Cinnamon-Chocolate “Babkallah”

A couple weeks ago I found this interesting recipe at bon appétit, which combines two traditional Jewish breads, challah, and babka. Immediately, I drooled at the thought of braiding chocolate and cinnamon filled rolls of dough, baking them until the outside was crispy and the inside dripped with chocolate, and dipping them into coffee, slice by slice. However, I realized that this recipe requires about 4 hours of allowing the dough to rise, so I took naps to fill the time, and dusted the finished babka with powdered sugar around 4:30 a.m.

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Ingredients

Dough

  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1” ¼ – oz. envelope active dry yeast
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more

Filling and Assembly

  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
  • Powdered sugar (for post baking dusting)

Preparation

Dough

  1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast; let sit until foamy, 5–10 minutes.
  2. Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and ½ cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour; mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5–10 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2½ hours.

Filling and Assembly

  1. Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12”-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12×6” rectangle about ⅛” thick.
  3. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.
  4. Place logs, seam side down, side-by-side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1–2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  6. Bake until top is golden brown and “Babkallah” sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35–45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Dust a small amount of powdered sugar over the top of the finished babka.

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After finishing the babkallah early in the morning, four of us woke up to fresh slices of this delicious bread, which we savored by dipping it in coffee. While it may seem obvious, the babkallah did not last very long, as I gobbled up the last slice the following morning with my morning cup of coffee.

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