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Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: Heat milk in a small saucepan over moderate heat until just warm but not hot, about 110°F.  Pour into a small bowl with a pinch of sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast, stir then cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until slightly foamy. Bring butter to room temperature, cut into cubes.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt together in a small bowl then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Place eggs, vanilla and orange zest in a small bowl and whisk together. Add the egg mixture and proofed yeast into the stand mixer bowl, mixing on low speed for about 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Add the butter, little by little with the stand mixer running on low speed until fully incorporated. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally until the dough is completely smooth and shiny.
  3. Flour hands, then transfer dough to a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator overnight. 
  4. The following day:
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge and place in a warm location for 1 hour. While it comes to temperature, prepare pans and filling.
  6. Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil. Line each pan with parchment paper so that the paper extends over the long sides of the pans.
  7. Prepare the filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Transfer to oven and roast for 10 minutes until golden and toasted. Remove from oven and place them into a towel-lined bowl. Gather towel and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then rub nuts in towel to release skins. Discard skins and roughly chop half the quantity of nuts, then finely chop the other half. Set aside.
  8. Shape babkas: Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll one portion out on a lightly floured surface to a 9 x 16-inch rectangle. Spread with half the quantity of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Sprinkle with half the quantity of chocolate chips followed by half the quantities of roughly and finely chopped hazelnuts.
  9. Roll the dough as you would a jelly roll, from the long side of the rectangle up. Slice the roll completely in half lengthwise to expose the filling. On one side, pinch the ends of each slice together, then begin twisting each together as if braiding them. Place into a prepared pan, tucking the ends underneath. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with the second portion of dough to create the second loaf.
  10. Place loaves in warm place for 1½ hours until almost double in size.
  11. Transfer to oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a tester comes away clean without resistance.
  12. Prepare the glaze: While the loaves are baking, combine sugar and water in a small pan and heat over moderate heat until hot. Remove from heat.
  13. Apply glaze: As soon as the babkas come out of the oven, brush the glaze on top, dividing the quantity between the two. Let babkas cool on a wire rack until they are just warm, then remove from pans and let cool completely before serving. Serve warmed or at room temperature.
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A fabulous yeast dough, sprinkled with chocolate chips and hazelnuts, then rolled with a chocolate-hazelnut filling before getting split, braided and baked…

  • clock icon
    85 MIN
  • 2x12 SERVINGS
Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka

You’re going to savour every bite of our CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT BABKA.

This very delicious homemade baked good is really something, and if you’ve never tried a BABKA before, this is the one to make. We guarantee it rivals anything you might find at even the best of bakeries. Imagine a light, flavourful yeast dough, rolled up with mini chocolate chips, toasted hazelnuts and a chocolate-hazelnut spread. The roll gets shaped into an attractive loaf after being split down the middle and braided to reveal the nutty, chocolatey interior. Then, the final twist of fabulous has the baked loaf brushed with sweet glaze; seriously this CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT BABKA is it!

Because this sweetened bread recipe is so delicious, we’re thinking you might want to BOOKMARK this page for future reference. It’s also a two-for-one special; yup the yield is two loaves, so it has play over the holidays as a great gift idea. Lastly, SHARE this recipe with friends and PIN it on Pinterest too; they’ll love it as much as you will, for sure.

If a homemade bread recipe is what brought you here, we have others equally as wonderful as this babka. Definitely circle back and give our EASTER BREAD a try. Other faves include this made-from-scratch SOURDOUGH BREAD, these crowd-pleasing MENNONITE POTATO ROLLS and our show-stopping CRANBERRY-ORANGE BUN WREATH.

For now, let’s get to the good stuff. Here are some things to keep in mind when you go to make CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT BABKA:

The ingredients needed to make Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka
Fingers crossed you’ve got this in your pantry plus the three ingredients in the next pic. Woot!

INGREDIENTS

Two photos of the ingredients needed to make this babka recipe. The first is all of the things you’ll need to make the yeast dough. The usual suspects are in attendance including flour, butter, milk, sugar, eggs and two flavour enhancements; orange zest and nutmeg. The orange and nutmeg were inspired by our looking for ways to enhance the flavour of the yeast dough so that it might play off the chocolate-hazelnut filling. The combo is quite amazing and we’re super pleased with the result. To my niece who dislikes nutmeg, swap it out with cinnamon.

The filling is made with hazelnuts, chocolate chips and chocolate hazelnut spread like Nutella.
Isn’t that a fabulous photo!

The second photo of ingredients showcases the three things you’ll need to make the filling for the babkas. During the crafting and testing of this recipe, I initially set out to make a ganache using cocoa powder, unsalted butter, cream and handmade marzipan. Thankfully, I heard the voice of reason, “Keep it simple, Nik!”. Instead, we’re simply putting hazelnuts, chocolate chips and a favourite chocolatey hazelnut spread to good use. Thank you voice of reason!

A bowl of the yeast dough flavoured with orange zest and nutmeg.
Don’t forget to make the yeast dough the day before you intend to bake your babkas.

YEAST DOUGH

Making this yeast dough is super easy thanks to us doing everything with a stand mixer – I’ve provided a link to purchase down below if you need one. There are three tips to making this yeast dough. First, check the best before date on the yeast before you begin to make sure it hasn’t passed its prime. Then, make sure to sprinkle the yeast on warm, not hot, milk – hot milk will kill the yeast. For reference, your goal temperature is 110°F. The last thing about this dough is to make sure you prepare it the day before, as directed. Giving the gluten a chance to relax in the fridge overnight ensures a light dough that still expands as it bakes.

The ingredients for the filling ready to be added to the dough
Wait until you try the bread ribboned with this scrumptious filling.

FILLING

Preparing to craft the babkas requires us to divide the dough into two equal portions. After rolling each one into a rectangle on your work surface, you’ll need to spread and sprinkle the filling ingredients across the surface, beginning with the chocolate-hazelnut spread; we used Nutella, but other brands work too. Spread it out in an even layer across the dough, trying to coax it to the very edge.

A large rectangle of dough smeared with the spread and sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
Try to get the filling to the very edge of the dough.

After that, sprinkle the surface with the semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and toasted chopped hazelnuts. Do your best to distribute the chips and chopped nuts evenly but don’t worry too much, this bread welcomes “creative” sprinklers, LOL!

The babka dough rolled up like a jelly roll.
A classic technique to create a filled confection – brilliant!

JELLY ROLL

The rolling up of the babka is akin to the process we used to create our famous LEMON JELLY ROLL. In this case, though, we suggest rolling the babka up firmly. The tighter the roll, the more ribboning in the dough once you cut it open and braid it. Probably the best suggestion is for you to follow your gut on this step, remembering there are no mistakes when you’re on a roll.

The babka after being split and braided.
It’s okay if the filling gets a bit loose during the braid.

CUT AND BRAID

Similar to the rolling, the cut and braiding of the babka dough is really forgiving. The one essential thing to remember is to make sure you cut the roll through completely in half, lengthwise. This will help the two halves twist for the braid without incident. Ideally, you want the filling to stay within the ribbons of dough as you braid. Thankfully, there are two loaves in the recipe, so if shaping the first goes awry, you’ll do better on the second.

Two loaf pans and parchment paper to line them.
If you’ve got a keepsake or vintage pan, now’s the time to use it.

PANS

Nothing complicated about the prep for the baking pans for these babkas. Basically, you grease the loaf tin and do a classic cross-lining of parchment paper with an overhang. Watch this VIDEO to see us make ours. If giving one of the babkas to a friend, maybe consider giving it to them in a keepsake loaf pan as we did. It’s a nice touch. 

Two Chocolate-Hazelnut Babkas ready for the oven.
Tuck the ends of the loaves underneath for a tidy presentation.

EASY BAKE

Although we’re thinking our 40-minute bake time is perfect, I do worry about my vintage oven’s finicky temperature. Here’s a helpful tip; test the babkas at 35 minutes, just to be safe. If a cake tester or brochette goes in without tension or sticking, your babkas are done. If not, leave them in for an additional 5 minutes.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka
Love the way the loaves get shiny once the glaze is applied.

GLAZE

I kind of think glazing the CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT BABKA is one of the highlights of making it. First, your kitchen is going to be filled with the heady aromas of sweet bread baked with chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. Second, the glaze takes mere minutes to prepare and is basically a melt of sugar in water to create a simple syrup. Lastly, seeing the babkas soak up the glaze as you brush it on; you just know they are going to be so tasty!

A Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka ready to be enjoyed and a second one wrapped as a gift.
One for you, the other for a friend!

GIFT IDEA

If you do take our suggestion and give one of the two babkas to a friend, don’t overcomplicate the presentation. You’ll need nothing more than the freshly prepared loaf, some cellophane wrap and a foot of ribbon. If made the day before you intend to give, wrap the loaf in clear wrap once it has cooled completely on the wire rack. This will keep it moist until the recipient has at it. Another storage option is to wrap it in foil before placing it in a covered container. Both of these techniques keep babka fresh as the day it was made.

The babka sliced to reveal the nutty, chocolate interior.
Each slice jammed with that scrumptious filling.

ENJOY

I often close posts with details on how best to serve and enjoy a recipe, and in this case, it’s very straightforward. Cut the babka with a serrated knife into ¾- to 1-inch slices and serve with a favourite warm beverage. I love coffee with this dessert as it enhances the flavours of dark chocolate. Another option is a beautiful red, a luscious digestif or champers, especially if you plan to enjoy it over the holidays.

Such a treat, CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT BABKA is that, and more!

WATCTV

Products used in this recipe

Just click on the below links to purchase items through Amazon.com and add them to your collection. Happy shopping!

Chocolate-Hazelnut Babka

Ingredients

  • For the dough:
  • ½ cup whole milk

  • a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 3 ¾ cups (530 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, more as needed

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

  • 10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil for greasing bowl and pans
  • For chocolate hazelnut filling:
  • cups of chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cups hazelnuts
  • For the glaze:
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough: Heat milk in a small saucepan over moderate heat until just warm but not hot, about 110°F.  Pour into a small bowl with a pinch of sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of dry active yeast, stir then cover and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes until slightly foamy. Bring butter to room temperature, cut into cubes.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt together in a small bowl then pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Place eggs, vanilla and orange zest in a small bowl and whisk together. Add the egg mixture and proofed yeast into the stand mixer bowl, mixing on low speed for about 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Add the butter, little by little with the stand mixer running on low speed until fully incorporated. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally until the dough is completely smooth and shiny.
  3. Flour hands, then transfer dough to a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator overnight. 
  4. The following day:
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge and place in a warm location for 1 hour. While it comes to temperature, prepare pans and filling.
  6. Lightly grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil. Line each pan with parchment paper so that the paper extends over the long sides of the pans.
  7. Prepare the filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts onto a parchment-lined baking tray. Transfer to oven and roast for 10 minutes until golden and toasted. Remove from oven and place them into a towel-lined bowl. Gather towel and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then rub nuts in towel to release skins. Discard skins and roughly chop half the quantity of nuts, then finely chop the other half. Set aside.
  8. Shape babkas: Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll one portion out on a lightly floured surface to a 9 x 16-inch rectangle. Spread with half the quantity of chocolate-hazelnut spread. Sprinkle with half the quantity of chocolate chips followed by half the quantities of roughly and finely chopped hazelnuts.
  9. Roll the dough as you would a jelly roll, from the long side of the rectangle up. Slice the roll completely in half lengthwise to expose the filling. On one side, pinch the ends of each slice together, then begin twisting each together as if braiding them. Place into a prepared pan, tucking the ends underneath. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat with the second portion of dough to create the second loaf.
  10. Place loaves in warm place for 1½ hours until almost double in size.
  11. Transfer to oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a tester comes away clean without resistance.
  12. Prepare the glaze: While the loaves are baking, combine sugar and water in a small pan and heat over moderate heat until hot. Remove from heat.
  13. Apply glaze: As soon as the babkas come out of the oven, brush the glaze on top, dividing the quantity between the two. Let babkas cool on a wire rack until they are just warm, then remove from pans and let cool completely before serving. Serve warmed or at room temperature.

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