Clara and I spent yesterday morning in the kitchen making these chocolate babkas. Time in the kitchen with her is something I treasure in a way that I can’t fully describe. To be able to show her how to create things, to turn ingredients into food, is truly magical. I don’t know if she’ll remember these moments, but I know I will. Her in a tutu (or, as she calls it, a skirt) and apron, standing on her little chair, stirring up chocolate and sugar, old Disney songs playing in the background. The moment is gone, briefly, while she runs around the kitchen screaming “we can fly” during a Peter Pan song. Then she’s back to help spread the chocolate onto the dough and
eat handfuls of sprinkle nuts on top.
Our time in the kitchen resulted in one of the most beautiful and delicious foods to ever come out of our oven. I don’t think my photos even do justice to how good these taste. Rich and glossy, these loaves will tempt you well before they’re cool enough to cut. I had this recipe saved for quite some time, and I’m telling you now not to wait as long as I did to try it. Those swirls of chocolate may look complicated and intimidating, but this recipe is actually easier than some other yeast breads I’ve made. You don’t even have to braid the loaf.
I’m not certain where babka falls on the cake or bread scale. It’s reminiscent of brioche, but it’s decidedly sweet thanks to the chocolate inside and the simple syrup brushed on the outside. I would totally eat it for breakfast or dessert, so do with that what you will. Make a couple loaves today, and you’ll be set to turn one into insanely good French toast on Saturday. And if you’re still looking for Valentine’s Day ideas, I’ve got you covered.