I’ve been feeling kind of weird these past few days, and I’m going to chalk it all up to yet another bad case of wanderlust. Getting back from my year-end trip always puts me in this funk. I want to get up and go on another adventure! But being the realist that I am, I do know that without work, I don’t have the capacity to play at all. And well, there’s no other option but to let this mood pass I suppose. Life is not an extravagant fairytale.
I don’t believe in being excessive in life, but this loaf of bread is kind of cutting it close. In the way that babkas are, this Salted Chocolate Babka is very rich. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, and especially not for those who are currently undergoing their New Year’s diet or food cleanse.
Luckily, since I’m not one to eat without inhibitions even over the holidays, I haven’t gone through my quota and can enjoy this super chocolate-packed babka. Even though it feels like I’m eating dessert for breakfast!
As far as babkas go, I would say this is an incredibly indulgent loaf. Not only is there chocolate in here but marzipan too! The crumb is amazing and of course I can’t pass on the salt these days where chocolate is involved. Anything salted chocolate is ALWAYS good.
Adding the marzipan gave the filling a light almond-y sweetness and scent which was a nice change from just the usual straightforward chocolate filling. I bought my marzipan from Rustan’s Supermarket, if anybody’s wondering. My only gripe with this babka I made is how imperfect it looks. I seriously need to make the babkas a little prettier next time!
The only tip I can give is that it helps to leave about less than an inch of space on all sides of the dough as you spread the filling, just so the filling doesn’t overflow when the dough is being rolled. Also, it might have been too hot in the kitchen the day I made this. My filling looks kind of melty and runny in the process pics below. I can’t remember the specific details since in the tropics 97% of the time it is hot. But it’s never too hot to make bread, I always say.
If you’re in the mood for something tasty and maybe just a little bit over the top as far as bread loaves go, give this a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Salted Chocolate and Marzipan Babka
Makes Two 9-inch loaves
For the Babka Dough
- 1/4 cup sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup milk, warm
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, whisked together
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 Tablespoons butter, sliced into tablespoon portions and softened
For the Marzipan-Chocolate Filling
- 6 1/2 ounces 185 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 8 ounces 225 grams marzipan, grated*
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Make the dough
- 1. In a measuring glass, combine milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir a little bit and let sit for a few minutes until foamy on top. (If yeast does not foam up: your milk is either too hot or too cold; or your yeast no longer works.)
- 2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and flour. With the mixer on low, add the whisked eggs into the flour mixture, immediately followed by the yeast mixture.
- 3. Once the mixture forms a shaggy dough, add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing the dough for 7 to 10 minutes, until you have a smooth and slightly tacky dough.
- 4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or cling wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, line two loaf pans with parchment paper and then grease the parchment.
Make the filling
- 5. About 20 minutes before the end of the dough’s rising time, beat together butter, grated marzipan, and the cinnamon. Set aside
Assemble the babka
- 6. Once the dough has risen sufficiently, divide the dough in half and return one half to the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel while you work on the first half. Roll out dough into a large rectangle, about 9- X 12-inches.
- 7. Spread half the marzipan mixture over the rectangle and sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. From the long side, carefully roll the dough into a jellyroll shape, pinching the edge to seal.
- 8. Cut the dough down the length of the roll so that you have two long skinny pieces. Lay the cut dough filling side up, the start wrapping the two pieces around each other over and under so that you have a twisted loaf. Place the loaf in a loaf pan.
- 9. Repeat process with the other half of the dough. Let the loaves rise, covered, for an hour. About 20 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 10. Sprinkle the loaves with slivered almonds (if using) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and baked through. Let cool in the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes before unmoulding to a wire rack. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and then serve warm for the best eating experience!
In any case, it’s nice to have breads like this in the house every once in a while. And did I mention, this recipe makes two loaves? Oh but you probably already saw that. 😛