Filed under: Quick Breads
August 29, 2020

Babka Scones

A moist, vanilla scone base surrounds a chocolate ganache swirl studded with hazelnuts; the popular babka filling in scone form!

5 from 24 votes
Yield: 8
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babka scones


Here’s my thing about scones: I don’t want them dry, I do want them flaky. Moist on the inside and kind of crunchy on the edges. And super full of flavor. This is a hard scone to come by but here we have it in the best form possible: babka-ed! I mean, of course I went there.

I first saw a scroll-like concoction on nyt cooking last year, in buttery biscuit form and later on Smitten Kitchen as a cinnamon scone (hers is more of a folded version than rolled). Then I saw Thida Bevington’s take on the nyt biscuits in a lemon poppy scone form and I could not take them off my mind. I just really wanted to take the sauce I usually add to a babka loaf and get it into a scone.


What are babka scones?

So, I made up a name for these because I don’t think they exist, lol. Basically a ‘babka style scone’ is a scone dough wrapped around a chocolate ganache filling, with hazelnuts! It’s the same ‘sauce’ used to make homemade babka. These two are a match made in heaven. I make my dough with vanilla like I do my challah and the dark chocolate nicely complements the tender, flaky surrounding.

I did ask myself at one point, why not just melt chocolate rather than going through the trouble of making this particular sauce? (I mean it is very hard to throw four ingredients into a pan and stir ’em until they are melted.) But you know what happens to just chocolate in the oven? It melts like crazy and bursts out of the dough. On the other hand this filling has structure because of the powdered sugar and cocoa which also give it a good flavor. When it bakes, it firms up, as you can see below.




Why make scones with a chocolate hazelnut swirl??

I have never been able to make a successful chocolate scone (like with cocoa in the dough itself), and I kind of think chocolate chip scones are a too common way to incorporate chocolate; you’d probably lack chocolate in most bites, and I’d rather have my studded chocolate in these babies anyway. But a sauce! A ganache sauce that permeates every bite? Yes!

I also gotta tell ya that this scone dough, is a gooooood scone dough. There’s a ton of basic recipes online: all will have flour and butter but the ratios of those two are important. You want it flaky but not dry. Recipes also vary in how much sugar they add and what sort of liquid; a lot might not use eggs. I use a combination of egg and heavy cream here because in my tests this gave me structure and kept the scones moist.




Ingredients for Babka Style Scones

  • Flour: All Purpose, this and butter make up the base of your scone dough. You can substitute up to half of the flour with a light rye or a white whole wheat and get good results.
  • Sugar: granulated. Brown would be an interesting addition but the added moisture might compromise the scone.
  • Baking powder: To leaven the scones.
  • Salt & Vanilla: These are flavorings for the scone dough. A lot of recipes don’t call for one or either but I always add them and do find it makes for a more flavorful bite.
  • Chocolate: Dark, 70% cocoa solids or up to 77%. A milk chocolate would probably make a really loose filling and a too dark chocolate would be too dry.
  • Cocoa: Dutch Processed cocoa, I like Rodelle and Guittard or Saco Pantry Blend.
  • Powdered sugar: gently sweetens the filling and gives it structure.
  • Heavy Cream: provides moisture to the dough, and we’ll use some to brush over the scones right before they go into the oven.



How to make babka scones 

Make the filling by melting the butter & chocolate in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa and sugar.



Whisk together dry ingredients, mix in the butter with a pastry cutter or use a cheese grater (the side with the slicer) to slice it in then use your hands to coat the flour in the butter and break up the bigger bits. Stop when you have a mix of pea sized and bean sized bits. 

Stir in wet ingredients until you have a shaggy dough. ‘Knead’ it to form a ball.

Roll it out into a small rectangle and spread the filling over it.

Roll it up into a log and set in the freezer.

Slice into triangles and set close together on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. 

rolled scone dough with chocolate filling



Tips to make the best scones

  • Butter should be cold but not frozen, cut into pea sized bits (big chunks will cause the scones to burst and melt, too small bits won’t lead to a flaky scone.)
  • Chocolate sauce should be cool when spreading on the dough so as not to melt the butter.
  • Scone log should be frozen before slicing to get neat individual scones.
  • Individual scones should be completely frozen until right before they go into the oven.
  • When you brush the heavy cream onto the top of the frozen scones, it will set quickly so don’t want to wait too long to add the sugar. Brush then sprinkle the sugar, then repeat.




Recipe for Babka Scones

Babka Scones

Flaky, perfect scones with a babka-like chocolate hazelnut filling swirled through.
babka scones
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 8
5 from 24 votes


Vanilla Scone Dough:

  • 325g or 2 ½ cups all purpose flour if using cup measurements, first fluff the flour, then sprinkle into the measuring cup and level
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50g or ¼ cup fine granulated sugar
  • 113g or 1 stick unsalted butter cold and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 120g or ½ cup heavy cream cold
  • 1 large egg

Chocolate Filling:

  • 30g or ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 57g or ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 20g or ¼ cup dutch process cocoa
  • 150 g chopped dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup finely chopped hazelnuts optional but recommended!


  • Make the filling: in a small pot over medium-low heat, add the butter and chopped chocolate. Once melted, sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar. Whisk to combine into a smooth ganache and pour into a bowl to allow to cool while you make the scone dough.
  • Make the scone dough: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to combine it into the flour so that the butter cubes are kidney bean-sized. You can also use a cheese grater to slice in the butter (see video for guidance).
  • In a separate bowl, add the heavy cream, egg and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture into the flour & butter mix and use a spatula to stir.
  • Switch to your hands and squeeze and fold the dough over itself to until it mostly comes together in a ball.
  • Roll it out to about 20x12 inches , and spread the chocolate ganache over it, then sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. Roll the dough into a long log and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and in the freezer.
    rolled scone dough with chocolate filling
  • Once mostly frozen, after about an hour or two, slice into V shaped scones (the bottom of the V should be a bit wide, as pictured). You can bake them now or store in an airtight container in the freezer for later baking.
  • To bake the scones: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the scones, leaving room for them to spread. Brush heavy cream onto the tops and sprinkle granulated sugar on the top.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until the tops and edges are golden brown – don’t overbake.

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Recipe Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    GREAT recipe! I served these when I had a few friends over for brunch and everyone loved them. I had a little bit of a tough time rolling the dough (was a bit crumbly), but the flavor is SO, SO good! A great dessert to have for breakfast!

  2. 5 stars
    These are really good! Thank you for a great recipe and thoughtful commentary on the ingredients. My dough has come flaky and a bit dry once or twice – I may have rolled it out too thin? My dough is not very scone-like, but complements the rich chocolate nicely. The rich chocolate and roasted hazelnuts (I roast the hazelnuts before using them in this recipe as I like the flavor from roasted hazelnuts) are the star of the show. This recipe is a keeper!

  3. 5 stars
    I gave this recipe a try just because it looked gorgeous. It was absolutely delicious! My husband and I were chowing down more than we should. A week later, we are already wanting more!

  4. 5 stars
    Simply amazing. If you like scones, chocolate, or any combination therein, make these. I swapped almonds for hazelnuts because it’s what I had and they’re just superb. I cannot wait to make them again…

  5. 5 stars
    I’d been wanting to try these babka scones for a long while and finally did – so so good!! Perfectly moist scones with that lovely swirl of filling ?
    I also tried experimenting a batch with a pumpkin spice spread I recently got as the filling in place of the chocolate, and they were amazing too ?

  6. 5 stars
    I just made these and they turned out great! The only change I made was I used walnuts instead since that’s what I had. I was worried about the chocolate sauce melting and spreading all over, so I added about teaspoons of flour to the mix, and it held up well. Check out my post on IG @tagrey

  7. 5 stars
    So good! I definitely messed up the filling because it was crazy thick and I didn’t check the comments about thinning it with heavy cream until after I was done but it still tasted amazing. These turned out perfectly moist and so much easier to make than they look!

  8. I am so looking forward to trying these scones! I’m at 5280 elevation in a dry climate and was wondering whether you think any adjustments should be made to the dough, or whether it makes sense to add a shallow bowl of water to the oven when baking to keep things moist?

  9. 5 stars
    Loved these scones so much! Just wondering, how did you place the scones on the baking sheet? Did you put them on their side with the swirl side down or upright with its tail end down?

  10. Hi! I have a batch in the freezer at the moment but was wondering about the size you rolled it out to… what exactly is “laptop” size? Could you give approx dimensions or dough thickness? Thanks! I’m looking forward to the bake!

  11. Hi Sam. I’m making these as part of my Easter brunch next week. For the hazelnuts… did you use raw, roasted, or roasted and salted? Thanks – really looking forward to this recipe!!

  12. 5 stars
    I made 1 batch with thickened raspberry jam for my friend who doesn’t like chocolate ( I know!) I used about 2 cups of Costco raspberry jam and heated it slowly on the stovetop with (2tsp to ~1TB) cornstarch til it was basically like a paste consistency.

    Stirred the cornstarch with a small amount of the jam prior to adding to the stove to avoid clumping. I didn’t want to add water since that seemed counterproductive haha

  13. 5 stars
    These are so good! Made them this weekend. Just a question about bake time/doneness: mine turned out to be as brown as yours and I had them in 22 minutes but a few of mine and the very center was a little dough/not fully cook tasting. I was too worried about them getting too brown and/or too dry. Do you think it has anything to do with how frozen they were?

  14. 5 stars
    I’ve had this recipe saved for a while and finally made it today and I am blown away. It’s a mixture of the perfect biscuit with the easiest and most delicious ganache filling. I used toasted walnuts because that’s what we had on hand and definitely recommend!

  15. 5 stars
    Question: can I do everything before the baking in advance, then bake them later? If so how long do I need to bring them out of the freezer before baking?

  16. If you choose to bake them from semi frozen or fully frozen.. what’s the difference in time in the oven? Is the 20 mins for semi frozen? Can’t wait to make these! X

    • Roisin, the instructions listed are to bake from frozen. For semi, you’ll reduce the time by a bit, look for doneness by checking the bottom – it should be browned. However, I think its best to bake from frozen to maintain the shape.

  17. Do you think this could be made with a strawberry jam? If so, what adjustments would you make? I just made these 2x this week and they were a hit and I thought that strawberry jam would be amazing.

  18. Hey Sam! Love your recipes. I really want to make this, but I was wondering, do you think Nutella could be used instead of the chocolate filling?

    • Hi Maya! Maybe? It’s likely. The only thing that I’d be concerned about would be the nutella melting too quickly in the oven (with the ‘babka sauce’ it kind of dries out). But, you could try it!

  19. 5 stars
    Have made this recipe twice and they are delish! One question.. how do you get the top that nice white flaky color? I thought I didn’t use enough of the whipping cream brushed on top the first time so I used more the 2nd time… they browned nicely but I just can’t achieve that nice white crackled look like yours. And I am sprinkling generously with sugar as well. Any advice? Many thanks for the great recipes!

    • I made these today and I struggled a bit– the ganache was more of a thick paste that I had to push into place, and the dough was super crumbly. Still yummy, but would it be better to add more liquid?

      • Hi Corinne, sorry you struggled with the recipe. The ganache’s consistency is affected by how much the cups are packed with cocoa and powdered sugar, but also (and more likely) the type of chocolate used; with a darker chocolate you might need to add a bit of heavy cream to smooth it out. As for the dough, it should be crumbly and once you work it with your hands it comes together, if not it could be that the flour was over-measured. I wouldn’t add more liquid for fear the scones lose their ‘flakiness’.

  20. Sam! I’m having a dilemma! I froze my roll but it won’t cut through into those gorgeous wedge shapes and I’m using my toughest knife! Can I allow it to thaw a little? I started by trying to trim the edges and they’re just crumbling so I’ve stoped because I don’t want to spoil the process!!

    • Giving this amazing recipe a try. Although I went a little heavy on the ganache spread because I got caught up in a yummy it smells?. I also laced the heavy cream brush with a little Kahlua – it’s the Holidays. I’ll let you know how it turns out

    • Hi Charlotte! Argh, I wonder why… what kind of knife are you using? A sharper thin one is better than a large chef’s knife. You can totally let it thaw a bit before you slice, I would just refreeze them so they are frozen solid before they go into the oven.

  21. Hi these look amazing and would love to try them out- please add a metrics measurements option as well for some of us, it will truly make things much easier! Tia

    • Hii this recipe is amazing so flaky and delicious. It’s the second time I do it and my family love it. But I think a make a mistake at some point. Because for my second attempt my babka are flate. Do you have an idea of what could’ve happend?

  22. 5 stars
    You are amazing Sam! These are mind blowing, so “you,” and I am in LOVE! I love scones too! Moist and flaky is the key and I think the only way to achieve that is homemade.