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.
- 3/4 cup warm Rice Dream or your favorite pareve milk substitute
- 1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (or two 1/4-oz packages)
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
- 2 whole large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) Earth Balance, or your favorite pareve butter substitute, cut into pieces and softened
- 5 tablespoons softened Earth Balance
- 2 bars bittersweet chocolate, shaved
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Rice Dream
- 3 tablespoons of cold Earth Balance, cubed.
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
To make the dough:
- First mix the milk with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until it foams.
- Combine 1/2 cup of flour to the yeast in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat at medium speed until combined.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in the remaining 2 3/4 cups of flour.
- Increase speed to medium and beat in Earth Balance, a few pieces at a time. Let it beat until the dough is shiny and stringy, about 4 minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled.
Assemble the babkas, part 1:
- Grease and flour two loaf pans, or line them with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough and cut it in half.
- Roll out one half onto a floured surface, and roll it out into a 10 x 18-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you.
- Spread 2 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance all over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
- Make the egg wash: beat together the egg and the Rice Dream. Brush it on the long border nearest to you.
- Sprinkle half of the chocolate (1 bar) over the buttered dough.
- Sprinkle half of the sugar (2 tablespoons) on top.
Assemble the babkas, part 2:
- Starting from the long side farthest from you, roll the dough into a tight log. Make sure to pinch the edges to seal.
- Bring the ends of the log together to form a circle. Pinch to seal.
- Twist the circle twice to form a double figure-8.
- Fit into a pan.
- Repeat to make 2 loaves.
- Cover both pans loosely with greased plastic wrap.
- Let rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough reaches the top of the pan. You can also let them rise in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours, but make sure to bring to room temperature for 3-4 hours before baking.
To make the topping:
- Use your fingers to mix all of the ingredients together. Lightly press the streusel onto the top of the babka.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
There’s always room for babka dessert after Shabbat dinner – and the leftovers make a great breakfast on Saturday.
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