A couple of weeks ago I had some store-bought chocolate babka. It was delicious, and I was inspired to try it out with my sister as our next experiment.
Later on, we were scouring the internet and cookbooks for recipes.
We couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for, so we mixed and matched a few recipes to come up with what we hoped was the best chocolate babka ever.
It took a long time, but it was worth it!
Everyone likes cinnamon buns, and I usually make Alton Brown’s recipe. They’re a hit at every gathering. They have a pretty classic flavor with a cream cheese icing on top. When I saw that The Art and Soul of Baking had a maple syrup topping, I knew I had to give this alternative a try.
One thing you need to make sure to do is manage your time right. This dough takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. It is moist and buttery, much better than the bread-like versions I’ve tasted. I made the dough on Tuesday morning and refrigerated it until Tuesday evening. On Tuesday evening I made the topping and filling, shaped the rolls, proofed and refrigerated. I woke up somewhat early and baked the buns on Wednesday morning and served hot, fresh sticky buns to my happy colleagues.
Ever since I saw Ina Garten going to the bakery and buying six croissants for a breakfast party (why she needed so many for so few people at her breakfast party I have no idea) I wondered how hard they would be to make. I googled “croissant recipes,” but really got no good instructions. Everyone I mentioned making croissants to told me I was crazy, just buy them. Instead, I bought a cookbook that happened to have really good instructions for folded pastry dough.
We planned to bake these on a day when we had lots of time, a fast day. We stayed up all night doing the first three turns and then shaped, proofed, and baked them the next day. It was hard to do this without just tasting the dough, but we had a delicious meal to break the fast with. We froze the leftovers and had them for Saturday lunch.
In the end we had 24 croissants. They weren’t giant like bakery croissants, but they were definitely delicious.