Best Ever Chocolate Babka, combines a light and tender homemade brioche dough, with a rich and scrumptious filling made of dark chocolate, butter, cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon. Finished off with a brushing of simple syrup, you would want to eat it slightly warm for a sensorial experience you’ll never forget!
Song of the day: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics.
I hardly say things like “the best ever” associated with my baked goods, mostly due to my deep insecurity and being very hard on myself all the time So, if I’m here saying that this chocolate babka is the best ever, you might as well believe me.
What makes me say that, is the fact that I put together two of my trusted recipes, and for trusted I mean repeatedly tried and true, plus the fact that they come from two outstanding sources.
The brioche dough is from the Duchess cookbook, and after trying their brioches in multiple forms, and attending their class on brioche dough, I’ve been playing with it quite a lot, enjoying myself and providing our family with the best brioches ever. For the filling, I relied on Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen, whose recipes have never disappointed me. She herself, adjusted her recipe from none other than Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Krantz Cakes, and I completely trust her on that. I am pretty sure her recipe for the dough is quite good as well, but I wouldn’t change my brioche dough (errr, I mean Duchess brioche dough, lol) with anything.
To get your hands on this Best Ever Chocolate Babka, you will need two days, anyway, it will be worth every minute you spend making it. Unfortunately, to obtain a great brioche dough, you need some time as it needs to rest overnight in the refrigerator, plus, after you’ve shaped whatever you’re making with it, classic brioche, brioche muffins, babka, brioche Pépin, it needs a second rising before being baked.
So let’s pretend you have the dough ready, and for all the tips go back to this post.
I usually use only half of the dough to make this babka and leave half in the freezer for later use. I don’t mind my babka being on the shorter side, but I have to say, if you like a fuller and taller babka, use the whole batch of dough.
Follow the recipe on how to roll it into a rectangle and how to make the filling. It is quite easy. Spread the chocolate filling on the dough and roll into a log. It can get quite messy, especially if the chocolate spread is still warm and a bit runny, and while you roll it, it seems it wants to escape everywhere. I let it cool down and after the log was done, I followed her suggestions to put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes; it definitely helps to cut it in a cleaner way.
Hope the pictures are helpful and if you made it down to here, you really want to make this Best Ever Chocolate Babka happen. You won’t regret it.
Cut the log in half, twist, or braid, the two sides keeping the cut sides facing out, and gently place the twist in the loaf pan where it needs to rise for 1 and half hours, covered with a damp towel. It will look like this after the resting time, puffed up and ready for the oven. I was salivating, by then, imagining how it would be when baked…
The Best Ever Chocolate Babka is finally out of the oven and your kitchen smells like a fancy bakery. In the meantime, you have made the simple syrup (water and sugar) and are ready to brush it on the warm babka. It gets all glossy and screams “eat me, eat me!”. Pretty soon, let it cool just a little, and then you can cut into it.
Cold is still fantastic, but slightly warm this Best Ever Chocolate Babka is a sensorial experience you’ll never forget. If you are a chocolate lover like me, you can understand. All your senses are engaged: visually it is stunning, then you break the slice with your hands to bring it to your mouth and it smells amazing of cocoa, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and chocolate. Your taste buds are singing “Hallelujah” and your fingers are stained with chocolate, as well as your mouth. No judging here, for licking your fingers. The brioche is light, tender, and buttery, and the filling is rich, scrumptious, and oh so good, and it melted in every crevice of the braid. The syrup makes it moist and deliciously just-right sweet.
Needless to say, I’ve made it already a few times, for our breakfast/dessert and to bring it to a girls’ night. Very much appreciated on every occasion.
Hope you’ll make it and let me know if you dream about it after you’ve had it once. I do. My dreams taste like chocolate, sometimes…
Song of the day: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics.Print
Best Ever Chocolate Babka, combines light and tender homemade brioche dough, with a rich and scrumptious filling made of dark chocolate, butter, cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon. Finished off with a brushing of simple syrup, you would want to eat it slightly warm for a sensorial experience you’ll never forget!
For the brioche (recipe from the Duchess cookbook):
- 13 g (1 Tbsp) fresh yeast, crumbled (or 6.5 g dried yeast)
- 30 g (2 Tbsp) whole milk, warmed (I also use half & half cream when I have it)
- 250 g ( 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp) all-purpose flour
- 30 g (2 Tbsp) sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, organic
- 145 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature (but not too warm)
For the filling (from Smitten Kitchen):
- 65 g dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao)
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 25 g powdered (icing) sugar
- 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- pinch of cinnamon, optional (but good!)
For the syrup:
- 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp water
- 3 Tbsp (37 g) granulated sugar
For the brioche:
- Heat up the milk in a small bowl, in the microwave for a few seconds (10-15). The right temperature of the milk should be between 26°C and 32°C to activate the yeast. Stir the crumbled yeast into the warm milk until dissolved.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour, sugar, salt, and mix on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, the dissolved yeast and keep mixing on low until all the ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer once to scrape down the sides.
- Still on low speed, gradually add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Once all the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. This should take 15-25 minutes, no less.
- Gently, shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough, cover again, and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Punch it down a second time and shape it into a rectangle. At this point, the dough is ready to use, but it can also be wrapped in plastic wrap lightly sprayed with oil and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days or in the freezer for up to one week.
For the filling (for one chocolate babka):
- On a bain-marie (double boiler), melt dark chocolate chunks and butter until smooth and shiny. Let it cool a bit, then add cocoa, icing sugar, and cinnamon (if using), and mix. You will get a spreadable paste that looks and smells quite delicious.
- Coat a 9-by-4-inch loaf pan with oil or butter, and line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper that comes up to the sides (it will be helpful when taking the babka out of the pan).
- Take the dough from the fridge (leave the other half in the fridge or freezer for later use). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width and 12 inches long.
- Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
- Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a log. Seal the dampened end onto the log. (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s instructions and transferred the log in the freezer for 10 minutes. It made it much easier to cut in half).
- Trim the last 1/2-inch off each end of the log. Gently cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Lift one side over the next, forming a twist, or braid, and trying to keep the cut sides facing out.
- Transfer the braid as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan, then nest the trimmed ends of the log in the openings.
- Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise another 1 and 1/2 hours at room temperature.
- Heat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove towel, place loaf pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.
- While babka is baking, make the syrup: bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a little bit.
- As soon as the babka leaves the oven, brush the syrup all over it. Let cool about halfway in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely, or eat it when still slightly warm, outstanding!
The Prep Time includes the 1 and 1/2 hour resting time for the babka to rise again before baking but does not include the making of the dough and the resting time in the refrigerator overnight.
If you use all the brioche dough that you make with this recipe, you can make a big babka or two smaller babkas.
I used just half of the dough and with the other half, I made these. If you use frozen brioche dough, let it defrost in the fridge overnight and start from there.
This chocolate babka should keep for a few days at room temperature. I couldn’t test it, it was gone the next day.