This project was inspired by Seinfeld and practiced by Martha. Chocolate babka. It was showcased in episode 77 of Seinfeld in which Elained insists on bringing a chocolate babka (and not cinnamon babka — lesser of the babkas) to a dinner party. It’s one of those confections that’s common to New Yorkers and foreign to everyone else who lives on the island off of Manhattan occupied by the contiguous states.
I’m sure I can find it somewhere in Chicago, but I thought it’d be more fun just to make it.
Basically, it’s brioche — an enriched yeast dough like doughnuts or cinnamon rolls — with a swirl of chocolate inside.
I used Martha Stewart’s recipe, but tweaked it so it made one loaf (I know you can freeze it, but do I really need to make THREE babka’s? NO.)
Chocolate Babka for One
- .18 oz yeast
- ⅔ cup sugar, divided
- ½ cup milk 110F
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp and a pinch of salt
- 1 stick and 3 ½ TB butter, divided
- 1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chopped
- 1 tsp heavy cream
- 1 TB ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, combine a pinch of sugar, milk and yeast. Set aside until it’s foamy — approximately five minutes.
Combine egg and yolk and lightly beat it. Reserve one tablespoon to combine with cream for the egg wash. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, wisk remaining egg together with ⅓ cup sugar and add yeast mixture. On low speed, add flour until combined. Add one stick of butter, one piece at a time. When a smooth dough has formed, turn it out on a lightly floured surface.
Place in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic and set aside until the dough has doubled in size — approximately one hour.
Combine the remaining sugar and butter with the chocolate and cinnamon. Work with your hands to create a crumble.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 16”x16” square. Brush egg wash around the edges and evenly sprinkle chocolate mixture over the square. Roll up the dough like a cinnamon roll. Give it two twists and then fold in half.
Twist it again — twice if you can do it without breaking the dough. Place in a loaf pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with egg wash. I topped it with streusel because I happened to have some leftover from another project.
Set aside for 30 minutes or you can refrigerate it overnight, but it should be at room temperature before you bake it.
In a preheated oven, bake at 350F for 25 minutes. Rotate the loaf and bake for 20 minutes before turning the temperature down to 325F for 10-15 minutes. It should be golden brown.
Now I understand why Elaine had to take the chocolate babka to the party and why Martha’s recipe is for three loaves — it’s ridiculously delicious. I highly recommend it.