Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka

February 5, 2017

img_5446So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I did actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite. And I love bread as well, so this Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka recipe was a no brainer for me.

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Now it is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

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Last year, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the company who owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. Last year I celebrated with Nutella Sea Salt Stuffies:

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The year before I made cookies as well,  irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies – sweet salty bliss I tell you!

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I was still all about the cookies and the salty / sweet thing three years ago when I blogged about  Salted & Malted Nutella Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies feature silky, decadent Nutella, creamy caramel, nostalgic malted goodness and rich chocolate chips, all rolled up together in a crunchy chewy salted cookie

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And then there was my  Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

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But let me get back to the stunning Nutella treat we have on hand today: Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka. Oh Lawdie…this bread is delicious! Babka, which has a Russian/Polish culinary pedigree (the name is derived from “baba” which is Russian for grandmother)  is made with a rich yeasted dough. You end up with something that is somewhere between cake and bread. Every brioche like morsel is so tender it simply melts in your mouth. And can we just talk about the fillings? Well there are as many variations in the fillings as there are grandmothers! You can have a fruit filled Babka, a chocolate Babka, a cinnamon Babka, a chocolate cinnamon Babka, or a Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka as we have here today. Babkas can be topped with a streusel, soaked in Rum or drizzled with a glaze. They can be shaped many ways as well, baked in a bread tin, free-standing or as I have done here, shaped into the dramatic Israeli version which is known as “kranz cake”. The possibilities are endless!

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Now all that being said, making this luscious filled rolled and twisted bliss is no simple undertaking! You’ve gotta want it…and believe me you will. It is so worth it. The good thing is you can break it up into steps and take up to 3 days to bake the bread if you wish. Or if you’re hardcore, get up early in the morning and blast through the whole thing in one day. Midnight Babka sounds great to me too!

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Laden with butter and lashings of Nutella and chocolate chips this bread not only has mouthwatering good looks but can back it up with to die for taste. Great as a dessert, for breakfast or with a cup of tea or coffee, you just can’t beat this time-tested comfort food treat. So Happy Nutella Day…I’ve gotta go tear into some Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka!

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Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka

  • Servings: 1 large loaf of bread
  • Difficulty: moderate - with a lot of rise time
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 Tablespoons (.66 oz / 19 grams) instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz / 170 grams) lukewarm milk (95°F or 35°C)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz / 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons ( 3 oz /85 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (.25 oz / 7 grams) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks (3 oz. / 85 grams)
  • 3 1/3 cups (15 oz / 425 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (.25 oz/ 7 grams) salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 1 jar (13 oz.) Nutella
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved and set aside for 5 minutes.

Cream the butter and sugar together using the paddle attachment for a stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla to the eggs yoke and whisk together. Then add the yolks to the sugar mixture in four portions, mixing thoroughly until each is incorporated before adding the next. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and mix for 2 more minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times during the process.

Stop mixing and add the flour and salt, then pour in the milk mixture. Resume mixing at low speed until a soft, supple, tacky dough forms.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes adding flour as necessary to make the dough pliable. Form dough into a ball.

Place dough in a clean, highly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 2 1/2 hours. It will rise, but won’t double. If you are taking my advice and making this Babka over several days, after the rise, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight to be rolled out the next day.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Line a 1/2 sheet pan with parchment paper and mist it with spray oil. Spread the Nutella evenly over the parchment paper. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top. Place into the refrigerator to firm up. Once you have rolled the dough out, you can easily transfer this Nutella chocolate chip square directly on top of the babka dough. Easy peasy!

Once the dough has risen, or on day two, roll it into a 15″ by 11″ rectangle on a lightly floured surface. It should e between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Lay the refrigerated Nutella Chocolate sheet on top of the Babka dough and peel the parchment away.

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and place it seam side down on the work surface. With firm but gentle pressure, rock the log back and forth. Using a metal pastry blade, cut the log down the middle lengthwise. Rotate the dough so that the cut edges are facing up. Place one piece over the other and continue to criss-cross the pieces to form a braid. Pinch the ends of the braided pieces together to seal.

Cover the braided loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 2 -3 hours. At this point, you can proceed directly to baking or refrigerate the loaf overnight. If holding it overnight, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake it.

Preheat the oven to 350° F (177° C). Bake loaf for 20 minutes and then rotate the pan. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until the sides of the loaf are a rich golden brown. The internal temperature will reach about 185° F (85° C). I the tope begins to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil

Allow the Babka to cool for at least 90 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

January 20, 2012

I’m at it with Peter Reinhart again! I just love his Artisan Breads Every Day book and am diligently working my way through it. I’ve always wanted to make a Babka. Even since I saw that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is so desperately trying to purchase a chocolate babka for a dinner party she is about to attend. I had never experienced a Babka in person at that point, but just knew I couldn’t wait to try it out. I am happy to report that I have now successfully managed to progress from purchasing Babkas into making my own and I dare say mine was better than the last one I got from an actual bakery! (so proud, patting myself on the back as I type…quite a trick!) As with any yeast bread, there is some preparation involved. You can’t just whip one up on the spur of the moment. There are a couple different rising times of 2-3 hours or more. So you want to plan ahead. Luckily the recipe gives good tips on when you can stop, refrigerate the dough and then continue on the following day. I started early and soldiered through from start to finish. But breaking it up a bit does make sense.

Babka is a yeast bread which heavily leans towards a coffee cake. The name Babka comes from the Russian word baba, which means grandmother. And just like your granny, this bread is sweet and comforting! The bread itself is buttery and rich and then it also has the rich vein of chocolate and cinnamon swirling through it. Oh save us!!! It is completely irresistable!

Chocolate Cinnamon Babka

yield: 1 loaf

Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (0.66 oz/19 g) instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) lukewarm milk (95°F or 35°C)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz/85 g) unsalted butter, melted or at room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons (3 oz/85 g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks (3 oz/ 85 g)
  • 3 1/3 Cups (15 oz/425 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 egg, for egg wash (if using streusel topping)
  • 1 Tablespoon water, for egg wash (if using streusel topping)

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 Cups (9 oz/255 g) frozen semisweet dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 teaspoon (0.25 oz/7 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/56.5 g) cold unsalted butter

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/4 Cup (2 oz/56.5 g) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup (2.25 oz/64 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup (4 oz/113 g) brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Do Ahead:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved, then set aside for about 5 minutes before mixing it into the dough.

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. If mixing by hand, use a large wooden spoon and beat vigorously for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk lightly to break up the yolks, then add the yolks to the sugar mixture in four portions, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next. Increase the mixer speed to medium high or continue mixing by hand for another 2 minutes, until the mixture is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during the process.

Stop mixing and add the flour and salt, then pour in the milk mixture. Resume mixing at low-speed, or continue to stir by hand, for 2 to 3 minutes, to make a soft, supple, tacky dough. If using a mixer and the mixer begins to struggle, switch to the dough hook.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes more, adding more flour as needed to make the dough pliable. The dough should be a beautiful golden colour and feel soft and supple. Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature for about 2 1/2 hours. It will rise somewhat, but won’t double in size. If it rises significantly in less time, you can move to the shaping step or place it in the refrigerator overnight to be rolled out the next day.

Filling and Baking:

Prepare the filling while the dough is rising. Grind the chocolate in a food processor until it’s nearly powdered: if you don’t have  a food processor, chop the chocolate as fine as possible. Add the cinnamon and pulse or stir a time or two to incorporate. Cut the butter into 8-10 pieces, add it to the food processor, and pulse until the butter is evenly dispersed into the chocolate mixture; or cut the butter into the chocolate mixture with a metal pastry scraper to make a streusel-like chocolate crumble.

Once the dough has risen, roll it into a 15 x 15 inch square on a lightly floured surface. It should be between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. As you roll, frequently lift the dough with a metal pastry scraper or bowl scraper and dust with more flour underneath to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the chocolate mixture over the dough, breaking up any clumps, so the filling covers the surface of the dough evenly, leaving a 1/4 inch border.

Roll up the dough like a jelly roll and place it seam side down on the work surface. With firm but gently pressure, rock the log back and forth to extend its length until it is 18 to 24 inches long.

Grease a 5×9 inch loaf pan. Carefully twist the log from both ends without tearing it, just enough to accentuate the chocolate spiral. Coil the log into a circular snail shape, then stand the coil on its end so it’s perpendicular to the counter rather than lying flat. Press down on the coil to compress it into a loaf shape. Place it in the greased loaf pan.

Cover the loaf pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, until the babka fills the pan or has increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. At this pint, you can proceed directly to baking or refrigerate the babka overnight. If holding it overnight, remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the top of the babka to eliminate possible air pockets between the layers of chocolate and dough.

While the oven preheats, make the streusel if you’d like to use it. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine, or cut the butter into small bits, then add the other ingredients and stir or mix with your hands. The texture should resemble cornmeal. If using streusel, brush the top of the babka with egg wash, then scatter the streusel over the top.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake until the top is a rich dark brown, the sides are a rich golden brown, the loaf sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is about 185°F (85°C) in the center. The babka will begin to brown quickly because of the sugar but it won’t burn. The total baking time is 50 to 60 minutes. The sides may feel soft because of air pockets in the spirals. The babka will soften as it cools.

Cool for at least 90 minutes before serving. The babka is best served at room temperature after the chocolate has had time to set.

Enjoy!


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