the “lip” of the dough. Spread it evenly over that third and sprinkle with nuts. Lightly press the nuts onto the chocolate and roll tightly using your pastry cloth. Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet with the seam on the bottom and pinch the ends under. Score into 16-18 pieces.
I use two rolls per cook. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When they are slightly golden, carefully slide the parchment and rolls off of the tray. Cut with an electric knife into 16-17 slices, wiping the chocolate off the knife every few cuts.
Cool entirely. These stay at room temperature for five days or freeze for up the three months. Seriously – beyond great.