Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka


 
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva
Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva

Whoopsies - I was just flicking through my drafts and realised that I never shared this with you! Here it is - a Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka, which was a product of a recent (ish) baking day with my friend Rachel! We made this babka, and these sesame buns, which both have the same filling, but a slightly different dough base and technique.

This particular babka is filled with a dark chocolate and tahini mixture, which is super simple to put together - you essentially just melt it all together, and leave it to sit for a bit. We also filled it with some sea salt halva from Rachel’s amazing wee store in Chelsea Market here in NYC (they ship too if you are outside of the city, get on it!). She has the best tahini and halva I have ever tasted - if you haven’t had halva before it is essentially like a tahini candy. It is sweet, crumbly, and slightly savoury from the tahini. It holds up well in baking, and was insanely delicious rolled up in this babka. It perfectly offset the dark chocolate tahini filing, which isn’t super sweet.

This recipe makes two loaves, but the good news is that they freeze super well, and make insanely good french toast and bread pudding. I often have a loaf of babka stashed in my freezer for when the need strikes - I love it just toasted and served with butter alongside a coffee or as a sneaky delicious breakfast. Just make sure you wrap it tightly in plastic or foil before you freeze.

A few wee tips:

  • Ideally the tahini chocolate filling needs a little bit of time to rest and cool - either overnight, or a few hours. It won’t go super solid like nutella, but it will thicken a little as it sits!

  • You may have a little filling leftover, but it is great served with the babka, on toast, or drizzled over a banana.

  • If I know I am making something ahead of time, I like to do the first rise overnight. Just make the bread dough, shape into a ball, and place into a large bowl (I usually just reuse my mixer bowl), and leave it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning the dough is risen and will be super easy to work with! I find if I rise overnight I can skip the chilling step once the dough is rolled out.

 

 

Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka

- Makes two loaves -

Brioche Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tahini Chocolate Filling
200g Bittersweet dark chocolate (I used 65%)
200g Tahini (I used Seed and Mill)
1/8 tsp salt

200g halva, crumbled (we used Seed and Mill’s sea salt dark chocolate)
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively, place the bowl in the fridge, and do the first rise overnight.

 

TAHINI DARK CHOCOLATE FILLING

Combine all of the filling ingredients in a heat safe bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler setup. Ensure that the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has combined. Do not whisk or you could cause the tahini to seize. Transfer into a jar and allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour, or overnight. Store at room temperature.

ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 16” x 24”, squaring off with a bench scraper as you roll to make sure it is as even as possible. Using an offset spatula, spread the half a cup of the filling mixture over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the halva.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Measure the length of the sausage of dough, then cut in half so it is in two sausages. Place these pieces side by side on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour. You can skip this step if you did an overnight rise.

Line two loaf pans with a parchment paper ‘sling’. Remove the chilled dough sausages from the fridge. Working with one at a time, using a sharp knife, cut the first piece in half, lengthwise, and then cross the pieces over each other, and then cross over two more times to form a twist (this video also explains well). Place into the loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly if needed. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Lightly cover the loaf pans in plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for an hour to 90 minutes, or until the dough springs back lightly when pressed. While the loaves are proofing, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the loaves lightly with egg wash. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature registers 200˚F / 90˚c. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap tightly before freezing.

Dark Chocolate, Tahini, and Halva Brioche Babka. Fluffy brioche dough is spread with a dark chocolate tahini filling and sprinkled with halva, then rolled up and turned into the most perfect twisty bread. Perfect for a delicious breakfast or a snack with a coffee. #babka #brioche #tahini #halva

Boston Bun (Raisin Brioche Bun with Coconut Icing)


 
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche
Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche

I know there’ s a lot of fancy, swirly bread round here. Knots, and rolls, and babkas. Swirly bread is one of my absolute favourite things to make, but today I’m sharing something a little more simple, but still super delicious - a Boston Bun. I did a little crowd sourced research on Instagram, and discovered that, although it is called a Boston bun, nobody from Boston has ever heard of it - I have no idea where the name came from, but I do know it’s super yum, so lets just go from there.

The Boston bun is essentially one big brioche bun, filled with raisins, and topped with icing and covered in coconut. They are a bakery staple back home - we always used to get them as a special treat from the supermarket for being good and not standing up in the trolley while Mum and Dad shopped. Turns out it’s called two different things in New Zealand which is super weird - from what I can gather, anyone from the South Island or Wellington calls it a Boston Bun, while anyone further North calls it a Sally Lunn. This is one of the few things I can think of where things have different names throughout New Zealand. It’s strange.

Anyway, this is super simple to make, and doesn’t require any fancy folding or knotting or even rolling out of the dough. It starts with a basic enriched dough, which has some raisins kneaded through it. After the first rise, it gets patted into a disc and popped into a ring from a springform pan or a cake tin, which removes the need for any fancy shaping, and makes the bun rise nicely within the confines of the pan. Once it has baked to a fluffy, golden brown bun, it gets loaded up with a vanilla icing, and covered in shredded coconut. It’s essentially just fruity bread with icing, but it’s crazy easy and perfect for morning or afternoon tea treat with a cup of tea or coffee.

A few wee tips:

  • The first rise for this can be done overnight if you like - you may just have to increase the second rising time by 30-45 minutes to account for cold dough, but this is a great option if you want to serve it for morning tea or breakfast!

  • If you don’t have a stand mixer this can be done by hand - bring the dough together in a bowl, then turn onto a surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until smooth, then incorporate the raisins.

  • If you don’t have a ring to bake this in, you can do it in an 8” cake tin too. Just make sure you lightly butter it, and place a parchment paper circle in the bottom.

 

 

Boston Bun (Raisin Brioche Bun with Coconut Icing)

- Makes One 8 inch bun (serves 6-8) -

Bread Dough
180g (3/4 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
50g (1/4 cup) sugar, divided
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
400g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, at room temperature
100g Butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
175g Raisins or sultanas

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Vanilla Bean Frosting with Coconut
180g Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
375g powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 Tbsp Whole milk
Desiccated Coconut to finish (I used threaded for the photos but finer tastes better to me)

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

Place the lukewarm milk, 1 Tbsp of the sugar, and the yeast in a medium sized bowl, and stir to combine. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the flour, salt, and remaining sugar, and mix briefly to combine. 

Add the milk mixture, egg, butter and vanilla to the dry ingredients, and mix on low for 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium, and mix for a further 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. Add the raisins and mix for a minute or so to combine. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and finish kneading the raisins in by hand. Shape the dough into a ball, and then place into a lightly buttered bowl (I use my stand mixer bowl to save dishes), cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately an hour.

Turn out the dough onto a very lightly floured work surface, and knock back the dough. Grease an 8 inch ring, such as the ring from a spring form cake pan, and place onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Pat the dough into a disc, and place inside the ring on the baking sheet. Gently pat the dough to the edges of the ring, making a flat disc. Cover with plastic wrap and rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour, until puffy. In the last 20 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c.

Brush the surface of the bun with egg wash. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the surface of the bun is golden brown, and an internal temperature measures 200°f / 95°c. The bun should sound hollow when you tap the bottom.

Remove from the oven, let cool 10 minutes, then remove from the ring and place on a wire rack. Allow to cool Completely.

 

ICING AND ASSEMBLY

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter, vanilla bean paste and salt until pale and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar, and mix on medium speed until well combined. If needed, add milk a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is light and fluffy, and a spreadable consistency.

Spread the icing on the cooled bun, then cover generously with desiccated coconut.

Slice and serve with butter if desired. Best eaten on the day it is made, but leftovers can keep in an airtight container at room temperature.

Boston Bun is a raisin brioche bun, covered with vanilla icing, and finished with shredded coconut. It is super easy to make, requires no fancy equipment or dough twisting, and makes the perfect treat with a cup of coffee or to entertain guests. #bostonbun #sallylunn #raisinbrioche

Mixed Nut and Dulce de Leche Brioche Knot


 
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.

I do not, in any way, shape, or form, have my shit together for Christmas. We don’t have a single decoration up (and tbh we probably won’t), and I still feel like I have a zillion things to make recipe wise (probably won’t do that either), but I have a few things lined up for you between now and Christmas - starting with this mixed nut and dulce de leche brioche knot. I took my standard brioche dough, spiked it with some vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread it with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. I then rolled it up into a log, cut it lengthwise babka style, then twisted it into a swirly knot. The creamy caramel and crunchy nuts are perfect alongside the fluffy dough - this will give you a little Christmas in your life, even if you have zero of your shit together like me.

I love brioche because it is super versatile and this is no exception - you can make this all in one day, or you can make the dough the evening before and do the first rise in the fridge, in which case you can skip the step of chilling the dough when it is rolled up, as it should already be cold enough to work with.

A few wee tips:

  • I made my own Dulce de Leche by boiling a can of condensed milk. To make this, peel the wrapper off a can of condensed milk, and place it on its side in a large pot. Cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the can for 3 hours, checking often to make sure the water is well above the level of the can, and topping up when necessary. Remove from the pot with tongs and allow to cool completely, then chill overnight. You can use store bought too if that is easier for you.

  • This is easier to braid than you think! All you do is cross one end over the other, and then tuck the ends under. You look super fancy, but it's super easy. 

  • Depending on the weather the dough may need a teeny bit more liquid - add this a teaspoon at a time in the first kneading stage if it is having a hard time forming a soft dough.

  • If you can, don’t skip the toasting of the nuts - they really give them a great depth of flavour.

 

 

Mixed Nut and Dulce de Leche Brioche Knot

- Makes one brioche knot - serves about 8 -

Bread Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling
65g Pecan halves
65g Hazelnuts
65g Walnut halves
150g (1/2 cup)dulce de leche (see notes)
2 tsp flaky sea salt

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Flaky Sea salt to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the muscovado sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place the Pecans, Hazelnuts and Walnut halves on a sheet pan, and roast for 10 minutes, shaking the tray often. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then, if necessary, rub together the hazelnuts and discard the skin. Chop the nuts roughly and set aside.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 16" x 24" (40 x 60cm) rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the surface of the dough with the Dulce de Leche, and then sprinkle with the chopped nuts and flaky sea salt.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, curving the sausage a little if needed. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for an hour.

 Line a 9" cake tin, springform pan or skillet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, straighten out the chilled sausage of dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the sausage of dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small section approximately 1 1/2 inches long intact at one end. Turn the halves carefully so the filling is exposed. Cross the dough halves over each other, then repeat the process until you have a long, twisted piece of dough. 

Cross one end of the twist over the other, and tuck the ends under, forming a knot. Gently shape into a round if needed (I found it easiest to practice with a rolled up tea towel at first). Transfer to your prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the knot with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional flaky sea salt. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and baked throughout, and registering 200˚f / 95˚c. Tent with foil in the last 10 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Reheat leftovers in microwave before eating.

Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.