I have wanted to bake this special cake ever since first seeing photos of it from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book all over the blogosphere. It always looks stunning and delicious.
This version is an adaptation of the Chocolate Krantz Cakes in Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi from Smitten Kitchen.com. I loved that she had already made this babka FIVE times, and modified the recipe to perfection. Tried and true. Thank you, Deb Perelman! 🙂
Perelman’s adaptations included omitting the nuts, using granulated instead of superfine sugar, large instead of extra-large eggs, and reducing the amount of sugar syrup topping. She also modified the technique for ease. I melted the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and let the dough rise in a proofing drawer as well.
We enjoyed it warm from the oven for Easter dessert. Rich and wonderful.
Yield: 2 loaf-sized chocolate babkas
For the Dough:
- 4 1/4 cups (530 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (rapid rise)
- grated zest of half an orange
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup water (cold is fine) and up to 1 to 2 tablespoons extra, if needed
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter (150 grams or 5.3 ounces), at room temperature
- Sunflower, Canola, other neutral oil, or cooking oil spray, for greasing
For the Filling:
- 4 1/2 ounces (130 grams) dark chocolate (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
- scant 1/2 cup (50 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Sugar Syrup:
- 1/3 cup water
- 6 tablespoons (75 grams) granulated sugar
Make the dough:
- Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and zest in the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add eggs and 1/2 cup water, mixing with the paddle or dough hook until it comes together; this may take a couple of minutes. (If it doesn’t come together, add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a mass.)
- With the mixer on low, add the salt, then the butter, a spoonful at a time, mixing until it’s incorporated into the dough.
- If using the paddle, switch to the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is completely smooth; you’ll need to scrape the bowl down a few times. After 10 minutes, the dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If not, add 1 tablespoon extra flour to help this along.
- Coat a large bowl with oil (or scrape the dough out onto a counter and oil this one) and place dough inside, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Leave in fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight. The dough will not fully double, so don’t be concerned if it doesn’t look like it grew by more than half.
Make the filling:
- In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate together until smooth. Remove from heat.
- Stir in powdered sugar and cocoa; mixture should form a spreadable paste. Add cinnamon.
Assemble the loaves:
- Coat two 9-by-4-inch (2 1/4 or 1 kg) loaf pans with cooking spray, oil or butter, and line the bottom of each with a rectangle of parchment paper.
- Take half of dough from fridge (leave the other half chilled). Roll out on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width (the side closest to you) and as long in length (away from you) as you can when rolling it thin, likely 10 to 12 inches.
- Spread half of chocolate mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
- Brush the end farthest away from you with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight cigar. Seal the dampened end onto the log.
- Transfer the log to a plastic wrap-lined, rimmed baking tray. Place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. (This allows the log to be cut in half more easily.) Repeat with second dough.
- Trim last 1/2-inch off each end of log. Gently cut the log in half lengthwise and lay them next to each other on the counter, cut sides up. Pinch the top ends gently together. Lift one side over the next, forming a twist and trying to keep the cut sides facing out (because they’re pretty). Don’t worry if this step makes a mess, just transfer the twist as best as you can into the prepared loaf pan. (The dough will fill in any gaps by the time it’s done rising and baking, so don’t worry if the pan isn’t filled.) Note: Next time I would try crossing the dough more than once, if possible.
- Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise another 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a proofing drawer or at room temperature. Repeat process with second loaf.
Bake and finish cakes:
- Heat oven to 375°F (190°C), preferably on convection.
- Remove towels, place each loaf on the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A skewer inserted into an underbaked babka will feel stretchy/rubbery inside and may come back with dough on it. When fully baked, you’ll feel almost no resistance. If your babka needs more time, put it back, 5 minutes at a time then re-test. If it browns too quickly, you can cover it with foil.
While the babkas are baking, make the sugar syrup:
- Bring sugar and water to a simmer until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool somewhat.
- As soon as the babkas leave the oven, brush the syrup all over each. It will seem like too much, but will taste just right — glossy and moist.
- Let babkas cool about halfway in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way before eating. (or serve warm!)
Do ahead: Babkas keep for a few days at room temperature. Reheat prior to serving, if desired. If longer, freeze them. They freeze and defrost well.
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Posted in Baking, Cake, Coffee Cake, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Recipes, The Piggy Pancake (Breakfast)
Tags: babka, bread, brunch, cake, chocolate, coffee cake, dessert, Easter, Jerusalem, Krantz cake, loaf, Ottolenghi, Smitten Kitchen
This pudding gets its creaminess from avocados- and you would never know. It’s also made in minutes using a blender- fabulous! I love that it incorporated a vanilla bean and freshly squeezed orange juice too.
This recipe is from Gjusta in Venice, California, via Bon Appetit. Fresh and great.
Yield: Serves 8
- 2 large avocados, pits removed
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- ¼ cup (or more) fresh orange juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream, optional
- ¼ cup cocoa nibs and/or chopped hazelnuts, optional
- Scoop avocado flesh into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
- Scrape in vanilla bean seeds; reserve pod for another use.
- Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, agave nectar, orange juice, and salt and blend to a coarse purée.
- With motor running, gradually stream in ¾ cup hot (but not boiling) water; blend, adding more orange juice as needed, until smooth and creamy.
- Divide pudding among eight 4–6 oz. ramekins or small bowls and chill (uncovered) at least 2 hours.
- Just before serving, whip cream in a medium bowl to soft peaks and spoon over pudding, if desired; top with cocoa nibs and/or hazelnuts.
Note: Pudding can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
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Posted in Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Quick, Recipes
Tags: agave nectar, avocado, chocolate, cocoa, dessert, maple syrup, mousse, orange juice, pudding, vanilla bean, Vitamix
I dressed up a take-out pizza and salad night with this special dessert. Just as easy as box-mix brownies and much more fabulous! They are more like mini-soufflé cakes than warm puddings. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I used Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate and topped each pudding with salted caramel ice cream. They would have been just as delicious with vanilla bean ice cream- or coffee ice cream- or no ice cream?!? I’m bringing this wonderful dessert to Fiesta Friday #10 at the Novice Gardener this week. Enjoy! 🙂
- 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Ice cream (any flavor), for serving (optional) (I used salted caramel)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (on convection). Place four 6- to 8-ounce ovenproof bowls on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- Place chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally just until melted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in 2 tablespoons sugar, then egg yolks and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Still beating, gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until mixture is stiff and glossy.
- Using a rubber spatula, mix about 1/3 egg-white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture just until combined. Divide among bowls. (Puddings can be prepared in advance up to this point; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to 1 day.)
- Bake until tops are puffed and cracked but insides are still quite soft (a toothpick inserted in center will come out gooey), 10 to 12 minutes on convection, or longer if puddings were previously refrigerated.
- Serve, warm or at room temperature (puddings may sink as they cool), topped with ice cream, if desired.
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Posted in Baking, Cake, Cupcakes, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Quick, Recipes
Tags: chocolate, chocolate soufflé, dark chocolate, dessert, Fiesta Friday, gluten free, gluten free dessert, ice cream, pudding, soufflé
Mole is one of my favorite things in this world to eat. When we lived in Chicago, we would go to a restaurant that served a different type of mole every night of the week- heaven! When I saw Mario Batali make this mole on The Chew, I couldn’t wait to try it. Wonderful!! Yay! My family- especially my son- gobbled it up too. 🙂
The original recipe called for Mexican drinking chocolate, but, after an unsuccessful search for it, I substituted my favorite Trader Joe’s 72% cacao dark chocolate- perfect. According to Mario Batali, the burnt tortilla is very important for the resulting texture and smokiness of the sauce; I charred the corn tortilla on the open flame of my gas range. I also used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for convenience. The sesame seeds provided a contrasting texture in the otherwise smooth sauce. FABULOUS!!
- 8 Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs or 10-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 small White Onions (diced)
- 3 Garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1/2 cup Peanuts
- 1/4 cup whole Almonds
- 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
- 1 Corn Tortilla (charred and cut into 8 wedges)
- 4 large Guajillo; New Mexico; or California Chiles (stems removed)
- 3 large Dried Mulato or Ancho Chiles (stems removed)
- 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
- 2 cups Chicken Stock
- 3 ounces Mexican Drinking Chocolate or 72% cacao dark chocolate (grated)
- Cilantro (leaves only; to garnish)
- Lime Wedges (to garnish)
- Brown Basmati Rice, for serving
- Sour Cream, for serving, if desired
- In a large dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken deeply on all sides and remove to a plate. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon to the pot and cook over medium-low for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, charred tortilla, and chiles. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the contents of the bowl and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid, remove solids to a food processor, and pulse with just enough water to create a sauce-like paste.
- Pour the paste over the onion mixture, and add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and simmer 2 more minutes. Serve with rice, sour cream, and fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges, if desired.
Posted in Chicken (Poultry), Recipes, Sauces
Tags: almonds, ancho, ancho chiles, chicken thighs, chocolate, dark chocolate, dinner, guajillo, guajillo chiles, Mexican, mole, peanuts, sesame seeds