Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

This chocolate hazelnut babka is the perfect treat for those long winter evenings. Wonderful to enjoy on its own, with a mug of hot milk or with some tea.

Chocolate hazelnut babka sliced, served with cream cheese.

Ingredients in This Chocolate Hazelnut Babka Recipe

  • Eggs – yeast cakes like higher temperatures so it’s a good practice to take the eggs out of the fridge around 30 minutes before baking. If you’re in a rush and don’t have the full 30 minutes, try to put them into a bowl filled with hot water for a few minutes.
  • Granulated sugar – white sugar will be best to use. Brown sugar contains molasses which makes for its unique flavor that won’t be a good fit with this cake.
  • Milk – of your choice. You can use either plant based (e.g. oat, almond, soy) or traditional milk which will make for a richer flavor.
  • Butter – I make this reference almost every time, but a good quality butter really can make or brake the flavor of the cake. Make sure you choose your favorite, high quality butter brand.
  • Yeast – either dried or fresh. I have outlined the specific quantities for both in the recipe section below.
  • Baking staples – all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt and some vanilla extract for that amazing flavor.
  • Dark chocolate – I recommend using chocolate with around 70-80% (or more) cocoa quantity.
  • Hazelnuts – peeled, they don’t need to be blanched.
Baked babka in a loaf tin, a few slices on the side served with cream cheese.

How to Make Chocolate Hazelnut Babka?

  1. Take the eggs out of the fridge and warm them to room temperature (approx. 1 hour or at least 30 minutes). If you have no time at all, put them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before use.
  2. IF USING FRESH YEAST: In a small bowl, combine the yeast with a tablespoon of flour, a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm (but not boiling hot) milk. Set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes to rise (they should double their volume during this time). Dried yeast – skip this step.
  3. In a small pot, heat up milk with sugar, until sugar dissolves and let it cool to room temperature. In a second pot, melt the butter (only until it melts, so as not to overheat it). Combine egg and yolk in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Fit stand mixer with the hook attachment. Sift flour into the bowl of the stand mixer, add the fresh risen yeast (if you use dried yeast combine it with flour now), warm milk and eggs and combine gently with your hand or a spatula. Add a tablespoon of melted butter and start kneading the dough at the slow speed of the mixer. Continue adding a tablespoon of melted butter throughout the entire process. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead for 10 more minutes.
  5. Cover the kneaded dough with a cloth and set aside in a warm place for approx. 1 hour to rise.
  6. While the dough is rising, melt the chocolate in a water bath. Pour water into a medium-sized pot, bring to a boil and reduce the heating power to the smallest. In a bowl (the size that fits the pot, so that it does not drown in it but remains on its edges) break the chocolate into cubes. Place the bowl on a pot of boiling water and (taking care not to burn yourself!) stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside.
  7. Chop hazelnuts into smaller pieces.
  8. Prepare a 20×40 cm (8×16 inch) cake tin, grease and lined with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  9. When the dough has risen, roll it out into a thin (approx. 1 cm / 0.5 inch dough thickness) rectangle. Spread it with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Roll it up, cut it in half lengthwise and braid, folding one half over the other. Put it into a previously prepared cake tin and set aside for about 20 minutes to rise.
  10. Put into the preheated oven and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 20-25 minutes. If the top becomes too brown after 10-15 minutes, switch to using only the bottom heater and bake until the 20 minute time mark. Take out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve while still warm, preferably with a glass of warm milk.
Slices of babka served with cream cheese and milk.

How to Shape a Babka?

Before you embark on the joyous adventure of shaping your babka, make sure you let the dough rise well. Try to let it rest in a warm place, covered with a kitchen cloth for at least 45 minutes up to an hour. Once it’s risen, sprinkle your working surface with some flour, take the dough out of the bowl and, in your hands, spread it gently into a small square. Transfer onto your working surface and start rolling the dough until it’s approx. 1cm (0.5 inch) thick, adding more flour when and where needed to prevent it from ripping. Cut off any irregular, excessive dough on the edges to form an even rectangle, spread melted chocolate and hazelnuts on top.

Now, the fun part of shaping the babka begins! Starting from the shorter edge, start gently rolling the entire cake to the opposite edge. Then make sure to place the rolling seam downwards, onto the working surface. Using a large knife, cut the babka in half lengthwise and start braiding interchangeably, folding one half over the other. See this video for a full visual. When the babka is ready, transfer gently into the earlier prepared cake tin and let it rest a few minutes before placing in the oven.

Chocolate hazelnut babka sliced, served with cream cheese and milk.
Swirled babka with a few slices on the side.

Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

This chocolate hazelnut babka is the perfect treat for those long winter evenings. Wonderful to enjoy on its own, with a mug of hot milk or with some tea.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: babka, chocolate, comfort food, doughy, hazelnut, nutella, yeast
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Marta

Ingredients

  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 egg yolk (large)
  • 70 g granulated sugar
  • 150 ml milk (plant based)
  • 80 g butter
  • 8 g dried yeast (or 25 g fresh yeast)
  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 100 g hazelnuts

Instructions

  • Take the eggs out of the fridge and warm them to room temperature (approx. 1 hour or at least 30 minutes). If you have no time at all, put them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes before use.
  • IF USING FRESH YEAST: In a small bowl, combine the yeast with a tablespoon of flour, a tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of warm (but not boiling hot) milk. Set aside in a warm place for 10-15 minutes to rise (they should double their volume during this time). Dried yeast – skip this step.
  • In a small pot, heat up milk with sugar, until sugar dissolves and let it cool to room temperature. In a second pot, melt the butter (only until it melts, so as not to overheat it). Combine egg and yolk in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Fit stand mixer with the hook attachment. Sift flour into the bowl of the stand mixer, add the fresh risen yeast (if you use dried yeast combine it with flour now), warm milk and eggs and combine gently with your hand or a spatula. Add a tablespoon of melted butter and start kneading the dough at the slow speed of the mixer. Continue adding a tablespoon of melted butter throughout the entire process. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed of the mixer to medium and knead for 10 more minutes.
  • Cover the kneaded dough with a cloth and set aside in a warm place for approx. 1 hour to rise.
  • While the dough is rising, melt the chocolate in a water bath. Pour water into a medium-sized pot, bring to a boil and reduce the heating power to the smallest. In a bowl (the size that fits the pot, so that it does not drown in it but remains on its edges) break the chocolate into cubes. Place the bowl on a pot of boiling water and (taking care not to burn yourself!) stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside.
  • Chop hazelnuts into smaller pieces.
  • Prepare a 20×40 cm (8×16 inch) cake tin, grease and lined with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • When the dough has risen, roll it out into a thin (approx. 1 cm / 0.5 inch dough thickness) rectangle. Spread it with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Roll it up, cut it in half lengthwise and braid, folding one half over the other. Put it into a previously prepared cake tin and set aside for about 20 minutes to rise.
  • Put into the preheated oven and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 20-25 minutes. If the top becomes too brown after 10-15 minutes, switch to using only the bottom heater and bake until the 20 minute time mark. Take out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Serve while still warm, preferably with a glass of warm milk.

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