One Green Kitchen has been on vacation! We have been traveling the world, and as a result might have slacked off on posting up many tasty recipes for all of our lovely readers! I picked up an awful lot of exciting new recipes while I was away though and can’t wait to share them all with you guys. Where I was in Memphis I ducked into a middle eastern bakery for a wander, a unique place that ignores middle eastern conflict and carries Israeli goods, Iranian goods, and goodies from Palestine all stocked cheek to jowl on the shelves. Tucked way in the back of the store was a little bakery counter filled to the brim with Baklava, burma, kunufa nabulsi, burekas, and of course slices of Babka. If you don’t know what Babka is let me introduce you. A sweet yeasty dough, filled to the brim with chocolate, twisted into a spiral and doused with strusel topping. It has pounds of butter, pounds of choclate and a really silly amount of sugar. It is terribly decadent and the chocolate to dough ratio is almost overwhleming. I came home with the goal of making this pastry into something a little more achieavable for the home cook, because while we all might want three giant babka’s in our kitchen no one really needs it. Also I hoped to make it a little healthier for the eating. I dramatically reduced the amount of sugar in the babka, changed the chocolate from semi sweet to bitter sweet and added a cup of whole wheat flour instead of using all white flour. If you are really trying to cut back on sugar skip the strusel topping or even just cut back on the amount you use but in my opinion when making treats, making them worth it!
The buns are delicious, they are yeasty and just slick and overflowing with chocolate. Best hot out of the oven with a cup of hot coffee they are definetly a treat! They keep well in the freeezer if you want to make them and then freeze them before baking. Let them rise in the fridge and they you can bake them directly from the fridge. Another note to the wise, if you are in a hurry use extra active yeast or increase the amount of yeast, but if you are patient they will rise just fine! These aren’t an everyday breakfast treat but for a special morning they will really blow the socks off someone that needs a bit of extra loving!
1/2 cup (120 ml) full fat milk (I used full fat coconut milk and it was delicious!)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
1 large room temperature egg
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) room temperature unsalted butter plus extra for greasing tins
3 tablespoons (45 grams) room temperature unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 pound (225 grams) bittersweet chocolate
Pinch of salt and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cups confectioners’ sugar
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
6 to 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Make the streusel topping first. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch. Place the bowl in the fridge and move onto making the dough.
Warm the milk and a pinch of sugar or a drop of agave to between 110 to 116°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’re looking for it to be warm but not hot to the touch; best to err on the cool side, usually wrist temperature is ideal. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 to 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then slowly stir in the yeast mixture.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Run mixer on low and pour in egg mixture until just combined. Add butter and mix until incorporated. Switch paddle out for dough hook and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes on a lower speed. The dough will be sticky and stringy but don’t worry the rising will help firm it up. Grease a large glass bowl and place dough in it. Place in a warm oven, max 110° and let rise for an hour or longer until doubled. If you do not have a stand mixer…do not fret! You can do this entire process by hand, mix everything together with a wooden spoon until it is time to switch to a dough hook. Then dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough reaches the right consistency. Then let rise as normal.
While the dough is rising make your filling. Break the chocolate into rough chunks and then toss into a food processor along with the salt and cinnamon. If your chocolate is in large bars, roughly chop it. Toss the chocolate, salt, sugar, and cinnamon into your food processor and chop until the mixture is very fine with parts of it powdery. Add the butter and pulse until it’s distributed throughout the chocolate. If you don’t own a food processor, just chop the chocolate until it’s very finely chopped, then stir in the sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter until it a kind of amazingly delicious slurry. Set mixture aside.
Grease your 12 cup muffin tin well with butter and set aside.
Now return to you dough, it should be double. Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and press down gently with floured hands. Let it rest for five minutes, go have a glass of milk or check your facebook while the dough calms down. Now roll the dough into a large, long rectangle. The short sides should be a scant 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be around 18 to 20 inches. The longer you can make it the more swirled and delicious your buns will be! Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough’s surface. It will be messy and look like you have too much filling but just stick with me here, it will all fit! Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other, forming a 12 to 13-inch log. For the last inch of the dough pick up and tuck over the roll instead of rolling it to completion as this will help retain all of the delicious filling. Smooth the seam down tightly. Now grab some unflavored clean dental floss and pull off a long strand say 18 inches. Wind several inches around your fingers, and slide the middle part of the floss an inch under the log, now cross the strands and slice of one roll. If this seems to complicated to you use a sharp knife and cut slices, but the dental floss method provides the cleanest cut. Place each 1 inch segment into a greased muffin cup. Pull your streusel topping from the fridge and generously sprinkle each bun with a tablespoon or so of streusel topping. Let rise in a slightly warm oven for 30 minutes to an hour until doubled.
Once double pull the buns out of the oven and place in a warm place where they will remain undisturbed and heat the oven to 350°. Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. Cool the the buns in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes and then gently pry them out of the pans and cool completely on a rack. They are delicious warm, just try and not burn yourself as the chocolate will be liquidy and hot! If you are looking for a wonderful sunday morning brunch treat you have found one! Enjoy your buns and I look forward to bring lots of new recipes culled from my travels to you in all in the next few weeks!