I have babies on the brain. No, not in a maternal, newly married kind of way— this blog is not becoming the Pregnant Princess anytime soon. More so in a youngest child with pregnant older siblings kind of way. (Speaking of baby fever, check out this amazing website my pregnant sister in law, Miriam, alerted me to. Instant mood booster.) A few weeks ago, a new arrival, Baby Emily, joined the family and I thought what better way to welcome the little nugget of joy into the world than baking Baby Babka Buns in her honor? And for the still pregnant ladies in my life, these will keep your chocolate cravings at bay. And I promise not to judge you when you eat the whole pan. But let’s get real, I’m going to make you work for this. You’re going to want to do some lamaze breathing for these labor intensive indulgences. They don’t take exactly nine months to make, but close to it. Trust me though, the result will be worth the wait. Spirals of gooey, chocolatey-cinnamon in a rich, heavenly dough. And this bun in the oven doesn’t poop, cry or spit up. A dream dessert, really.
Baby Babka Buns
From Smitten Kitchen. Because really, who else could dream up these delights? Makes 12 buns.
1/2 cup milk (girl, put that skim down. Clear eyes, whole milk, can’t lose.)
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted room temperature butter, plus more for bowl and muffin tins.
3 tbsp room temperature butter
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp milk
Dough Prep: Warm the milk and a pinch of sugar in the microwave for 30 seconds. You want it warm but not too hot to the touch. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk together egg and 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly whisk in the yeast mixture. Combine flour and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low and slowly add the egg mixture. Add the butter and mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and turn mixer on low and let it go for 10 minutes. Butter a large bowl and place dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Filling: Place chocolate chips, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until chocolate mixture is very finely chopped. Add butter and pulse until butter is mixed into the chocolate mixture.
Assembly: Take the dough out of the bowl and deflate lightly with your hands. Let it sit for 5 minutes. On a well floured surface (such as your dining room table), roll out the dough into a large rectangle that measures about 11 x 15-20 inches. Sprinkle the filling over the dough evenly. Tightly roll the dough from one short end to the other. With a serrated knife cut the log into 1 inch pieces and place pieces into a buttered muffin tin. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 25 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk up egg and milk and brush onto the buns. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Take a nap. Eat one first though. These truly are a labor of love.