Long ago I used to buy wonderful cupcakes at a bakery that is long gone. They were called Russian cupcakes. I was thinking about them recently and looked all over the internet and found nothing even close to them. The more I thought about them, the more I remembered them to be like babka. Outside of New York City, babka is relatively hard to come by. I thought I would give it a try. I read too many recipes to count and finally settled on combining the best from all of them. If you attempt to make this, read through the recipe a couple of times and get everything organized before you start. Use the best chocolate you can afford.
Put 1 1/2 c. milk in the bowl of your mixer.
Crack two large eggs and 2 large egg yolks in a bowl. The above pic was a mistake. It took three tries until I got this recipe right. Your bowl would have 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks.
Add two packets of instant rise yeast and the eggs to the milk. Add 3/4 c. of sugar.
This was another mistake. You should have 2 sticks of butter cut into pats and bring them to room temperature. I added all the butter at once which was entirely wrong.
Anyway, add 4 c. of flour to the milk mixture. Then add the 2 sticks of butter at room temp.. Then add another 2 cups of flour. Knead this mixture with your dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface until you have a nice smooth satiny dough.
This is when I realized I made the mistake, the second mistake. I put all of the butter and eggs called for at once. I had this huge pile of butter, yeast and sugar and flour. Tomorrow I will show you what I made this into. So I went back to the drawing board and made it the right way.
This is what the dough looked like right before it was kneaded.
After it is kneaded and is nice and smooth, place it in a buttered bowl. Turn it to coat and cover it with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for at least an hour. It should almost double in size.
Meanwhile, chop up 2 1/4 pounds of good chocolate. I used Girardelli but next time I would use something even better. Use semi sweet. Do not use milk chocolate. Chop it as small as you can get it and then pulverize it in your food processor.
It makes a lot of noise and will scare your pets!
Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 1/2 T. of cinnamon.
Add 1 1/2 sticks of butter. I grate my butter to distribute it more evenly.
Put the chocolate mixture back in the food processor and pulse it until it is evenly combined.
Spray three loaf pans with cooking spray and line them with parchment paper.
Beat a large egg with 1 T. of cream.
Split the dough into thirds.
Roll one piece into a 16X16 inch square.
Measure out a third of the chocolate mixture onto the dough. Brush all of the edges with the egg/cream mixture.
Spread the chocolate mixture almost to the edges of the dough. Roll the dough tightly in jelly roll fashion. Seal all of the edges.
Twist the dough 5 or 6 times. Brush the dough with more of the egg/cream mixture along the top. Sprinkle half of the dough with the streusel topping.
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/3 cup of flour
1 1/2 stick of butter
Pulse this together in your food processor until crumbly.
After you sprinkle one half of each babka with the streusel, fold the other end up and over the streusel. Twist the dough twice and fit each roll into one of the pans.
Sprinkle more streusel over the tops and allow these to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the babkas for 30 minutes and then turn them around in the oven and bake for 30 minutes more.
Lower the oven temp to 325 and bake for 20 more minutes. They should be golden.
Here they are right out of the oven.
Allow them to cool in the pans for 15-20 minutes.
After they have rested, let them continue to cool on racks.
Here is a slice while the babkas are still warm. You can see that the chocolate is still runny.
Here is a slice after they have cooled completely. They are excellent either way. You can always warm the slices up again if you want the chocolate to be a bit runny.
I can't remember the last time I was so pleased to master a recipe. The Blog Tech told me these made him want to dance. My chocoholic friend was almost speechless. She said these have just risen to the top of her chocolate chart.
Tomorrow I will show you what I did with the 'mistake' dough. It produced something even better.