JERRY: That’s the last Babka. They got the last Babka!
ELAINE: I know. They’re going in first with the last Babka.
JERRY: That was our Babka.
ELAINE: You can’t beat a Babka.
JERRY: We should have had that Babka.
ELAINE: They’re going to be heroes.
JERRY: What are we going to do now? If we can’t get the Babka the whole thing’s useless.
God forbid you ever find yourself in a situation like Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Bennis in the episode “The Dinner Party,” but should you find yourself short a chocolate babka in life, they aren’t too hard to make! This is my first Babka and it turned out just mah-velous. Remember that I have resolved in this new year to prepare one chocolate baked delicacy per week. This is Chocolate Wonder #2! Inspired by both the Seinfeld episode and the front cover of this month’s Food and Wine magazine.
And, just in case you get sold “a hair with a cake around it,” I might make cinnamon babka for my next trick.
adapted from food and wine
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 cup sourdough starter
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature
9 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons honey
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Make the Dough In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar and salt. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the milk with the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and sprinkle the dry ingredients on top. Mix at low speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix at medium speed until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Add all of the butter at once and mix at low speed until it is fully incorporated and a tacky dough forms, about 3 minutes; scrape down the side of the bowl as needed during mixing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and coat the paper generously with nonstick baking spray. Scrape the dough out onto the parchment paper and cut the dough in half. Pat each piece into a neat square. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Make the filling In a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt both chocolates with the butter, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the cookie crumbs and honey.
Coat two 9-by-4-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray and line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches of overhang on each of the long sides. Roll out each square of dough to a 16-inch square.
Using an offset spatula, spread all but 1/2 cup of the filling in an even layer over the dough squares to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
Starting at the long edge nearest you, tightly roll up each dough square jelly roll–style into a tight log.
Using a sharp knife, cut the logs in half crosswise. Using an offset spatula, spread 1/4 cup of the reserved filling on the top and sides of 2 of the halves.
Set the other halves on top in the opposite direction to form a cross.
Twist to form spirals and transfer to the prepared pans. Cover the loaves with a towel and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake the loaves in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until puffed and well browned. Let cool slightly, then use the parchment paper to lift the babkas out of the pans and onto a rack set over a baking sheet. Discard the paper.
Make the glaze In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt both chocolates with the butter; stir until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup.
Spread the glaze on top of the warm babkas and let stand until set, about 30 minutes.
Just heavenly. I brought this to work and was told I graduated from residency. kidding, but close. I could stand in the kitchen eating this in a reverie for hours.