Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crumb Babka

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Growing up in New York, babkas were a part of my life. They're sweet, yeast risen cakes common in Eastern Europe (and, obviously, New York) where they were typically filled with dried fruit. The Jewish version is more common now and filled with chocolate and cinnamon, twisted into a loaf shape. If you're a fan of the old Seinfeld show, you know that Jerry considered the chocolate version superior and it's hard to argue with that.


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I've made a chocolate babka before (get the recipe here) with a swirl of cinnamon and good thick layer of crumb topping. It was epically good babka so, can it be topped? Well, as big a fan as I am of my childhood chocolate favorite, I'm an even bigger fan of peanut butter. Nut butter is not common in either Eastern European or Jewish cuisine but there's no denying how well it goes with chocolate. And I'll usually choose peanut butter anything over any other flavor.

The trick was to get the peanut butter to bake in layers without absorbing into the dough and I did that by combining it with butter and a bit of sugar first to make a paste. That way, when you slice into the babka you have layers of chocolate and peanut butter in every bite. Some babka purists might consider it a crime to include the peanut butter but I've seen babkas with no crumb topping and that's a downright sin in my book. Enjoy!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crumb Babka
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by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 45 Minutes (plus 1 hour, 20 mi
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Ingredients (10 Servings)
    Cake:
    • 2 Packs (1/4 oz. each) instant rise yeast
    • 1/2 Cup warm milk (approximately 110 to 115 degrees F)
    • 1/3 Cup sugar
    • 1 Whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
    • 1 Stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 Cups all purpose flour
    • 1 Teaspoon salt
    Filling:
    • 1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/4 Cup sugar
    • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
    • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    Crumb Topping:
    • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 Cup all purpose flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 Tablespoon milk or cream for brushing the top
    Optional glaze:
    • 1/4 Cup powdered sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon milk
    • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
    • Pinch of salt
    Instructions
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    Add the yeast, sugar and milk to the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir together and allow to sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should begin to froth up.

    Using the paddle attachment, add the eggs and butter and beat until combined. Switch to the dough hook and add in the flour and salt. Let the machine knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, just until it's no longer sticky. Place the dough in an oiled or buttered bowl (I use the leftover butter wrapper to grease the bowl), cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for an hour, to rise. The dough should double in size.

    Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll to about a 16" square. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, butter and tablespoon of sugar and spread it out onto half the dough. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of sugar onto the remaining half of the dough. Roll up the dough like a jelly roll, tuck in the ends, give the dough a twist and place into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 20 minutes.

    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Make the crumb topping by combining the melted butter, powdered sugar, flour and salt. When the dough is ready, brush the top with the milk and crumble the mixture with your hands over the loaf. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the crumb is a very light golden brown. When the babka has cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients (if using) and drizzle over the top.

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