Chocolate Babka

DOUGH

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, Triple Cocoa Blend, or the cocoa powder of your choice, Dutch-process or natural
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips, mini chips preferred
  • 1 cup diced pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired

GLAZE

  • 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt until well-combined

TOPPING

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients (starting with the lesser amount of water), mixing until everything is moistened. Add additional water if necessary to enable the dough to come together. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then mix/knead it until it’s soft and smooth.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover the bowl. The dough is going to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s quite puffy.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half. Set the pieces aside, covered, while you make the filling.
  4. To make the filling: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture will look grainy and slick; that’s OK.
  5. Shape each half of the dough into a 9″ x 18″, 1/4″-thick rectangle. If the dough “fights back,” let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten, then stretch it some more. Don’t be fussy about this; 19″ or 20″ is as good as 18″.
  6. Smear each piece of the dough with half the filling, coming to within an inch of the edges.
  7. Scatter half the nuts, and half the chopped chocolate/chips over each piece. If using standard-size chips, process them in a food processor first, to create smaller bits of chocolate and a less chunky filling.
  8. Starting with a short end, roll each piece gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends. Working with one log at a time, use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise (not crosswise) to make two pieces of dough about 10″ long each; cut carefully, to prevent too much filling from spilling out. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid, tucking the ends underneath. Repeat with the other log. Place each log into a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  9. Brush each loaf with the egg glaze. Mix together the topping ingredients until crumbly, and sprinkle half the topping over each loaf.
  10. Tent each pan with plastic wrap, and let the loaves rise until they’re very puffy and have crowned a good inch over the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 300°F.
  11. Bake the bread for 35 minutes. Tent lightly with foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 25 minutes (for a total of 50 to 60 minutes); the loaves should be a deep-golden brown.
  12. To ensure the loaves are baked through, insert a digital thermometer into the center of one loaf. It should register at least 190°F.
  13. Remove the loaves from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely.
  14. Slice the babka and serve it at room temperature; or rewarm individual slices briefly in a toaster, if desired. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.
Advertisements

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

Image

I am a huge fan of all things lemon, especially in the spring time. Lemon is such a bright and fresh flavour, and it works great as a baking accessory in loafs and muffins. I got this recipe for Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf from my mom in Colorado, who in turn found it on a really great blog – sweetpeaskitchen.com. It is simple to make and delicious – tangy from lemon zest and sweet from a lemon glaze over the top. It is perfect to serve for breakfast or dessert!

Image

Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).  Grease bottom and sides of 9×5 loaf pan, dust with flour, tap out excess flour.
Sift together:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In another bowl whisk together:

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from approx 2 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Fold in blueberries.

  • 1 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed, dry with paper towel
  • Toss berries with 1 tablespoon flour before folding them into batter. (This helps prevent them from bleeding into the batter.)

Pour batter into pan and bake 50-55 min.

Cool in pan for 10 min, then remove from pan, put on plate or something to catch syrup drippings.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the top and sides.  Brush the top and sides with lemon syrup.  Let the syrup soak into the bread, then brush again.

Lemon syrup:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Heat on stove until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook 3 more min.

When completely cooled top the loaf with lemon glaze, let drip down sides.

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • Mix

Image

Image

Image

 

Fried Goose Egg

I bought a goose egg the other day, again from Borough Market (that place is truly magical!) Goose eggs are about the size of your fist and have really big, vibrant yolks. The yolks are also usually richer in flavour than a chicken’s egg, reportedly because of the goose’s diet of foraged foods. One goose egg is about the size of two large chicken eggs.

With regard to cooking my egg, I decided to do something simple and fry it up so I could truly taste the egg and see if I could tell a difference between the goose and chicken eggs. Overall it was pretty similar but I could definitely tell that the yolk was richer and thicker. It was a very tasty fried egg!

Image

Goose egg compared to a cherry tomato

Image

Frying up the egg, what a large yolk

Image

Image

 

Healthy Carrot Muffins with Applesauce

I do a lot of healthy baking, often using whole wheat flour and oats or substituting things like vegetable oil with applesauce or sugar for honey. I especially like to bake with vegetables, carrots and zucchinis being a particular favorite. Here is a recipe I found for some rather delicious carrot muffins using applesauce and just a tiny bit of oil. (You could probably even do without the oil at all.) They turned out moist, just sweet enough and delicious! I keep some on hand for a quick afternoon snack and freeze the rest as the recipe makes around 20 muffins!
Image
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats + a couple extra tablespoons for topping
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 T  vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrot, grated
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 375 F (190C). Prepare muffin pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, applesauce, brown sugar, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk just until all ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the carrots.
  • Put the mixture evenly into the muffin pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

Finnish Oven Kropsua (Oven Pancakes)

Every Christmas morning since I can remember my mom has taken advantage of her Scandinavian heritage to make us a special Finnish Christmas breakfast dish called Oven Kropsua. Also known as Pannukakku, it is an eggy relative of the pancake that has been baked in the oven and is served with syrup and fresh berries. It’s become as much a favorite food as it is a longstanding tradition, and I look forward to it every year.

Image

Finnish Oven Kropsua

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 t salt

3 T sugar

Instructions:

Put butter in 10″ x 6″ x 1.5″ baking dish. Place in oven at 450F (230C) until melted.

Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Add milk and flour alternately, mixing well.

Stir in salt and sugar. Pour mixture into pan and stir well.

Bake at 450F (230C) for 15 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350F (175C) and bake for an additional 15-25 minutes, or until brown.

Cut into squares and serve with syrup and fresh berries.

Image