Chocolate Hazelnut Babka


 
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.
Chocolate Hazelnut Babka - fluffy brioche dough is rolled out and spread with a homemade hazelnut chocolate spread, sprinkled with chopped toasted walnuts, and rolled into swirly chocolatey loaves. The result is perfect for a coffee break, or an indulgent wee breakfast.

Hiiiiiii! I'm coming to you from the middle of a gross snow day. Somehow NYC missed the memo that it's daylight savings this weekend so it should be sorting it's shit out weather wise by now, but as someone who loves to stay inside, I'm not too mad.

Sorry sorry - I've been meaning to share this for the longest time, and I just haven't gotten around to it. This year has been really kicking us in the butt, in a super busy and stressful but also exciting kind of a way. 

This babka was the product of one of my fave ways to spend a day - a baking day with Jill. After both getting tied up in life and not seeing each other for close to a month (some sort of record which i'm more than happy not to ever break), we intended on baking a couple of times but ended up sitting on the couch lying under blankets talking (also a fave way to spend a day), so when we finally managed to bake, we wanted to make something super delicious. And oh man, we sure did. 

I still had some of the chocolate hazelnut spread from these cupcakes leftover, so it only made sense to slather it all over a brioche dough. Babka is one of my favourite things to make - you can fill it with all sorts of things, and it keeps well, not to mention that it makes the best french toast ever. This recipe makes two loaves, so enough to make one, and share one, or one to pop into the freezer for later. 

A few wee tips:

  • If you would like, you can make this the night before and do the first proof in the fridge overnight. If you do this, you can skip the step where you chill the sausage of dough, as the dough will already be firm enough.

  • If you don't want to make your own chocolate hazelnut spread, nutella will work just fine!

  • We used pre chopped hazelnuts, but coarsely grinding some in the food processor or chopping them will work just as well.

  • The recipe for the chocolate hazelnut spread does make a little extra - but I promise you it's worth having around for very little extra effort

 

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

- Makes two loaves -

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread from Dandelion Chocolate

Babka Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
280g (2 cups) raw hazelnuts
424g (1 1/2 cups) melted dark chocolate (at least 70%)
200g (1 cup) sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Filling
1 1/4 cups chocolate hazelnut spread or nutella
1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (we used pre-chopped)

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

 

- PROCESS -

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT SPREAD

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven, shaking occasionally, for 8-10 mins, checking often, until the are golden brown. Allow to cool completely, then rub between your hands to remove the skins. Do not worry about any stubborn skins. Transfer to the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse briefly to chop. 

Add the melted dark chocolate, sugar, and salt. Pulse to combine, then mix on high speed for at least five minutes. Check, and give more time mixing if needed. Transfer to a container and store at room temperature until you are ready to use. 

BABKA 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. 

ASSEMBLY

Lightly grease two loaf pans, and line with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 16" x 25" rectangle (40x64cm). Spread the hazelnut spread over the surface of the dough, and sprinkle with the hazelnuts. Starting with the long side, roll up 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.

Remove the dough from the fridge. 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, as shown in the photos. (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 45 minutes to an hour, 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. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap tightly before freezing.

Photo via  Feed the Swimmers

Tan Square


 

One of my most treasured possessions is my Grandmother's recipe book. I'm sure I've said this before. Each member of my family has a printed copy of her recipes. But I am lucky enough to own the REAL DEAL. It is filled with pages and pages of her writing, which started to deteriorate as she lost her eyesight. There are little notes such as "good", or "tried and tested" noted alongside recipes. You can always tell whether it is her recipe or not, as she was the queen of credit where credit was due. There are a few in there written in by Mum, and a few more on loose pages written by my cousins. There are also some super weird ones - I came across a recipe today for 'fruit salad base' which contained 4kg of gherkins. But my favourites are the ones that we used to bake together - me standing on a chair pulled up to the bench, and her rushing round the kitchen and loosely following the recipe, always turning a blind eye to me licking the bowl or eating the mixture. Damn, I miss her SO MUCH. 

I've made it a wee goal of mine to bake my way through it - adding my own wee adaptations, or decoding the recipe a little. It is an incredible feeling pulling something out of the oven and having it taste just as you remembered it. 

And this one is no different. Tan square (or tan fingers, or tan slice) is super simple - a basic shortbread base, a condensed milk caramel, and then a little more of the base sprinkled over the top of the caramel. I tweaked the recipe a little from the one in Grandma's book (It was actually a recipe of her friend's so I'm not altering the family history or anything here), by changing the makeup of the filling. The original called for 3 Tbsp of condensed milk, but nothing is more annoying than half cans of things that are a pain to measure, so I wiggled the recipe a little to include the whole can. I also finished it with a little flaky sea salt to help cut through the sweetness. 

The recipe calls for golden syrup - which I find that I have to order online here in the States. It is totally worth it if you haven't tried it before - it has a different depth of flavour / sweetness to corn syrup or honey. You could sub liquid honey in a pinch. Either way this slice is perfect for a morning tea, with a cup of coffee, or for taking to a picnic or friend's house. This one's for you Grandma. 

 

 

Tan Square
- Makes a 9" x 13" pan (approx 12 large squares, or 24 smaller fingers)

Base / crumble
225g (2 sticks + 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g (2/3 cup) sugar
425g (3 cups) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract

Filling
One 400g (14oz) can condensed milk
75g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter
3 Tbsp (68g) golden syrup

Flaky Sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing
 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 350˚f/180˚c. Line a 9"x13" (23cm x 33cm) tin with parchment paper, leaving some overhang to help with removal of the slice once cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until thick and pale, approximately 5 minutes. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla, and mix on low until combined. Place 1 cup of the base mixture into a small bowl and set aside. (This will form the crumb later). 

Press the remaining base mixture into the baking tin, using a spoon or bottom of a glass to compact and smooth down. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the caramel. 

In a medium pot over low heat, combine the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup. Stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture has thickened and is light golden brown in colour. (It will colour up more in the oven). Remove from the heat, and pour over the base. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. 

Using your fingers, press some of the base mixture together in the bowl to form lumps - you want a range of sizes of 'crumb'. Sprinkle the base mixture evenly over the caramel. 

Bake the slice for 25-30 minutes, until the filling is a deep golden brown and the crumb is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and finish with a flaky sea salt. Cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing.

Roast banana brown butter shortbread


 
DSC02698.jpg

Our holiday has nearly finished! Tomorrow we fly back to New York. I'm a little bummed its over, but I can't wait to get back! I've missed making food, and I have so many exciting collabs coming up that I can't wait to share! 

This is a recipe that I came up with a couple of months ago. It took a whole load of tweaking until I was finally happy with it, but I can happily say that it tastes awesome (well, I think so anyway!). 

Brown Butter would have to be one of my favourite things. I love how applicable it is to so many dishes, and how it adds an extra level of complexity to the flavour profile. I add it to almost everything I can, and this was no exception. The nuttiness in the brown butter pairs beautifully with the caramelised banana, and the whole thing is topped off with a brown butter based glaze.

I adapted my Great Grandmothers shortbread recipe to accommodate the banana and brown butter. It still loosely follows the 3:2:1 butter:sugar:flour ratio of traditional shortbread, but because of the banana it is slightly softer and less dry. Ideally it should be left in the oven to dry out for an hour or two to help it go a little more crunchy. 

I like to use an oblong tart tin with a removable bottom that is approx 13 3/4"  4 1/4". This makes removing the shortbread before you glaze it really easy. If you don't have one of these, you can use a cake tin, just make sure that you line it well so that you are able to use the paper to remove the shortbread from the tin. 

Feel free to decorate this any way you please! My absolute favourite way is with dried edible flowers, but it would look great plain, or with some simple sprinkles or dusted with icing sugar. Go nuts! (Or Bananas. Really I mean, go bananas)

 

 

ROAST BANANA BROWN BUTTER SHORTBREAD
- Makes 8-12 pieces -

Shortbread
1 stick plus 1 tbsp butter (113g plus 15 grams)
2/3 cup brown sugar (135 grams), plus two tablespoons, loosely packed. 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large bananas
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups minus 2 Tbsp flour (235g) 
2 Tbsp (15g) cornflour

Glaze
1/2 stick butter (56g)
1 cup icing sugar (125g)
1 tsp vanilla (preferably paste, otherwise extract is fine)
Approx. 2 Tbsp Milk (30ml)

- PROCESS -

SHORTBREAD

Preheat oven to 375f/190c. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Halve the bananas lengthways, and place onto the lined tray. Divide the 1 Tbsp of butter between the bananas, and sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skins are black. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350f/180c.

While the bananas are roasting, in a small saucepan, melt the remaining stick of butter on medium heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until it turns a golden brown. Keep a close eye on the butter, as it can turn quite quickly from deliciously brown, to slightly burnt. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Scoop the flesh from the bananas into a medium bowl. Mash well with a fork, until fairly smooth. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add brown butter, vanilla extract and salt, and mix again to combine. Sift in flour and cornflour, and mix until incorporated. The mixture will look much wetter than standard shortbread dough. 

Grease a 13" x 4" oblong tart tin with a removable bottom, or alternatively line an 8"x8" cake tin with baking paper, leaving some overhang over the edges to allow easy removal. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin. Wet the back of a spoon if necessary to help you smooth down the mixture. 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Turn off the oven, and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the shortbread in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely. 

BROWN BUTTER GLAZE

Brown butter using the above method. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, and add sifted icing sugar and vanilla. Mix well until smooth, adding milk as necessary until a spreadable consistency has been reached. Spread over the cooled shortbread, and decorate as desired. Allow the glaze to set (putting it in the fridge speeds this up) before slicing into equal sized pieces. Keeps best in an airtight container, in the fridge.