If you’re looking for that special something to impress your friends or family (perhaps for Easter brunch?), this, my friends, is it. Decadent brioche-like dough is loaded to the brim with chocolate and cinnamon, twisted, and then topped with a delicious cinnamon streusel.
I’ll admit – this recipe is a bit over the top, with over four sticks of butter, a whopping 36 ounces of chocolate, and you’ll need to commit to fairly intensive process to pull these gorgeous loaves out of the oven. But I assure, you, it’s well worth it. I’ll also note that I like a lot of streusel topping; feel free to halve if you prefer less.
Chocolate Babka with Cinnamon Streusel
Yield: three 1lb loaves
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 110F
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packets active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup / 8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup / 6 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/4 lbs (36 oz) semisweet chocolate
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- Pour milk into a small bowl, and sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over milk. Stir to combine, and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and salt. Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Whisk in yeast mixture.
- Add egg mixture to flour mixture, and beat on low speed until combined. Switch to dough hook.
- Add butter one piece at a time, and beat on medium speed until butter is completely incorporated, and dough is soft, smooth, slightly sticky when pinched, and is a bit elastic when you pull on it.
- Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, approximately 1 hour.
- Chop chocolate into reasonably sized pieces, and then whirl in a food processor until chopped fairly fine. If you do not have a food processor, chop finely by hand.
- Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together with two forks or a pastry cutter until well combined and clumpy. Divide evenly into 3 bowls, and set aside.
Prepare Egg Wash
- Whisk together egg and heavy cream. Set aside.
- Stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour in melted butter, and mix until large clumps form. Set aside.
Fill & Shape
- Butter three 1lb loaf pans (8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″) and line with parchment paper – cut two pieces of parchment to fit both ways in the pan, and press into sides to adhere. Cut excess parchment from the top. Butter the parchment.
- When dough has doubled, gently degas, and turn out onto a floured surface. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Divide dough into 3 even pieces. Cover 2 pieces with plastic wrap while you fill and shape the first.
- Place dough on a well-floured surface. Roll out to a 16″ square with a rolling pin (dough should be approximately 1/8″ thick).
- Brush the edges with your prepared egg wash. Spread 1 bowl of filling evenly over the middle of the dough, leaving a 1/4″ border (reserve 2 tablespoons of filling for step 7). If the edges are no longer moist, reapply egg wash.
- Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch the ends closed.
- Twist the filled dough 5 or 6 turns.
- Brush the left half of the roll with egg wash. Sprinkle egg washed section with reserved filling. Fold the right half of the roll over the left half, and twist once or twice.
- Fit into prepared pan.
- Repeat process with remaining dough.
- Brush tops of loaves with egg wash. Sprinkle 1/3 of streusel over each loaf.
- Loosely cover each loaf with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake loaves on the center rack for approximately 55 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the loaves are golden brown.
- Lower the temperature to 325F, and bake until the babkas are a deep golden brown, 15-20 minutes more.
- Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks to cool. Let stand for at least 15 minutes, and then turn out of pans. Cool completely before cutting (it will be hard, but it’s worth the wait – the filling needs time to set), and serve!
Babkas can be prepared through step #8 in “Fill & Shape”, and frozen for up to one month before baking. To bake, remove dough from freezer, fit into prepared loaf pan, and let sit at room temperature for 5 hours. Apply egg wash and add streusel, and bake as directed.
Babkas can also be baked, and then frozen for up to 1 month.