Chocolate Babka

I’ve had my eye on this chocolate babka recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a while– it has so many elements I love in a baked good: a chocolate swirl, a fancy layered inside, and a burnished, sugary outside. When I accidentally seized some chocolate while melting it the other day, I knew I had the perfect excuse to break out the yeast and make some babka! (Yes, I could’ve made brownies like the praline cheesecake ones I made the last time I had seized chocolate, but where’s the fun in that?)

I’m not going to go through the entire recipe here– Deb does a great job on her own page, and besides I didn’t take many photos of the process. But here are my own notes on the recipe:

  • I let my dough rise on the counter for three hours, rather than overnight in the fridge– since it was significantly warmer on the counter, I got a decent rise out of the dough, which was nice to see. I also followed her instructions about chilling the dough before trying to roll it out, and the chilled dough really did roll out like a dream– no sticking, no cracking, just perfect.
  • While the filling does start off pretty soupy when you first mix it, I let mine rest on the counter at room temperature for about an hour (not on purpose, it was just a timing error), and it firmed up nicely. If it gets too firm you can always give it a few seconds in the microwave and it’ll soften up a bit.
  • Once filled, rolled, cut, and twisted, I expected my dough to rise in the pan during the 90 minutes it sat on the counter. It did not– possibly because it was still kind of cold from being chilled prior to slicing. And while I did get some oven spring, it wasn’t a huge amount, so keep that in mind when you’re filling your loaf pans.

Cinnamon Babka

** Note to all my readers: Just wanted to thank you all for keeping up with my posts! We reached the 5,000-view point last week, and just hit the 2,500 visitors mark this weekend! I’m thrilled that so many people seem to be enjoying the blog, and I can’t wait to share more projects with you! **

cin babka loaf

I’ll say right now that this cinnamon babka was something I made to bring to my great-aunt for her 90th birthday, so I have very few photos of the inside– it’s not like you can demand that the recipient slice into the loaf right away so you can get a picture for your blog. She did cut one slice which she shared with me, and it was delicious, so I feel comfortable posting about this recipe despite the lack of good pictures.

Anyway, cinnamon babka. I grew up eating a butter-enriched sweet loaf swirled with cinnamon for holidays, so cinnamon bread was always something I enjoyed. But this recipe, adapted from Cook’s Country, stands head and shoulders above that one (sorry, Dad). It’s soft and moist, and the cinnamon-sugar filling is thick and gooey, yet holds its shape in a way that I have to attribute to the flour and egg white– brilliant additions to the standard sugar-butter-cinnamon filling mixture.

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