• In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup water, the butter and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Heat over low heat just until butter is melted. Cool to warm room temp, 110° F to 115° F. Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over butter mixture. Let stand 5 minutes, or until yeast is very foamy.

  • Whisk in eggs, 4 tablespoons of the remaining sugar, 1 cup of the flour and the salt until smooth. Whisk in another cup flour, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the remaining flour. Knead in as much of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as possible to make a smooth dough. Knead 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/4 hours.

  • Punch down dough; let rest 10 minutes. Filling. In small saucepan, combine almond paste, chocolate chips and heavy cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring to break up large chunks. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Let cool slightly.

  • Roll dough into two 14 x 10-inch rectangles. Divide Filling between dough rectangles, spreading out to within 1 inch of each edge. Starting on a long side, roll up one rectangle to enclose filling. Pinch all seams tightly to close, and tuck ends under; roll should be about 12 inches long. Repeat with second dough rectangle and remaining filling. Place loaves, seam-side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife, make slashes across dough. Cover with plastic and let rise on countertop for 45 minutes.

  • Heat oven to 375° F. Sprinkle loaves with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until browned. Let cool on pan for 15 minutes, then slice on the diagonal and serve slightly warm.

Nutrition Facts

180 calories; 7 g total fat; 26 mg cholesterol; 33 mg sodium. 26 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein;