I am sooo over summer, so I envision you making these babka buns cozied up with the fireplace going and snow falling outside. And while their aesthetic beauty screams special occasion, they are actually simple enough for the average weekend. As an added bonus: the smell of the baking babkas permeates the entire house with an incredible chocolatey, warm, bakery aroma that lingers for basically the entire day.
- Flour: 2 1/4 cups
- Sugar: 1/3 cup
- Active Dry Yeast: 2 teaspoons
- Lemon Zest: From 1/2 Small Lemon
- Eggs: 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
- Water: 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
- Salt: 1/4 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter: 1/2 cup
- Dark Chocolate: 2.5 ounces/70 grams
- Unsalted Butter: 1/4 cup
- Cocoa Powder: 1/4 cup
- Powdered Sugar: 1/4 cup
- Cinnamon: 1/4 teaspoon
- Toasted Pecans: 1/4 cup
- Granulated Sugar: 1 teaspoon
- Water: 1/4 cup
- Granulated Sugar: 4 tablespoons
The How To (The Dough):
- Whisk the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and egg + egg yolk and beat on low speed with the dough hook attachment until the dough comes together. It will look dry, and you may need an additional 1-2 tablespoons of water to get it to come together.
- Add the salt, then add the butter a tablespoon at a time.
- Beat on medium speed for 10ish minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You will need to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula a few times, and you may need to add an additional pinch of flour.
- Transfer dough to a buttered bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- Leave out on the counter for three hours to rise (until doubled in size), then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
The How To (The Filling):
- While the dough is spending 30 minutes in the fridge, start the filling.
- In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat.
- Once melted, remove from heat and mix in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.
The How to (Assembly):
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a standard 12 cup muffin tin (lots of butter!)
- Flour your counter top. Roll the dough out so the side closest to you is about 10 inches, then roll it away from you as long as you can - mine ended up being about 20 inches.
- Spread the chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on each side.
- Sprinkle with the toasted pecans and granulated sugar.
- Moisten the bottom edge of the dough with a bit of water (I just use my finger to do this).
- Starting with the edge furthest from you (the top/short side), use even pressure to roll the dough into a log.
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut and discard a 1/2 inch section off both ends of the log.
- Cut the log into 12 equal sections - this is when traditional babka transforms into buns.
- Place each bun into the greased muffin tin, most beautiful chocolate swirled side up - don't worry if they don't completely fill the space, they will!
- Cover muffin tin with a clean kitchen towel and let the buns rise for an additional 30 minutes.
- Remove kitchen towel and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (start checking at 20, but you'll probably need a couple more minutes).
- While the buns are baking, make your sugar syrup glaze.
- In a small pot, simmer the water and granulated sugar until the sugar disappears. Set aside to cool.
- When babkas are finished baking (you feel no resistance when you insert a skewer into the center of the buns and they are a beautiful golden brown color), remove them from the oven and immediately brush them with the sugar syrup.
- Let them cool completely in the pan, or burn your fingers slightly and bask in the deliciousness of still-warm-from-the-oven babka.
A Few Notes:
- You can absolutely do the first dough rise in the fridge overnight. This will let you wake up in the morning to pre-risen babka dough, which will transform this into a contender for your new favorite breakfast baking option (+ steaming mug of coffee). Just don't forget the second 30 minute rise pre-baking!
- Yes, you really need the sugar syrup glaze.
- You can pop the dough into the freezer for 10 minutes before cutting it into rounds to make the cutting process a bit easier.
- I find it's easier to cut the log into equal sections if I divide it in half, divide each of those halves in half, then cut those sections into threes.
- Toast your pecans! Pop them in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 8ish minutes.
- It's okay if you don't have a pastry brush, I've been known to brush babka with a paper towel in a pinch.
Pairs Well With: