Chocolate Babka

Since my last post, I visited Haiti where I helped build homes for those who lost them in the earthquake nearly 2 years ago.  I kind of suspected that I’d come back with no good baking recipes to share, and I was right.  We had no desserts, and overall the food left a bit to be desired.  This surprised me a little bit since I really love Dominican food; the similarities ended at rice and beans.  Several times we were fed fish spaghetti, which is basically plain spaghetti noodles with fish juice.  Seeing as I don’t like fish, this was especially delicious.

So, I have no special Haitian recipes to share with you.

For Thanksgiving I was still playing catch-up from Haiti, and both items I prepared were taken from earlier posts – Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake and Pear Cranberry Crisp.  Nothing new this year.

After Thanksgiving, though, I did have some time to bake and decided to try a Chocolate Babka bread that was recently featured in “Cooking Light.”  Apparently babka can mean different things to different people and cultures, but from what I can figure out the type of babka that this recipe creates is a variation on an Eastern European Jewish tradition.  It’s a yeasty bread that has chocolate swirls, so you kind of aren’t sure if it’s a bread for dinner or dessert.  Perfect for a snack though!

Chocolate Babka
source: “Cooking Light”

1 c warm milk (100-110 degrees)
1/2 c sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 c butter, melted
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
3 large eggs
23/6 oz all purpose flour (about 5 1/4 c)

1/3 c sugar
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg white
2 t milk
1/4 c butter, divided
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • Combine first three dough ingredients in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.  Once foamy, add butter, vanilla, salt and eggs.  Stir.
  • Gradually add 22.5 oz flour (about 5 cups) to egg mixture, stirring until combined.
  • On a lightly floured surface, knead for 4 minutes, adding remaining 1/4 c of flour if necessary to prevent dough from sticking.
  • Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling.  Combine 1/2 c sugar and cocoa in a small bowl, stirring well.
  • In another bowl, combine egg white and 2 t milk.
  • Once dough has risen, divide into two equal portions.  (Cover 2nd portion to prevent drying.)  Roll dough into a 12×9″ rectangle.  Melt 1/4 c butter and brush over dough.  Sprinkle evenly with half of the cocoa mixture, leaving 1/4″ border.  Sprinkle with 2 oz of the chopped chocolate.  Drizzle with an additional tablespoon of butter.
  • Brush far edge of dough with milk mixture and loosely roll up, starting with a long edge.  Pinch seam to seal and turn over to make sure the seam is on the bottom and will not be visible.
  • Repeat with 2nd loaf.
  • Place both loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover, and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 325.  Brush loaves with remaining milk mixture.  Optionally, sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until browned.  Cool completely on wire racks.

Serves: 12 pieces per loaf
Calories: 213

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