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Chocolate Babka-Babka al Cioccolato

This babka is a soft and fluffy yeast dough just bursting with chocolate. It makes the most perfect breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or even dessert. It's a work of love and is a family favorite.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Babka, Chocolate
Servings: 2 loaves

Ingredients

DOUGH

  • 1 cup hazelnut milk to keep dairy free, use your favorite non-dairy milk. Use regular milk if you're not dairy-free
  • 1 1/2 ounce envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water 100 to 110 degrees
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup margarine melted (I use Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks. Use unsalted butter if you're not dairy-free)
  • 4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

CHOCOLATE FILLING

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 oz dark chocolate melted* (I used a dairy free brand)
  • 1 cup margarine or use unsalted butter if you’re not dairy free, melted, plus 2 Tablespoons for brushing on before baking
  • cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans or hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup ground pecans or hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

  • Heat the milk (I used hazelnut milk) in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Add 1 T of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in the remaining 2 T sugar, eggs and margarine (or butter). Beat in cooled milk.
  • Gradually add the flour and salt, scraping down side of bowl, until a
  • soft dough forms.
  • Beat in the remaining 2 T sugar, eggs and butter. Beat in cooled milk. Gradually add the flour and salt, scraping down side of bowl, until a soft dough forms.
  • Turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead the remaining flour into the dough, adding more flour if too sticky. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth. The dough will be soft.
  • Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl. Swish the dough around the oil so it's covered all over with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2hours.
  • Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. (or one regular size loaf pan and 4 mini ones. If you don't have a mini loaf pan, you can use a muffin tin) . Spray with baking spray.
  • Making the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the melted margarine (or butter)and melted chocolate until it becomes spreadable; set aside. If you’re using the pecan topping, mix the ground pecans, sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Punch down the dough. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the chocolate over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on the sides. Sprinkle on pecan sugar mixture if using on top of the chocolate.
  • Brush the borders with water. Tightly roll the dough into an 18-inch log, rolling toward the clean border; pinch the seam to seal. Cut the ends off. Place the ends in a muffin tin.
  • Place roll seam-side down on the baking sheet. Cut the log in half so you now have two logs to work with. Cut the first half of the log in half lengthwise with a chef's knife.
  • Twist the two halves together, crossing one over the other a few times. Pinch the end together, then tuck both pinched ends under the loaf slightly. Carefully place in the first parchment lined loaf pan.
  • Repeat with the second log and place in the other parchment lined loaf pan (if you don't have two loaf pans, you could bake the other log on a parchment lined baking sheet or cut into smaller portions and place in mini loaf pans).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until plump, 30 minutes.
  • Uncover the loaf and brush melted margarine (or butter) on the loaves.
  • Bake the bread, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until golden brown (a thermometer inserted into the middle should register 170 degrees F to 175 degrees F), 30-35 minutes. (check the rolls and mini loaves as they may be done a few minutes before).

Notes

To melt margarine and chocolate, place them in a heat-proof bowl, and heat in the microwave in 20 second-intervals, stirring in between each interval, until melted and smooth (or alternatively, set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally).