Chocolate, Pumpkin, and Walnut Babka

By now, I am sure every single one of you is exhausted by all of the pumpkin flavored things that seem to pop up every September 1st! They all seem to be the same tired flavors that we see every year.

After searching through the grocery store aisles for new and exciting pumpkin products, I thought to myself, "Why does no one combine pumpkin and chocolate?" and thus, this babka was born!

Making babka is always a long process, but I promise you it is so worth it!!


Dough

½ Cup milk or milk alternative

1 Tablespoon instant yeast

½ Cup sugar

1 bar of dark chocolate, chopped finely

4-5 Cups all purpose flour

1 Teaspoon kosher salt

2 Teaspoons cinnamon

1 Teaspoon vanilla

4 Eggs

10 Tablespoons butter, softened


Filling

1 Jar Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter

2 Cups walnuts, chopped and toasted

Chocolate chips, if desired


In a medium sized pot, warm the milk, sugar, chopped chocolate, and sugar until the chocolate is melted. Stir constantly so the chocolate does not burn. Stir in the yeast.

Pour into a large mixing bowl, or a mixer with a dough hook. Mix in the eggs, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, and flour until a soft dough begins to form. If the dough seems too sticky, add a couple of tablespoons more flour.

Add in the butter and mix until smooth and elastic. If the dough still seems too sticky, add in a couple more tablespoons of flour.

Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Grease a large bowl and allow the dough to rise for 2 hours. Because of the chocolate in the dough, it may not double in size, but there should be a sizeable rise.

Punch down the dough and allow to rise for at least another 2 hours. You can put the dough in the fridge at this point and allow it to do a cold rise for up to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake, divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll one of the portions into a 9inx13in rectangle. Spread half of the jar of pumpkin butter over the dough and sprinkle with toasted walnuts and chocolate chips (if desired).

Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough to create a tight spiral. Pinch the dough together to seal. Using a serrated knife, split the log in half the long way. You should now have two strands of dough. Starting in the middle, place one strand of dough over the other and continue until you get to the end. Repeat on the other half. Place the loaf in a very well greased loaf pan.

Repeat process with the other portion of dough. Let rise for another hour.

While rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After the last rise is complete, bake for 50-60 minutes.

While the babka is baking, heat ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Once the babka comes out of the oven, using a pastry brush, brush the sugar syrup over the top of the babka. Do this 3-5 times for the best results.

Turn the babka out of their pans and cool on a wire rack.





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