This recipe came to me from my former Sunday School student, Vanessa Thompson. She got it from her friend, Renee Reinhardt. It is fabulous. I intend to make smaller loaves to use as Christmas gifts for my neighbors this year.
Combine warm water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of white sugar from the 1/2 cup in the ingredients. Stir together and let it yeast bubble up for about 5-10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, place the egg, butter, flour, remaining white sugar and salt, add activated yeast mixture and using a dough hook combine until the dough comes together and is slightly smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, try not to add much additional flour if possible. The dough should be quite sticky.
Place dough in a well-greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
At this point, the dough can be divided into either 3 or 6 equal parts depending on if you want to make one large loaf as pictured or two smaller loaves. Directions will proceed as if making one large loaf.
Take the 3 piece of dough and stretch and roll them until you have 3 equal lengths of dough. Flatten each rope out until a few inches wide and a little over a foot in length.
Sprinkle chocolate chips down the center of each strip of dough and then bring the sides and ends of the dough up and over the chips and seal them inside until you have three round strips of dough with chocolate chips in the center. I used dark chocolate chips but the original recipe call for a combination of regular and white chocolate chips.
Now braid the strips together to make a challah-like loaf. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle with the crystal sugar. I baked it on parchment sprayed with Pam on a stone jelly roll pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour or a little more. If you can, wait for it to cool a little before slicing. I couldn't wait.