It’s almost babka season and this absolutely delicious dessert is a must for the Christmas table or its Romanian version, cozonac. I leave you the recipe below, you can also check out the video recipe here.

Ingredients for two medium babkas:

530 flour (type 000)

7g active dry yeast

zest of two oranges

3 eggs lightly beaten

150ml water

100g brown sugar

150g soft butter

a pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling you will need:

260g mix of dark and milk chocolate

200g butter

100g powdered sugar

60g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons crushed walnuts or any other nuts you prefer

Rub the sugar with the orange zest using your hands, this way the flavor of the orange will be intensified. Mix the flour with the sugar and yeast in the bowl of your mixer. Add the eggs and the water and mix using the dough hook until everything comes together. If it’s too dry you can add a little bit of extra water. Add the salt and then add the butter at room temperature a little at a time, this is very important, add the next knob of butter once the previous has been incorporated. Once you added all the butter, add the vanilla extract, and mix on low for around 10 minutes or until you have a smooth and elastic dough. It will be a bit sticky too, you might need to scrape it down off the hook a few times. Let the dough rise in a lightly oiled large bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel.

Let it rise in a warm place or in your oven using the rising option for about 1 hour (in the oven) or 2 hours if you let it in a warm place. When it’s almost ready you can make the filling. Melt the chocolate and butter on low heat, put it aside, and add the sifted cocoa and sifted powdered sugar, then cinnamon and mix. Split the dough into two equal parts and roll them out on a lightly floured surface, making a rectangle of 25/30cm. Spread half of the chocolate mix on each and the walnuts, leaving a 1cm margin, brush the margins with a bit of water, then roll. Place the rolls in the freezer in a tray with baking paper. Make sure to dust the paper with a bit of flour, if they stay in the freezer they will be a lot easier to cut and shape. Cut the dough in half, lengthwise then twist the two parts, chocolate side up, and seal the ends with a bit of water.

Place the two babkas in two baking tins brushed with butter and dusted with flour. Cover the two tins with a kitchen towel and let the babka rise in a warm place or in the oven, rise function on, for about an hour or until they have risen consistently. Bake them in the preheated oven at 180 Celsius for about 25 minutes or until golden. Meanwhile, make a quick sugar syrup out of 50ml water and 50g sugar and brush them with the syrup once you take them out from the oven. Enjoy!