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This recipe is a donut version of the babka, a sweet braided bread with chocolate layers. Growing up, we always had babka for the holidays and it took hours to prepare. These donuts on the other hand, only require around 30 minutes. So if you’re craving babka but you don’t have the time to make one, try these donuts instead.
A traditional babka takes a long time to prepare and bake. That is for two reasons. First of all it is larger and requires a longer time in the oven to fully bake. Secondly, and most importantly, it is leavened with yeast, which requires hours of proofing. These donuts are smaller, have a larger surface area, and are leavened with baking powder.
When it comes to the filling of babka, there are many different options. Chocolate, cinnamon, cheese, apple, poppy seeds, the possibilities are endless. But for me, growing up, we always used a paste made from chocolate and crushed walnuts. I wanted to keep that tradition when making these donuts. However, I replaced crushed walnuts with hazelnut flour. I did so to make the paste a little less dense since the donuts are smaller and the batter is too light to support heavy fillings. But don’t worry, the flavor is very similar.
After I baked them, I thought the donuts were looking a little too plain. They taste great, but a donut without glaze just doesn’t look right. Therefore I melted some chocolate and drizzled it over the donuts. This step is optional and you can skip it if you’re only making the donuts for yourself.
For baking the donuts, I used a metal 6 cavity donut pan, which yielded 12 donuts.
And lastly, here you have the recipe for the chocolate babka donuts:
Chocolate Babka Donuts
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup (150 g/ 5 ¼ oz.) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g/ 3 ½ oz.) granulated sugar
- ½ stick (60 g/ 2 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup (120 ml/ 4 ¼ oz.) cream (35% fat content)
- ¼ cup (50 g/ 1 ¾ oz.) hazelnut flour
- 50 g (1 ¾ oz.) bitter-sweet chocolate
- 6 tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature for greasing the pan
- melted semi-sweet chocolate to drizzle
- In a small pot over low heat, add the milk, chocolate, and mix continuously until the chocolate is melted. Once the chocolate has melted, set aside and add the hazelnut flour. Mix until the hazelnut flour is evenly distributed.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
- In a bowl sift the flour, then add the baking powder. Mix them with a whisk and set aside.
- Gently melt the butter over low temperature. Make sure the butter does not bubble. Once melted, set it aside and allow it to cool a little.
- Crack the eggs into another bowl, add the sugar and beat at high speed with an electric mixer. The mixture is ready when almost triple in volume and light in color. Then add the cream, vanilla extract, salt and whisk until incorporated.
- Using a spatula add the flour mix to the bowl with the eggs in three-four steps, mixing after each addition. Make sure the flour is well incorporated, but do not over mix. Add the melted, cooled butter in two steps and mix gently until incorporated. Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes.
- Grease the donut pan with butter. Pipe the batter into the pan ½ full, then pipe the chocolate-hazelnut mixture into the batter. Bake for 10 minutes, or until doughnuts spring back when gently pressed.
- Once baked, take the pan out of the oven and allow the donuts to cool in the donut pan 2-3 minutes at room temperature. Transfer them to a rack and let them sit until completely cooled.
- Drizzle with melted chocolate.