We’re nearly halfway through #monthofchocolate, and just the thought it all being over soon is kind of devastating to my spirit. I get more excited about serving up chocolatey stuff throughout February, and to think that we’ve completed as much as we have to look forward to makes me want to extend this whole shebang an additional month. Any of y’all in support of that?
Today’s recipe for chocolate peanut butter babka is really special. Sometimes I get in a baking slump and find myself lacking inspiration or motivation to get in the kitchen and create. I reach for the same recipes and lean on bland, unimaginative methods and ingredients in order to not fail. That’s totally lame, right? Full transparency- I am guilty of being that person who hesitates to try something new because it’s scary for things to not work out and feel like a flop. I recognize that I’ve hidden that tendency over the years with an, “I have it all together” facade, so I’ve really been making a conscious effort to make choices based on my desires instead of resorting to operating out of fear. I’m definitely a work in progress (but thank God we’re not finished products, right?), and I hope that you readers will keep sending me emails and messages asking about new recipes and techniques. You guys kinda force me to throw caution to the wind and go for it, which I love and appreciate more than you know.
This chocolate peanut butter babka is one of those things. I don’t claim to be a terrific bread baker or have an extensive knowledge of Jewish baked goods. Putting in the time (and it takes some time, y’all!) to make the dough, let it rise, braid the loaves, and bake the bread just seems like a lot in my brain when it’d be a whole lot easier to buy fancy pastries from the store or make the same old batch of cookies. But we’re going for it, right? We are going to be those people who jump in and achieve something new! So while this chocolate peanut butter babka is definitely a stretch for my baking know-how and efforts, I’ve found the yield is rewardingly worth it and I think you’ll think so too.
To make this chocolate peanut butter babka, you need to throw all of your old bread making know-how out the window and prepare to learn something new. While the dough is rather similar to the brioches and other braided loaves we’ve made in the past, the filling and the braiding technique is super unique. The dough, made with eggs and loads of butter, is rich and sweetened, yet still strong enough to hold a hefty filling. The rising process is similar to other breads, and once our dough is made we can let it rest in a covered bowl for some time before it gets an overnight chill in the fridge. I can already hear some of you protesting- you probably wanted to make this in a flash or on a whim. Unfortunately, this is not that bread. The babka dough develops in flavor throughout it’s duration in the fridge and the soft, moist dough also firms up substantially so that it can be rolled out thin, filled with heavy chocolate, and then manipulated into the pretty braid we’re on the hunt for. You can put together the dough after supper, let it rest in the fridge, and then bake it first thing in the morning. Totally worth the wait.
The filling here is a mixture made up of butter, chocolate, cocoa powder, and peanut butter. We melt it all down to allow it to come together, but then we also have to wait for it to cool down enough to spread on the dough. If you put hot filling on your dough you’ll wind up with a melty, slumpy mess, and after waiting all night for the dough to chill out it’d be a major bummer to blow it here. Just wait until the filling is room temp before you start filling your dough, okay? Spread half of your filling on each half of rolled out dough and then roll the dough with quick fingers into a tight spiral. If your dough is super cold your filling will start to firm up quickly and can become more difficult to manipulate. Work quickly! Pinch the end edges together to seal in the filling and then use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half down the length of the roll. Quickly twist the two pieces around each other until you’ve braided the length of the dough and then barely tuck the ends under to fit the loaf into your prepared pan. Repeat this whole process with the second loaf and then allow them both to rise in a warm spot in your kitchen.
After baking, these loaves are dark golden and puffed with little spirals of chocolate twisting over the tops and insides of each slice. Allow the bread to cool some before you dive in, but be sure to reheat any room temperature pieces before consuming. Even though this bread is loaded with butter and sweets, I maintain it tastes best lightly toasted with a schmear of fresh butter. This brings me to my most exciting news: today’s post (and a few more over the next couple of months!) is sponsored by Kerrygold! Kerrygold has long been my go-to butter of choice for making treats that require excellent, high-quality ingredients. Things like my danishes, cinnamon bread, and pie crusts taste substantially better when a high-quality fat is used, so getting the chance to work with Kerrygold is an actual dream come true. This chocolate peanut butter babka benefits from the real ingredients and high-fat percentage in Kerrygold Unsalted Butter, and that extra schmear of melty goodness on lightly toasted slices has no comparison. It’s just plain delicious.
Keep your eyes peeled for more over-the-top baked goods made with Kerrygold products over the next few months, and please join me in taking a risk to make them! I’m really excited about how beautiful these chocolate peanut butter babka loaves turned out, and I think that extra bit of go-get-em was totally worth it. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Happy baking and happy weekend, friends!
If you like this chocolate peanut butter babka you should try:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Babka
This chocolate peanut butter babka is a dessert-like bread with a rich swirled filling and loads of flavor! Learn how to make it today!
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 480
- Yield: 2 Loaves 1x
- Category: Bread
For the dough:
- 1 cup (240 gm) milk, lukewarm
- 2–1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 large egg plus one large egg yolk
- 4 cups (560 gm) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 10 tablespoons (140 gm) unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold), at room temperature
For the peanut butter filling:
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 10 tablespoons (140 gm) unsalted butter
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
For the syrup (optional):
- ½ cup (100 gm) sugar
- ½ cup (120 gm) water
To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large dough, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and allow to dissolve, about five minutes. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and beat on low to combine. Once combined, continue beating for an additional 5 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until combined and then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. If your dough is extremely sticky and doesn’t stretch some away from the wall of the bowl, sprinkle in another 2 tablespoons or so of all-purpose flour. The dough will be loose and wet but should hold its shape decently. Once combined well put the dough into a large, lighty greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest for an hour. After an hour, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal-sized pieces. Gently work each piece into a flat square. Place a sheet of parchment or Silpat on a baking sheet and grease it with baking spray. Place both squares of dough on the parchment, cover the sheet with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in the fridge overnight.
To prepare the filling:
- When ready to shape your loaves, combine the chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir regularly until melted and smooth. Add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and salt and stir to combine. Allow to cool to just above room temperature.
To shape the loaves:
- When the filling is nearly cooled, spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and line the long sides and bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Roll one piece of dough out onto a floured surface into a 13”x16” rectangle. Spread half of the cooled filling in a thin layer over the top of the dough. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the dough up tightly and then pinch the end to the roll to seal. Use a sharp knife to cut down the length of the center of the dough log into two pieces. Twist the two pieces around each other into a spiral and then place the wrapped loaf in one of the prepared pans. Repeat the process with the second piece of dough. Cover the pans week and allow the loaves to rise in a warm spot in your kitchen, about 1-1/2- 2 hours.
To prepare the syrup (optional):
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gently boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside while you bake your loaves. This can be made and refrigerated in advance as well.
When ready to bake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush each loaf with a thin layer of lightly beaten egg. Place in the preheated oven to bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the inside registers at 180 degrees F. Remove the loaves from the oven and use a thin skewer or cake tester to poke tiny holes all over the loaves. Pour or brush the syrup over top (optional) or each loaf. Allow to cool slightly in the pan and then continue cooling completely on a cooling rack.
This post has been sponsored by Kerrygold. Thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible.