I didn’t grow up baking or even eating babka. Coffee cake, definitely. Banana bread was a staple. But babka just wasn’t something around. When I did finally taste babka as a teenager, I thought: “Where have you been all my life?” Chocolatey, chewy and slightly gooey—it was a perfect Shabbat morning breakfast treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
Recently I’ve been itching to recreate babka at home. I mean, I bake challah every week. Why shouldn’t I tackle babka? But it was harder than I thought. I tried the recipe from Jerusalem. And it was great. But not quite what I was hoping to create.
My recipe is really a combination of Orly’s genius idea to stuff a babka with nutella, Ba-li’s tried-and-true dough which I have updated only slightly and a technique from Jerusalem that ensures that ooey gooey babka taste and texture we all crave.
This recipe is easily pareve-erized. (Yes, you can make this nondairy.) You can either buy a nondairy hazelnut spread or you can also make your own using a recipe like this one.
It’s perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea of coffee. Or, if you’re like my daughter, you’ll just dig right in.
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4 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
½ cup milk or almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella
2/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Place yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add lukewarm water and set aside until foamy, around 5-10 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix together flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter (or margarine) and milk (or almond milk).
Put mixer on low and begin adding the water yeast mixture, then the butter-milk mixture. Add the eggs one at a time.
When the dough begins to come together, after about 3-5 minutes, raise the speed to high and mix for another 5-10 minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic.
Place dough in a greased bowl with a damp towel on top. Allow to rise until it has doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut dough into three equal parts. Roll out dough until it is a rectangular-like shape. Spread with chocolate-hazelnut spread. Working from the longest side, roll up dough using quick fingers, like you would in order to make cinnamon rolls.
Once the dough is a long log, cut it straight down the middle so the filling is exposed. Secure the ends on one side, and twist both the pieces . Pinch and secure at the other end.
Place in a greased loaf pan.
Bake for 35 minutes.
While the babka is baking, combine 2/3 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and swirl around to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.
About 20-25 minutes into baking, spoon about half the syrup onto the baking babkas.
When you take the babkas out of the oven after they have baked completely, immediately drizzle or brush the remaining syrup on top of all three babkas. It may seem like a lot of syrup, but this ensures a moist and gooey babka.