by Heather Harris Brady
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you haven’t had chocolate babka you haven’t truly lived. It’s a gamechanger, even if you’re not addicted to chocolate croissants like I am.
This recipe is my adaptation from Smitten Kitchen’s Better Chocolate Babka, which she adapted from the Chocolate Krantz Cakes in Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I’ve replaced the sugar brushing syrup with some streusel and turned it into an afternoon project. If you start the dough at lunch you’ll have warm chocolate babka by teatime.
Chocolate Babka, Makes two loaves
4 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 t. instant/fast-rising yeast
Two large eggs
1/4 c. water combined with 1/2 c. milk
3/4 t. salt
3 T. butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. mini chocolate chips
4 T. unsalted butter, cold is fine
Scant 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, and yeast in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add eggs and milk/water, mix 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. With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the butter, a slice at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough. Then, mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is completely smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Make filling: Melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste.
Punch the dough down and divide it in half.
Roll it out to about 11 x 17.
Spread it with half the chocolate mixture.
Then, following the same technique as Russian braids, slice it down the middle. (You can put it the roll in the freezer for 10 minutes to make this easier if you want.)
Twist the two slices together and lay them in a greased loaf pan. Repeat for the second loaf.
Sprinkle with streusel if you like. Let rise again until doubled.
Bake for about 35 minutes, done loaves will sound hollow when tapped.
Rest them for about five minutes, then run a knife around the pan and turn the loaves out. Finish cooling on a rack.
Cooled loaves may be eaten on the spot or wrapped and kept at room temperature for up to two days. Freeze for longer storage.