Just when you thought babka couldn’t get any better, this recipe fills the delectable treat with delicious chocolate chestnut spread.
Heat the milk until scalded (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit) and allow to cool until warm.
In a large mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook add the sugars and milk. Stir to dissolve and then sprinkle the yeast over the milk. Allow the yeast to become active and bubbly. Mix to integrate.
Add in the zest, vanilla extract, salt and eggs to the bowl and mix to integrate.
Add the flour about half a cup at a time alternating with one tablespoon of butter. Wait until the flour is integrated before adding in the next half cup.
Add the remaining butter. You should have a smooth elastic dough that is soft to the touch and a pale yellow color.
Lightly brush a bowl with oil and put the dough inside the bowl. Turn to coat in the oil and then cover with a cloth or saran wrap. Place in a warm place like the turned off oven with the oven light on or your turned off dryer for about an hour (or two if it’s cold) until the dough nearly doubles in bulk.
This chestnut spread is the new Nutella. It’s best to make a double batch and save some of it for some excellent sandwiches or just plain eating it off the spoon!
In a medium saucepan, bring the chestnuts and milk to a low boil and allow to soften for about 10 minutes or until the milk has just about evaporated. Add in the chocolate and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add in the butter and salt to taste.
Cool the mixture for about 10 minutes before adding the whole mixture into a blender or food processor fitted with an S blade. Pulse until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.
This should last about two weeks in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
Divide the dough in half and roll out one half on a piece of Gefen Parchment Paper or silpat lightly dusted with flour if necessary. It should roll out to a rectangle about 10 x 13 inches, approximately a quarter inch thick
Spread half the chestnut chocolate mixture in a thin layer over the dough. Sprinkle with half the chocolate chips, and half the cinnamon and brown sugar and flaked salt if desired.
Roll the dough into a tight log the long way so that you have a log approximately 13 inches long.
Using a sharp knife, slice the log halfway down the middle. Twist the two halves together in a twist with the open side facing upward. Place inside a loaf pan line with parchment paper and allow to rest under a towel in a warm spot for 45 minutes.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and brush the top of the babka with egg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and there is no more raw dough.
While the babka is baking, mix together the sugar and water until dissolved. When the babka comes out of the oven, immediately brush the top with the simple syrup and allow to cool before slicing
The babka can be made and stored in a sealed container two days in advance. The babka can also be frozen before rising baking and brought to room temperature before continuing with the rise and baking as instructed. It can also be frozen once baked and stored for up to three months in a sealed freezer bag. It should be crisped in the oven before serving.
Styling and Photography by @yaffakoffphotography