Can you believe Easter is tomorrow? I always find myself racking my brain for something new and exciting to make for my family. Babka comes from the traditions of Eastern Europe where it is customarily eaten on Easter Sunday. Usually baked with dried fruits and spices, I put a unique spin on it with chocolate. The rich dough is beautifully swirled with a chocolate and the perfect touch of cinnamon. I have found out that this sweet bread is good any day of the week, perfect for a Sunday Brunch and sinful when you use it to make French toast! Enjoy!
Easter Chocolate Babka
Yield: 1 loaf
½ cup milk, whole or 2%
1 package yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, room temperature
8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon water
In small pot over low heat, warm milk until 100F. The milk should feel just a touch warmer than your body temperature. Pour milk into small bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Set aside to bloom, about 5 minutes.
In Kitchenaid mixing bowl, add 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, and 1/3 cup sugar. Whisk by hand until combined. Place bowl on mixer with dough hook attachment. Add 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix on speed 1 until combined, increase to speed 3 when flour is combined and mix for 8-10 minutes.
While dough is mixing, gather ingredients for filling. In a medium bowl, add 8 ounces chocolate, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ¼ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for streusel topping. Add ½ cup powdered sugar, ¼ cup all-purpose flour and 4 tablespoons butter. Mix by hand until ingredients are evenly combined and crumbly. Set aside.
When dough has finished mixing, remove dough hook, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size (1-2 hours).
Once dough has doubled, punch it down and turn out onto a well-floured surface. It is very important to use ample flour as this is a very rich and sticky dough. Do not be afraid to add more flour if you need to make the dough more manageable.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg and 1 teaspoon water together with a fork. Get a pastry brush ready to use for the egg wash. Prepare a loaf pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll dough into a 16”x8” rectangle, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with chocolate filling. Roll dough into a loaf and pinch ends together to seal in chocolate filling. Transfer to loaf pan, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with desired amount of streusel. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes.
Bake at 350F for 35 minutes. Lower temperature to 325F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.