When I became a French pastry chef, I never imagined that the recipe I would become most famous for is my chocolate babka. But babka is the most comforting dessert you can make, full of soft yeast dough and gooey chocolate. It is fitting that the word “babka” means grandmother in Polish, as the image of a grandmother evokes memories of warm, cozy meals and big hugs. Whenever you need some extra love, bake yourself a babka. Copyright The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Desserts from Traditional to Trendy (Brandeis 2010)
- ½ cup warm water plus 1 teaspoon, divided
- ½ ounce (2 packages) active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
- 3 cups (6 sticks) soft pareve margarine, divided
- 2 large eggs plus 1 white (reserve yolk for glazing)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
- Spray oil, for greasing pans
- ½ cup mini or regular chocolate chips
- Place 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar into a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Add 1/2 cup sugar, flour, 2 sticks of the margarine and the eggs and extra egg white. Combine with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover bowl with plastic and let rise for 2 to 4 hours. Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine 2 cups of the sugar with the cocoa. Add the remaining 4 sticks margarine and mix well. You can let the filling sit out while the dough is rising.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use spray oil to grease two 12-inch long loaf pans. Divide dough into four pieces. On a large piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour, roll each piece into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 of filling, sprinkle with 1/4 of the chocolate chips and roll the long way. When you have two rolls, twist them around each other, trying to keep the seam on the bottom. Tuck the ends under and place into the loaf plan. Repeat for the other two pieces of dough. Brush the tops of the loaves with the reserved egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon water.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until well-browned. Cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the babka and then remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil and freeze unless you will use it by the next day. Thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before serving.