There can never be anything better than Nutella and soft, moist dough rolled together. Add a hot cup of coffee and you’re pretty much in heaven.
I got this recipe from an Israeli baker, a good friend who used to be my neighbor here in NC. She gave it to me one day a few years ago when I had a moment of breakdown after trying to find a decent bakery, a place that sold something other than donuts and cupcakes with 5lb of sugar on top of them.
There was no such place. So I went home and took matters into my hands and baked the (in my opinion) ultimate coffee cake. A chocolate babka. And not just any chocolate, Nutella.
Without further ado…
Heavenly Nutella Babka Recipe
In a bowl, melt 7 tablespoons butter. Then, add 1/3 cup milk and 1/2 cup sour cream…
Mix with hand or stand mixer. Add vanilla extract and two eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg…
To a large bowl, add 3 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 heaping tablespoon dry yeast, and a dash of salt…
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients…
And mix them together to form dough.
I use a wooden spoon at the beginning and then my hands to work the dough into a ball. If you do this in a stand mixer I think you should start with the paddle attachment and once the dough comes together change to the dough hook.
If you don’t use a stand mixer, move the dough to a lightly floured work surface…
Knead the dough for five minutes until it’s smooth and soft.
Place in a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least six hours, overnight preferably.
Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator…
Place on a floured work surface and divide in half.
Use a rolling pin to work each half into a large, very thin rectangle…
Then spread with a thick layer of Nutella.
My friend used to add caramelized, crushed pecans at this point. It’s so good, but it’s a little hard to find caramelized pecans around here. You can add crushed peanuts or hazelnuts or walnuts too if you like.
Start rolling the dough from the long side, pressing lightly…
Until you have a long, tight log.
Use a sharp knife to cut the log lengthwise…
Cross the pieces of dough in their center to form an X…
Then twist the two pieces of dough around each other starting closer to the center of the X until you have a long, twisted braid.
Do the same with the other half of the dough.
You can keep the long braid and bake it as it is in the previous picture if you have a long loaf pan. This time, I wanted to make smaller cakes, so I divided each braid into two smaller ones and placed them in small cake pans.
Set them aside, cover with clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 315F.
Beat one egg with a tablespoon of water and just before the babka is ready to go in the oven, brush it with the egg mixture.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
A few minutes before the babka is ready, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a small pot, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for three to four minutes.
When the babka comes out of the oven, while it’s still hot, brush it with the syrup.
Let the cakes cool in their pans for a few minutes, then take them out of the pans and place on a wire rack to cool further.
All you have to do is make yourself a cup of good coffee and find a chair on the front porch. It’s so good when it’s still a little warm.
This babka freeze very well so don’t hesitate to make it even if it’s just you. Wrap it in aluminum foil, place it in a ziplock bag and send to the freezer. When you want to serve it, take out of the freezer and place on the counter to thaw for a few hours. You can put a piece of cake in the microwave and heat for ten seconds before serving.