I have been looking at the Chocolate Babka recipe on Smitten Kitchen for a while now. I sooo want to make that babka. All Seinfeldness aside, it just looks like a to-die for sweet bread. The time involved is what has kept me from baking it. But, since we had to make brioche for last week’s TWD(Thanks Peabody!), I had some buttery yeasty goodness to work with. Now that I had the buttery bread dough to work with, what was I to make? Well, the fab Nikki, leader of the new cult classic blog even, Master Baker, had declared Easter Candy as the theme for the month. Easter Candy?? WTF!! And the disclaimer is something about not just using Peeps in your entry. Really going for the heart there, arent ya Nikki. Well, I wanted to make the babka, but I did not have enough really high quality chocolate to make SK’s Chocolate Babka. What I did have, was Peanut M&Ms and Cadbury Mini Eggs in dark. Sounded good enough to me!
This was a hodge podge recipe. The dough came from Dorie’s Golden Brioche. The filling is a Slush Special. I took the M&Ms, Cadbury Mini Eggs and pulvarized them in the Cuisinart. I added some butter to hold them together like a paste. The streusel topping is from SK. I follow the directions for making a babka from SK too. I totally winged putting it together. Praying the 2 recipes would meld together in an Easter Candy recipe. Things took a slight turn for the worse when I undercooked it. I thought it was done. It looked done. It smelled done. I wasnt sure how to feel if it was done, but hell, I just THOUGHT it was done. Alas, it was not. When I tried to take it out of the loaf pan, it kind of lost its structural integrity. This slight mistake on my part did not take away from the taste. I would recommend cooking the babka at least 45-60 minutes. Making sure to cover it at the 30 min mark to avoid over browning. This is what I should have done, but did not. You all know I am a doofus though, and thats an endearing quality, riiight?
The verdict.. even though it was so obviously not cooked, it tasted like Easter Candy Heaven. The bread, oh my the bread. It is a pure sin. I fell in love with the bread part alone. The M&M, Cadbury Dark Mini Egg and Peep filling was delightful. The Peeps melted, but hell they are marshmallows. They melt, but they left behind their gooey goodness. Jaos, who rarely likes really sweet sweets, loved it. We both picked at it all night. I finally packed it up. I was picking at it everytime I went through the kitchen. And I go through the kitchen a lot. I may have eaten 1/3 of it myself. Forgive me Easter Bunny, for I have sinned!
So come on, I know you have left over Easter Candy. I suggest you wrap that stuff into an Easter Candy Babka. You will not be disappointed. It is going to be an Easter tradition for me from now on. Its that good. (Just make sure you cook it until it is done!)
Easter Candy Babka
Golden Brioche Loaves
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.
Easter Candy Filling
1/2 cup Peanut M&Ms
1/2 cup Cadbury Dark Mini Eggs
3 TB butter
Put the candy into the food processor and process till the candy becomes a fine powder. Add the butter to make a paste.
Streusel Topping (I made 1/3 this amount since I was only making one loaf.)
Makes 3 3/4 cups.
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.
1 package of Peeps of your choice
Follow the Golden Brioche recipe until you are to roll them into logs. Instead, roll the dough into a good sized rectangle. Mine was about 16x 12. Spread the Easter candy paste over the dough. Make sure to go all the way to edges on 3 of the 4 sides, leaving a half inch on the side closest to you. Cut the Peeps into neat slices. Lay the Peeps over the chocolate paste layer. Roll up the dough starting with the far edge bringing the dough towards you. Roll as tightly as possible. Seal the dough as best you can, do not forget the ends. Twist the loaf a good 2-3 times and place in a buttered and floured 9×5 loaf pan. Sprinkle streusel on top and put in a slighly warm place to rise until the loaf has not quite doubled. It should feel puffy to the touch when it is done rising. Place in a 350 degree F oven for 45-60 minutes, making sure to cover around the 30 minute mark if starting to over brown.
When the loaf is done and sounds hallow when you thump the center, place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then, take the babka out of the pan and place on cooling rack to cool completely.