Two weeks ago I spent an amazing Shabbos in East Hampton NY. Yes, it is all its cracked up to be, magnificent mansions, beautiful architecture, gorgeous beaches, and super beachy glam. Additionally we had the good fortune of meeting some really interesting and diverse Shabbos guests including a Chihuahua with pink painted toe nails, the man behind GossipCop.com (a website that verifies the accuracy of celebrity news – or as we called him, the Hollywood lashon hara fact checker) but best of all was meeting my new friend and fellow foodie - Lee.
I first heard about Lee, Shabbos morning when my wonderful host and very dear friend Yael told me she had a special treat with our morning coffee. Now Yael has been a member of GKC since day 1 and she knows how much I love something sweet and delicious. So, when Yael says “I have a treat for you” she means it, and boy was she right! Yael gave me a piece of babka (already on the right track!) and said, “Enjoy”… I did! Wow! It turns out my new friend Lee had adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart and the results are delicious. The amazing thing was when I pictured the woman behind this babka I didn’t picture a beautiful young woman with a demanding career as a TV producer, but when I met her later at lunch that’s exactly who she turned out to be. Since then Lee and I have shared lots of great recipes and have bonded over our love of all things epicurean. Lee’s babka was twisted and rolled in a way that yields a beautiful layered and ribbon like appearance. The chocolate inside was so thick that the slices were clean and mouth watering. Turns out, Lee’s babka is easy to make and the chocolate layering is almost as pretty to look at as it was delicious to eat. The crumble on top gives it a perfect finish. Needless to say Shabbos was Yum!
Try it and let us know what you think. It’s become a GKC favorite.
by Lee Kushnir
When shaping the babka, twist dough evenly throughout the length of the roll a full 5 to 6 turns. The babka can be prepared up to step 8 and frozen for up to a month before baking. When ready to bake, remove from freezer; let stand at room temperature for about 5 hours, and bake.
This makes two full-sized and four miniature ones.
1 1/2 cups warm soy milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped*
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon soy milk
Streusel topping (below)
1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over soy milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks margarine, and beat until flour mixture and margarine are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks margarine until well combined; set filling aside.
6. Generously grease three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon soy milk or pareve milk; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.
7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.
8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.
9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.
* After chopping the chocolate into moderately sized chunks, use the food processor to pulse the rest of the chocolate in two batches to small bits. It saves a lot of time!
Makes 3 3/4 cups.
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, room temperature
In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and margarine. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.