Mini Chocolate Swirl Babkas

I don’t have a lot of things in common with Oprah.  I don’t have my own TV network or magazine, and I don’t have the ability to give out cars to a full studio audience. But, just like Oprah, I. LOVE. BREAD.

Especially if that bread also contains chocolate, cinnamon, and pecans, and is personal sized (though sometimes a full loaf can also be personal sized if you try hard enough). So naturally, when a craving for something sweet hit me one Friday night, I decided to make myself some mini chocolate babka buns. The final results were perfectly sized, fluffy, swirled brioche-esque rolls with the perfect proportion of filling to bread.

Keep reading for a recipe for these mini delights or scroll to the end for steps on how to create a full-sized loaf!


For the Chocolate Babka:

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 2 packages (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 14 oz semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 3  tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over the milk, whisk gently, and let stand until foamy. (Around 5 minutes.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and egg yolks. Slowly pour yeast mixture into egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and fold until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add 2 sticks butter, and mix until a smooth, soft dough is formed, about 10 minutes. I like to do this with my hands, but you can also use a stand mixture fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  4. Gently turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times until smooth. Place dough in a large buttered glass bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Combine chocolate, pecans, 1 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.
  6. Generously butter 3 12-cup muffin tins and line each with a strip of parchment paper long enough to reach above the edge of the tin.
  7. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  8. Punch back the dough, and cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working withthe remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-by-8 inch rectangle; it should be 1/8 inch thick.
  9. Crumble 1/3 of the chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Roll dough up tightly like a cinnamon roll and  inch ends together to seal (If creating a loaf instead, skip down to that recipe from here).
  10. Fold roll in half length-wise and twist 5 or 6 times, pulling gently until the roll reaches the original length.
  11. Use a sharp knife to remove the ends of the roll and cut the rest into 2 1/2 inch sections, placing each cut-side-up into muffin tins.
  12. Repeat with other 2/3 of dough, or use the remaining rolls to create babka loaves (as shown below)
  13. Cover trays with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour in a warm place.
  14. Bake rolls for about 30 minutes or until babkas are golden brown, rotatingthe trays halfway through. Remove from oven, and use parchment paper to remove the rolls from the tins.
  15. Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and tablespoon of cinnamon in a small bowl, and roll  ach babka roll in the mixture while still warm, so that the sugar adheres to the outside.
  16. You’re done! Try to save some for your friends, but don’t be too worried if you fail.

 To Create a Babka Loaf…

Start from Step 9 of original recipe

  1. After creating your roll, cut in half lengthwise, being careful not to let any filling spill out.
  2. Pinch the ends of the halves together, and “braid” the two together, making sure the cut side remains facing upwards.
  3. Pinch the other ends together, and fold the braided rope into thirds, still keeping the cut side facing up.
  4. Gently fit the dough into your buttered loaf pan and bake for around 55 minutes, until golden brown and a dowel inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Use parchment paper strips to remove loaf from tin.
  6. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of babka and cut into thin slices to serve

 

2 thoughts on “Mini Chocolate Swirl Babkas

  1. Hiii Olivia! I just found your blog from your insta! I didn’t know you were such a baker! I I love baking too Why does the milk have to be warm?

    1. Hi Lizzie! Thank you for your comment! The milk has to be warm because of the chemical reaction with the yeast. If the milk is cold, the dough will not rise because the yeast will die. I’d recommend microwaving it (in a microwavable bowl) for around 30-40 seconds, or until it feels warm to the touch.

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