by Paula Shoyer, The Kosher Baker
This is the most popular dessert I teach in my classes, and it is the dessert for which I am most famous. I bring this to people when they have babies, when someone dies, or when I just need to put a smile on someone’s face. The recipe on which the following is based came from my friend Limor’s mom, Aliza Cohen, who used to bake them for me when I was in high school.
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups (6 sticks) parve margarine, softened, divided
2 large eggs plus 1 white (reserve yolk for glazing)
1/2 cup parve unsweetened cocoa
Spray oil, for greasing pans
1/2 cup parve mini or regular chocolate chips
Place the 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour, 2 sticks of the margarine, and the 2 whole eggs and egg white. Combine by hand with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover the bowl with plastic and let rise 2 to 4 hours, until the dough has increased in size at least 50 percent.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of the sugar with the cocoa. Add the remaining 4 sticks margarine and mix well with a hand-held or stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough is rising.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two 12-inch-long loaf pans with spray oil.
Divide the dough into four pieces. On a large piece of parchment, roll each piece into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 of the filling on one of the rectangles and then sprinkle on 1/4 of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up working with the long side of the rectangle. Repeat with the next dough rectangle. When you have the two rolls, twist them around each other, trying to keep the seam on the bottom. Tuck the ends under and place into one of the loaf pans. Do the same with the other two pieces of dough. Brush the tops of the loaves with the reserved egg yolk mixed with a little water.
Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the babka and then remove from the pans and let cool.
Yield: Makes two 12-inch loaves, 25 servings
Storage: Store wrapped in foil at room temperature. If you will not eat it within 24 hours, freeze it for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before serving.
Recipes: Desserts, Babka, Yeast, Chocolate, Parve, Kosher