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January 16, 2017

For Christmas I wanted to make a little different dessert.  I saw these babkas pop up on two different blogs and gave it a go.  It involves making a brioche style dough (similar to these amazing waffles), making a chocolate filling, and doing some fancy dough twisting. Brioche is a rich yeast dough made with butter and eggs which is not sweet to start with so it can be used on a sweet or savory dish.

This took a LONG time to make; we are talking about 24 hours.  I made it a day ahead of time which meant it was dry when we went to eat it.  It could be I left it in the oven too long, I was pretty afraid of the dough not being thoroughly cook.  We had leftovers the following day and warmed it up in the microwave and it was a thousands time better.  The dough was softer and the chocolate filling was warm.  I’d recommend warming it the oven at 300 deg F for 15 minutes prior to eating if it did not just come out of the oven.  Next time I may try this comparable NYT recipe here for at least the filling.

I also added the extra chocolate streusel crumble on top.  Probably not necessary and takes away a bit from the prettiness.

Difficulty: Hard
Prep Time: 1 hr 30 min
Cook Time:
Chill Time: 12 hours
Total Time: 24 hours
Yield: 2 loaf
Taste: GREAT if warm


4 1/4 cups (530 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast (instant or rapid rise type yeast is important)
Grated zest of 1 small lemon or half an orange (preferred)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water (cold is fine) and up to 1 to 2 tablespoons extra, if needed
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams or 5.3 ounces) at room temperature
Sunflower or other neutral oil, for greasing

Chocolate Filling
4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) dark chocolate (or approximately 3/4 cup chocolate chips)
1/2 cup (120 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
Scant 1/2 cup (50 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon [optional]

Chocolate Streusel
½ cup (60 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (45 grams) granulated sugar
1 ½ tablespoons (11 grams) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 ½ tablespoons (64 grams) unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup (60 grams) mini semisweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup water
6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar


Make the dough

1) Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer.

2) Add eggs and 1/2 cup water, mixing with the dough hook until it comes together; this may take a couple minutes. It’s okay if it’s on the dry side, but if it doesn’t come together at all, add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a mass.

3) With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the butter, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough.

4) Then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is completely smooth; you’ll need to scrape the bowl down a few times. After 10 minutes, the dough should began to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it doesn’t, you can add 1 tablespoon extra flour to help this along.

5) Coat a large bowl with oil/grease (or scrape the dough out onto a counter and oil it) and place dough inside, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Leave in fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight. Dough will not fully double.

Make the Filling

6) Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste. Add cinnamon, if desired.

Assemble Loaves

7) Coat two 9-by-4-inch (2 1/4 or 1kg) loaf pans with oil or butter, and line the bottom of each with a rectangle of parchment paper. Take half of dough from fridge (leave the other half chilled). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch x 10-inch sheet.

8) Spread half of chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight cigar starting with the near side. Seal the dampened end onto the log.

9) Transfer the log to a lightly floured baking tray in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.  This makes it much easier to cut cleanly in half. Repeat with second dough.

10) Trim last 1/2-inch off each end of log. Gently cut the log in half lenghtwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Lift one side over the next, forming a twist and trying to keep the cut sides facing up (for looks). Don’t worry if this step makes a mess, just transfer the twist as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan. The log should be long enough to “S” inside the pan and nest the trimmed ends of the log in the openings. Even if you don’t the dough will fill in any gaps by the time it’s done rising and baking, so don’t worry.

11) Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise another 1 to 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Repeat process with second loaf.

Make Streusel:

12) In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Stir in melted butter until it is evenly distributed and forms large, moist crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Streusel can be prepared up to 3 days ahead and stored, covered, in the fridge.


13) Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove towels, place streusel crumble on top of loaves.  Place each loaf on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 30 minutes, but there’s no harm in checking for doneness at 25 minutes. A skewer inserted into an underbaked babka will feel stretchy/rubbery inside and may come back with dough on it. When fully baked, you’ll feel almost no resistance. If you babka needs more time, put it back, 5 minutes at a time then re-test. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.

Make Syrup

14) While babkas are baking, make syrup: Bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool somewhat. As soon as the babkas leave the oven, brush the syrup all over each. It will seem like too much, but will taste just right — glossy and moist.

15) Let cool about halfway in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool.  I’d suggest eating it warm!

Source: Smitten Kitchen


From → Bread, Dessert

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