Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chocolate Babka muffins for Baking Partner's challenge and a BIG FAT alert :-)

Yayy!! I made it, middle of the week and I came home and baked and more importantly I am blogging about it. I just didn't want to ask Swathi for extension one more time :-). Well, if you follow my blog, you know today being the 15th of the month, it is time for a team of home bakers to bake and present a selected recipe. Swathi gave us 2 choices this time, I already have a carrot cake on the blog (which I think is the best ever carrot cake :-)), so chose to make these chocolate Babka muffins. They looked cute and adorable and ofcourse highly fattening with oodles of butter every step of the way. This fares at the top of the list of my 'most calorie dense' recipes so far on the blog.
All you health conscious people, before you go away trying to calm that pounding heart of yours, let me tell you the silver lining(s) of my version of the recipe. Well, I wish I could claim it was butterless, sugarless, eggless muffin like I always do :-), Alas, no such luck this time, it is eggless though (first silver lining if you are allergic to eggs or just don't like them) and I cut the butter by a third and sugar by a third. Given that this is a brioche type of dough, that reduction in butter and given that it is meant to be a cake, that reduction of sugar speak volumes about my concern for your health and mine too. I am misleading you here a little bit and intentionally too, here is the real story, I have not actually reduced butter or sugar from the main recipe but just chose not execute one part of the recipe. I cut some corners and did not add the streusel topping the original recipe called for. Swathi, I hope this still qualifies for the baking partner's challenge :-). If any of you are thinking that you missed out on the full blown buttery babka, let me assure you that is not the case and if it is any consolation the streusel topping didn't particularly look pretty :-) either, so nothing lost there..

What came out of the oven was most definitely delicious, buttery sweet, oozing melted chocolate, dreamy babkas which made the kitchen smell like Cinnabon's store front (if they were making fresh cinnamon buns that day in that location!) on a lazy weekend morning and made me a very happy baker. Thanks Tammy for suggesting the recipe, it is a keeper and I will make it again as long as I can find people to share it with.

My wiki knowledge about babka are that they are of Ukrainian origin, made sweet or savory (potatoes) with a really rich dough and served during Easter celebrations. They are also baked as loaves which you can slice up and slather some more butter on and enjoy. I liked the mini versions (not really mini as they grew in size, if you want small servings, make 18 pieces from the same dough).
This is a really simple and easy recipe, if you don't count the wait times, the actual hands on time is really small. So you can prepare it in between your other chores. I do not believe that the baked muffins have a long shelf life but you can freeze the rolled log in the refrigerator and and bake them fresh as needed. You just need to keep it out for a couple of hours for it to come to room temperature before baking.

DD has been working on a project for school and I gave her a mommy lecture about effects of procrastinating when I came home this evening only to be given a little reverse lecture from her later in the night as she found me scrambling to take the pictures on the day the post was due on the blog :-), that sets the score even for now and we can go back to being the happy mommy & daughter again (until next time that is..).

I have used unsweetened apple sauce as the egg replacement in this recipe. If you really want to know the streusel topping, you can refer to other baking partner's posts for details.
What do you need to make Babka muffins?
Recipe source 
Dough ingredients: 


1/2 cup warm milk (warm it to 110 degrees if you own a thermometer)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tsp instant (rapid rise) yeast
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (my replace for 1 large egg)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 Tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
Filling ingredients:
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tsp freshly ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
How do you make Babka muffins?
Dough preparation:
  • Using a stand mixer, combine warm milk, sugar, yeast and blend a couple of times.
  • Add the apple sauce, flour and salt and mix until a sticky dough begins to form.
  • Add the butter and mix in until well blended.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is soft and supple. It will still be quite loose in texture - do not add additional flour.
  • Put the kneaded dough in a buttered :-) or oiled bowl, cover and let it rest until it doubles in volume. It will take a couple of hours.
Filling preparation:
  • Put all ingredients except butter in a blender and blend it until chocolate chips are broken into tiny crumbs and mostly powdery.
  • Add butter and blend it till it comes together.
  • Keep aside until ready to use.
Making Babka muffins:
  • Line a muffin tray (makes 12 muffins) with paper liners.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Turn over the dough on to the working area, press it gently to deflate, let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Using dry flour, roll the dough into a thin rectangle of about 12X20 inches.
  • Spread the filling evenly all over the top of the rectangle. 
  • Starting from one end, roll it into a tight log.
  • Cut with a sharp knife into 12-1 inch pieces. 
  • Place them into the prepared muffin pans, cover with a tea towel and let it rise for about 30 minutes. 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it is poofy and starts to brown at the edges. 
  • Take it out onto the cooling rack and let cool or enjoy them warm :-)
These Babka muffins are going to a party with the rest of the Baking partners here.. 
Notes: 
  • The dough is easily made in a stand mixer, it is a little difficult to handle manually because of the amount of butter and the consistency of the dough. As long as you can successfully curb the urge to add more dry flour to make the dough manageable, go ahead and do it the old fashioned way using your own hands.