This weekend I met an online friend in real life (we bonded over our love for tacos), saw Gone Girl (!!), and actually learned properly about football (thanks to my very patient fiance). OH and I ate almost this whole loaf of chocolate and cinnamon swirled bread, how could I forget about that? It started out innocently enough, a slice or two just for photo purposes, then a few more slices before heading to the gym (for fuel, you know?), and then the best thing I did with this bread? French. Toast. I’m normally a french toast hater (bread that is soaking wet? No thankyouverymuch). But this, this is the bread that transformed french toast for me. The best part of toasting or turning this babka into french toast is that the swirly chocolate business on the inside. The ribbon of chocolate and cinnamon gets all melt-y and dreamy, swooon.
I actually didn’t even know what a babka was until the last few years, then I found out it consists of bread swirled with chocolate, nuts, or cinnamon and was all ‘WHAT?!’ and then thought, ‘I need to make that, stat’. Part of the reason the recipe stuck in the head was simply for the word, ‘babka’, since it’s just a catchy word and I pictured swirling in toasted walnuts or adding peanut butter into the mix. In the end, I settled on a simple mixture of chocolate and cinnamon, inspired by the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I have a few awesome savory recipes planned for this week, so here’s your sweet fix for Monday!
Chocolate Cinnamon Babka
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the all ingredients with a dough hook except for the almond milk. After dough starts to come together, add in the almond milk while mixer is running on low, little by little, until dough comes together into a mass. If dough seems very wet or sticky, add in 1/4-1/3 cup of additional flour. Knead dough on medium for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth. If dough still seems too wet, add in another 1/4 cup of flour until dough is only slightly sticky to the touch. If not using a stand mixer, knead dough by hand on a well floured surface.
After dough has been kneaded, transfer to a well oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours. Dough will double in size.
After dough has risen, preheat oven to 325 degrees F, allow oven to preheat while making filling and finishing bread.
For the filling: In a medium, microwave proof bowl, combine the chopped dark chocolate, vanilla extract, and almond milk. Microwave for 30 second increments until mixture has melted together. Stir in maple syrup, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside.
To assemble the bread: Sprinkle surface liberally with flour and roll dough out into a 14 inch by 8 inch rectangle. Spread chocolate filling onto rolled out dough evenly, stopping just an inch or so short of the edges of the dough. Roll rectangle up lengthwise and twist together into a loaf shape. You don't have to be perfect here, it will look swirly when it's taken out of the oven! Place completed loaf into a greased loaf pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center or loaf comes out clean.Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from loaf pan and serving.