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

Chocolate Cream Pie with Whipped Peanut Butter Cream


 
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream

It's just me, dropping by with another peanut butter and chocolate combo. Seems like with this autumn situation (that's pretty much winter now, yuck), all that is happening in my kitchen is either a PB / chocolate combo, or something involving apple or pumpkin. Hopefully you like one, or the other, because there's a couple more apple recipes coming your way soon in the coming weeks, and if you don't like peanut butter and chocolate, well that's just on you, because you should ;). Kidding, but you need to give this pie a try, even if you tweak it to suit your liking. 

This is my first ever chocolate pie I've ever made! They aren't really a thing in New Zealand. And what better recipe to use than one from my lovely friend Erin's new book, 'The Fearless Baker', which came out earlier this month! Despite only having met Erin IRL a handful of times, I am super lucky to be able to call her a friend, and am so proud of this amazing book! It's full of all kinds of incredible gems to help you overcome any fear you may have in the kitchen. There's foolproof tips, and recipes for almost every baked good you can imagine. I definitely see a chocolate puff pastry dough happening very soon in my life. Congrats Erin, the book is AMAZING! If you don't have a copy already, you can get your hands on a copy here!

I had my mind blown a couple of times making this recipe. The first was with the pie dough - Erin instructs you to spread smooth peanut butter on some parchment, freeze it, then chop it up and rub it into the flour with the butter. Not only is this genius, but peanut butter pie dough is damn delicious. The dough has a wee nap in the fridge, then is rolled out, used to line a tin, and blind baked. I added a little line of stars as a border, or you can crimp it how you wish! Once the crust has cooled it is filled with a silky chocolate pudding which is super easy to make. The pudding is left for a little bit to set, then the pie is topped with mind blowing ingredient number two: peanut butter whipped cream. I can honestly say that there would have been more on the top of this pie, but I ate a lot of it before it even made it on there. AMAZING. I made this pie over a couple of days - the dough the first day, then baked it and filled it the next day, and finally finished it the day after, which makes it the perfect prepare ahead dish. It would be great for thanksgiving, or just something that comes together quickly for a celebration. Amazing. You need. 

This pie is part of a wee collab organised by the lovely Nate of TermiNatetor Kitchen! A bunch of my faves and I have gotten together to all share pie recipes - I can't wait to give some of them a try! I have popped all of the other links at the bottom of this post! Happy #piesquad party!

A few wee notes:

  • I made 1.5 times the recipe, just so that I had enough dough to do some cut-outs if I wanted. I just went with little stars, which I popped on after I lined the pie dish, and trimmed and folded the crust. I used a little star cut out, but you could use whatever cutout you like, or just crimp the dough edge.

  • This can easily be prepared ahead of time - but put the peanut butter filling on the day you serve. I used a large french tip to pipe on mine!

  • If you aren't a peanut butter person, you can make a regular pie crust for this, or a cookie crust would look great too! Regular old whipped cream on top would be delicious too.

 

 

Chocolate Cream Pie with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream

- Makes one 9" pie -

Reprinted with Permission from 'The Fearless Baker' Copyright Erin Mcdowell, 2017. 
The Fearless baker was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.

Peanut Butter Pie dough
226g (1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp) all-purpose flour
2.5g (1/2 tsp) salt
102g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) smooth peanut butter
85g (5 1/2 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
68g (4 1/2 Tbsp) ice water, plus more as needed
Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water

Chocolate Cream Filling
605g / 2 1/2 cups whole milk
121g / 1/2 cup heavy cream
113g / 4 oz chopped dark chocolate
198g / 1 cup granulated sugar
37g / 1/3 cup cornstarch
3g / 1 tsp instant espresso powder
135g / 5 large egg yolks
28g / 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
10g / 2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Peanut Butter Cream
135g / 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
25g / 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
121g / 1/2 cup heavy cream
3g/ 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- PROCESS -

PIE DOUGH

Cut a piece of parchment approx 5" x 5", and spread the peanut butter in a 1/2 inch thick later on the paper and freeze until fairly firm, about 1 hour. Cut into cubes and return to the freezer until you add the butter to the dough.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter cubes and peanut butter cubes, tossing them through the flour until each piece is well coated. Cut the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your palms or your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces. Continue to work the mixture together until the pieces of butter are about the size of peas. 

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Add 4 1/2 Tbsp ice water and mix to incorporate. Then add more ice water 1 Tbsp at a time and continue mixing until the dough comes together. As it begins to come together, you can knead it a few times to make sure it's fully combined. It's important not to add too much water to the dough, which should never be sticky - it should hold together easily in a ball but still feel almost dry to the touch. 

Form the dough into an even disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to a circle 1/4 inch thick. Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan, and press gently to make sure the crust settles all the way to the bottom, but be careful not to poke any holes in the dough. Trim away the excess dough, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang all the way around. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. If desired, roll out extra dough and use pie stamps or small cookie cutters to make shapes to stick around the rim of the crust.

Crimp the edges of the pie crust, or fold the edge evenly underneath and stick on the cut out shapes using a little egg wash. return to the fridge while you preheat the oven to 425˚f / 218˚c, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack. Cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than your pie pan. 

Prick the chilled dough all over with a fork. Place the parchment over the crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. 

Bake the crust on the stone or bottom rack just until the edges barely begin to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Take the pan out of the oven and remove the parchment and weights. Brush the bottom and crimped edges of the dough with a thin layer of egg wash. 

Return the pie pan to the oven and bake for another 12 to 17 minutes, until the dough is evenly golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

CHOCOLATE CREAM FILLING

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has fully melted. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the mixture to a gently simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and espresso powder together in a medium heatproof bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks until well combined. 

When the chocolate mixture has come to a simmer, pour about half of it into the egg yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook the pudding over low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until it gets very thick and comes to a first boil (a single large bubble comes up the the surface in the center of the pudding), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla.

Pour the warm pudding into the cooled pie crush and cover with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the pudding. Let cool at room temperature until the filling is completely set, 35 to 45 minutes. 

PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the peanut butter and sugar on medium - high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and continue whipping until the mixture reaches medium peaks. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. 

Pipe the peanut butter cream onto the pie, or dollop it on and swirl with an offset spatula. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Cream Pie with a peanut butter pie dough and a Whipped Peanut Butter Cream

Chocolate Chunk Cookies


 
DSC03830.jpg

I haven't searched for another chocolate chip cookie recipe since I discovered this one. And I most likely won't for a very long time. That may be a fairly massive call as far as recipe loyalty goes, but this one knocks any other recipe I have ever used straight out of the park. These are a total crowd pleaser every time I make them (which is approximately once a week at the moment). They are the perfect dessert for dinner guests as they come together in about 15 minutes, and are AMAZING straight out of the oven with Ice cream and Salted Caramel, or just as incredible eaten as is. I initially discovered the recipe on Smitten Kitchen (where I discover most things really, Deb is just amazing), but the original recipe is from Ashley Rodriguez's blog, Not without Salt

You have to try these to see for yourself how amazing they really are. The mixture to chocolate ratio is perfect (just enough mixture to bind the chocolate and hold it in), and they are finished with just enough salt to balance out the chocolate beautifully. I am a soft cookie person, and these are the perfect texture - pools of chocolate held together by a soft tender matrix. They have raw sugar along with brown sugar in them, which gives them a teeny crunch. The part that I love the most about them is that they are super versatile - you can make them either small or large depending on their purpose. If I am serving them as a dessert I tend to make them slightly larger, and keep them small if they are for those occasions when you just really need cookies. 

I prefer to bake these for slightly less time than the original recipe calls for. This results in an 'only just done' cookie, which in my opinion, is perfect. They also firm up a fair amount and cook a tiny bit more once you take them out of the oven. 

Because of the high (perfect) ratio of chocolate to mixture in these, it is important that you use good quality chocolate. Go for a high quality block of dark chocolate, or some nice chocolate chunks. (We make these so often now I buy these by the 5lb bag). If you use a block of chocolate, use a large serrated knife to chop it into very rough chunks. 

A quick note on stand mixers - if you do use one to make these, and you have the blade attachment (similar to the paddle but has a plastic bit on it which is great for scraping the bowl), I highly recommend you use it here. It saves a lot of scraping down and helps everything get properly mixed. If you don't then no worries, just make sure to stop and give the bowl a good scrape down every now and then. 

Whichever way you decide to make them, I can almost guarantee they will be the best cookie you have had in a long time. My search for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe is all done. 

 

 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- Makes approx. 18 small, or 9-10 Large-

Adapted from "Not Without Salt"/"Smitten Kitchen"

1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) Raw sugar (feel free to sub white sugar if you don't have any)
3/4 cup (125g) packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt (I like kosher) 
2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
10 oz (280g) Dark chocolate, either in chunks or cut into rough chunks with a serrated knife
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to finish. 

- PROCESS -

Preheat the oven to 360f/185c. Line two baking trays with silicon mats or parchment paper. 

In a large bowl using an electric beater, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with either the blade attachment or the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add salt, vanilla, and egg and beat until well incorporated.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and baking soda. Mix until just combined. 

Either stir in the chocolate using a spatula, or add to the stand mixer and mix briefly until evenly incorporated. 

Using a scoop (I use either a 2Tbsp scoop for smaller cookies, or a 4Tbsp scoop for larger cookies), scoop out mixture onto prepared trays, ensuring to leave plenty of space between each cookie. Flatten slightly with your hand, and place a small pinch of flaky sea salt on the top of each cookie. 

Bake trays one at a time (or both if you have and oven that does convection) for 9-11 minutes, depending on desired texture. 9 minutes will yield a just done cookie, and 11 a slightly more crunchy cookie. Cool for 5-10 minutes on oven trays, then either serve while still warm and melty, or allow to cool on wire racks.