I am so excited to share this with you! I have been experimenting with a chocolate bread recipe. I wanted to come up with one that was a combination of brioche and babka. A sweet, but not too sweet, dough layered with just the right amount of semi sweet chocolate. Of course the chocolate bread also had to have a crumb topping. If we are going to go for it well then let’s go for it. I used my cinnamon roll recipe as the base of the dough but added an additional egg yolk, some vanilla extract and a little extra butter. So should we call this Babka, Brioche or Briochka? The dough is softer and fluffier than a typical babka, more like a brioche but it is cut and twisted like a babka so really I guess Briochka is probably the best name.
The result is a buttery, sweet brioche style bread with layers of chocolate running throughout. It’s sweet but not too sweet. The chocolate filling for the babka is made by melting butter and semi sweet chocolate morsels and then mixing in confectionary sugar and cocoa powder to make a chocolate paste. The paste is then spread over the rolled out dough before the dough is rolled. The technique is very similar to cinnamon rolls but we cut the roll in half instead of slices. Each half will fit in one loaf pan. The half is cut vertically and then twisted before being placed in a loaf pan sprayed with baking spray or greased with butter.
How do I prevent gaps in my babka?
No one likes large gaps of air between their layers of babka. There are a few ways to prevent this.
Roll the dough slowly and tightly. Pull the dough slightly back as you roll forward.
Spooning a little half and half over the dough after the second rise will help keep the layers together
Brush top of dough with egg wash before sprinkling on crumb topping
Let bread cool for 15 minutes in pan before you remove babka to cut
Can I Use a Different Filling in the Babka?
Yes, you can fill the dough with several different fillings. Spread Nutella over the dough before rolling or try raspberry jam or cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. You can also add chopped walnuts or raisins if you like. Be creative.
I have been trying to perfect the cinnamon roll recipe for awhile. Some are too dry, some are too cakey, some don’t have enough cinnamon, some are too sweet. I have finally perfected the recipe. After many tries, and I’m sure a few extra pounds, I have come up with a recipe that has the perfect amount of sugary cinnamon with the right softness of dough.
This recipe does not require a lot of ingredients but it does require some time. The rising process is very important in yielding fluffy rolls that goes oh so well with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling. I also think adding a bit of half and half or milk before baking the rolls keeps the rolls moist and gooey and the filling doesn’t dry out. I use instant yeast in this recipe and bread flour. You can substitute all purpose flour and active dry yeast if that’s all you can find. If you are using active yeast you will need to dissolve it in warm (not hot) milk before adding the sugar and eggs. I think instant yeast is easier to work with because you just add it to the flour and it doesn’t need to be activated but really either is fine. Just make sure that your yeast isn’t old. I also like King Arthur bread flour instead of all purpose. King Arthur makes amazing flour. The bread flour is higher in gluten and has 12.7% protein which results in a loftier and consistent texture. I use this flour in all the bread I make. It is also great for homemade pizza dough. If you don’t have bread flour do not worry, you can use all purpose and the rolls will still be delicious. The final touch to making these rolls exceptional is spooning some half and half or milk over each roll after they have risen and before you bake them in the oven. This prevents the rolls, and filling from drying out.
I like a simple powdered sugar frosting, I do not like cream cheese frosting on my cinnamon rolls. I think its too heavy and takes away from the lightness of the rolls. The cinnamon rolls are sweet and decadent enough, the frosting should just add a bit of glaze to the top.
Can I make the dough the night before?
Yes, you can make the recipe up to when you are suppose to let the rolls rise for a second time. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and let them rise for about an hour before baking. They should be double the size as when you put in the refrigerator. After the rolls have risen pour half and half over them. Let the half and half absorb into the rolls. Gently pour out liquid that has not been absorbed and bake in oven as directed.
Baking is a great indoor activity. It’s fun to do alone or with friends and family. Christmas cookies should not only look good but they should also taste great. This is a simple recipe that comes together in a matter of minutes. I have been using this recipe since my children were small and each year we set aside an afternoon to bake and decorate cookies. I used to love when they actually believed that they were making cookies for Santa which is why we started calling them Santa Cookies.
This Sugar Cookie recipe is easy and absolutely delicious. It is much easier to roll the dough when it is slightly chilled so you should divide the dough into four pieces, roll them each into a ball and chill. Take them out of the refrigerator when you are ready to roll and cut out the shapes. After cutting the shapes re-roll the scraps and put back in refrigerator for a few minutes so you can use all the dough. This recipe should make about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of the cookie cutters. We like making a variety of sizes, some bite sized and some that are 2 or 3 inches. It’s really up to you.
Carefully use a spatula to lift the cookie off the surface and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overtake the cookies, they should only take 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from oven when the edges start to turn a very light brown. Let cool completely before frosting. I recommend making your own frosting and placing it into squeeze bottles. Squeeze bottles makes frosting the cookies much easier and the frosting will not dry out as quickly. The frosting needs to have a little corn syrup in it in order to dry with a nice sheen on top. This makes the cookies absolutely beautiful. Use food coloring to color the frosting and place each in a separate bottle.
The cookies can be stored for 5 days in an airtight container. They are so festive and fun to make and look beautiful served after dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas. The cookies also make a great homemade gift. Buy cookie boxes or tins and wrap a beautiful red ribbon around it to give as a holiday gift to friends and family. Homemade gifts are so thoughtful to give, especially edible ones. They are gifts that took your time to make, which is the greatest gift of all. Please share your cookie pictures with me on instagram by tagging @itsjennsview . I would love to see how they come out!!!
There is nothing better than a warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. I wanted to make hot chocolate a bit more interesting. The basic hot cocoa recipe will remain the same but we can definitely jazz it up a bit. I find that rimming a glass mug with peppermint, crumbled cookies or graham crackers is always a great way to fancy up hot chocolate. This can also be done ahead of time so all you have to do is make the hot chocolate. Rim the mug with graham cracker crumbs, pour in hot chocolate, add marshmallows and use a torch to ignite the marshmallows and you have my version of S’mores Hot Chocolate. It is also fun to put out a hot chocolate bar for friends and family. to help themselves. Make the hot chocolate and place in a thermos to keep warm, rim several mugs with various toppings like peppermint, oreo crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, mini M&M’s, etc… Put out cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, marshmallows, whipped cream. I also put out Baileys, Kahlua, Brandy and Chambord for the adults to mix in for a grown up hot chocolate. Let your imagination go and have fun with it!
Ah, the cupcake. A perfectly sized single serving dessert usually eaten as a child. Why should kids have all the fun? I have added coffee, a little spice and some brandy to these cupcakes which make them ideal to serve at your next grown-up dinner or holiday. These cupcakes also work well served bite sized. Just use a 24 cup cupcake tin and reduce baking time in half. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top before serving or some edible gold stars.
This is a family favorite. My kids love to walk into the house when the apple crisp is baking in the oven. It makes the whole house smell delicious. It is the perfect Fall and Winter dessert and is oh so easy….
5 apples – peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
7 tablespoons butter – softened
Preheat oven to 350
Toss apples with cinnamon and place in a buttered baking dish. Mix flour and sugar together and then blend in softened butter. Use a fork to keep mixing until it is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples and bake in oven for 30 minutes until bubbling and starting to brown on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.