Chocolate Babka

Holidays are the time that you get to show off your cooking and baking skills. At least that is how it is for me because I am usually cooking for one. I know I am a few weeks late, but I made this chocolate babka for Easter and I have to say it was an absolute hit. This recipe is from the New York Times Cookbook and makes 2 loaves. It is a long process, so I say get started three days before you want the loaf done. I made the fudge filling and chocolate streusel beforehand and it made the process go a lot smoother. As the New York Times said, read this recipe a few times before committing to making it, you’ll need it.

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 1/2 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 Package Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar + a pinch
  • 4 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 TSP Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TSP Grated Lemon Zest
  • 1/2 TSP Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
  • 10 TBSP Unsalted Butter, softened

For the Fudge Filling:

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Heavy Crem or Half and Half
  • Salt
  • 6 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (66-74% cocoa), coarsely chopped
  • 8 TSBP Unsalted Butter, diced and softened
  • 2 TSP Vanilla Extract

For Chocolate Streusel

  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 4 1/2 TSBP Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1/3 Cup Mini Semisweet Chocolate Chips

For the Syrup:

  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Water

Let’s Get Baking

Let’s start with the dough. Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove until it’s lukewarm. Remove from heat, and add in the yeast + pinch of sugar and let bloom for about 5-10 minutes.

Using a mixer with the dough hook [you can also do this by hand it just takes a bit more time] combine flour + 1/3 cup sugar + salt + vanilla + lemon zest + nutmeg and mix. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients along with the eggs. Beat until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

Add in half of the butter and beat until the dough is smooth, add in the rest of the butter and wait until the dough is smooth and stretchy about 5-7 minutes. Add in 1 TBSP of flour if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Butter a large bowl and form the dough into a ball. Roll the dough around in the buttered bowl so all sides are buttered. Cover with clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours.

Press the dough down and recover, let rise in the friedge over night.

Onto the filling: Combine the sugar + cream + salt in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Add in the chocolate + butter + vanilla stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. This can be made up to a week beforehand.

Onto the streusel: stir together flour + sugar + cocoa powder + salt in a bowl. Stir in melted butter until it is distributed and the streusel forms large crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. This can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge.

To make the syrup: combine sugar & water into a small saucepan. Simmer over MED heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

Butter 2 9-inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper

Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it in half. On a floured surface, roll one piece into a 9×17 inch rectangle. Spread with half the filling all over. Starting with the long side, roll up into a tight roll, transfer to a dish towel, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes. Do the same with the other piece of dough.

After the 10 minutes, slice the rolls length-wise in half and twist the halves together as you were braiding them. Fold the braid in half and place it in one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the other dough. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let rise in the fridge overnight.

When it’s finally the day to bake remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temp. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Using your hands, clump the streusel together and scatter along the bread. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean with no dough.

As soon as the bread comes out, pierce it with a knife going all the way down to the bottom of the bread. Pour over the syrup. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.

Serve and share with family and friends.
Baked with Love,

Hannah

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Step-Mom, Cathy, makes the best chocolate chip cookies EVER. I remember learning that her secret ingredient was Captain Morgan and I thought somehow I would get drunk from eating all the cookie dough. The recipe is a simple one, it’s on the back of the Hershey’s chocolate chip bag [use whatever chocoloate chips you like just don’t use Nestle, Nestle steals resources from indigenous people]. Enjoy these chocolate chips with family and friends and don’t forget to thank Cathy for the secret ingredient. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butter, softened (2 Sticks)
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 1/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TSP Baking Soda
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 2 Cups Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 TBSP Captain Morgan

Let’s Get Bakin’

Preheat the oven to 375F

Beat the butter + sugar + brown sugar + vanilla in a large bowl until it’s creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat well.

Add in the Captain Morgan. In a seperate bowl combine the salt + baking soda + flour. Slowly pour in the flour and mix until well blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Made with Love,

Hannah

Apple Cider Whoopie Pies

Sorry, I was MIA for a few weeks, school is back in session and blah blah blah. BUT It’s October so we know that means all things pumpkin and apple cider. The cooler weather always makes me want to stay in the kitchen and baking, staying warm with the oven. This is a delicious recipe featuring all things apple cider. The recipe is from Parsley and Icing, she has many amazing options for frostings as well, I used a bourbon buttercream for the filling but you can use whatever your heart desires.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Apple Cider reduced to 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter, room temp, divided 6 TBSP for dough + 2 TBSP melted
  • 1 3/4 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 1 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1/4 TSP Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 TSP Cinnamon + 1/2 TSP for Coating
  • 1//4 TSP Ginger
  • 1/2 TSP Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar + 1/4 Cup for Coating
  • 1/4 Cup + 2 TSP Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1/4 Cup Applesauce
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 TSP Vanilla

Bourbon Butter Cream

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 2 TBSP Your Choice of Bourban
  • Pinch of Salt

Let’s Get Baking

Heat the oven to 350F

Bring the apple cider to boil over MED-HIGH heat and let reduce until it’s down to 1/4 cup

In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour + baking powder + baking soda + salt + cinnamon + ginger + nutmeg together

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the 6 TBSP of butter with the sugars until combined. Add in the vanilla + eggs, make sure you are scraping down the sides while completing. Add in the apple cider + applesauce and combine on low, slowly pour in the flour.

Place cookies onto lined baking sheets, about 1/2 TBSP each, bake about 11-13 minutes each, depending on your oven. Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle them with the cinnamon + sugar.

While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the buttercream. Beat the butter then add in the powdered sugar and bourbon.

Once the cookies are cool, full them with the homemade buttercream.

Enjoy with your friends and fam and a cold glass of apple cider.

Made with Love,

Hannah