The question is slowly becoming, what won’t I do with babka? I may need to start a whole section on my recipe page just devoted to challahs and babkas. We’ve got a double chocolate babka, a swirled cocoa challah, a brownie babka and… ahem. I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t have a few more variations coming up in the next few weeks. Winter is coming – we need our comfort foods!
And ok look, if I was gutsy enough to put brownie batter in lieu of chocolate spread, of course I would next do it with cookie dough. I blame Tiegan for showing me it was possible with a denser dough.
With challah, the trick is to not use too much cookie dough because it will weigh down the bread and sink (I was too excited the first time I tried it and learned that the hard way lol).
I love, love, LOVE this recipe. Two textures of cookie come from this: the crunchy top which bakes fully tastes just like a cookie alongside the crusty bread. This gives a way to a tender interior with goops of soft cookie dough spread through the swirls. It’s too good. TOO GOOD.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Babka
My recipe here uses a challah dough recipe for the bread. I’ve also tried it with this KAF’s brioche recipe. Both are fantastic and offer different results; the challah doesn’t have butter so produces a softer bread. The brioche, full of butter, is denser and because it’s refrigerated overnight, it is easier to work with (a cold dough). If you go with brioche, halve the recipe for 1 loaf and use the full cookie dough recipe from here.
It can be tricky to know when the bread has fully cooked and looks can be deceiving. I recommend a digital thermometer inserted into the middle, it should register 190.
Vanilla Challah Dough
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 heaped teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 egg, plus 1 yolk at room temperature
- ⅛ cup honey
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 240g (2 cups) bread flour, plus up to ¼ cup extra
Chocolate Chip Cookie Filling
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- ⅓ cup brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 75g all purpose flour
- Pinch sea salt
- 75g chopped dark chocolate
Make your challah dough:
In the bowl of your stand-mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Let stand until frothy.
Add the egg, oil, vanilla and honey and mix gently with a spatula.
Add the flour and knead until dough comes together in a soft, sticky ball. If the dough is very sticky and wet, add up to ¼ cup more flour – but only if the dough needs it.
Transfer dough to oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Make your filling:
In the bowl of your stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Add the egg yolk, mix.
Add the flour and mix to just combine.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Make the babka:
Roll out your dough into a rectangle shape – with the shorter side about as long as your standard size loaf pan.
Drop the cookie dough filling all around the dough – doing your best to distribute it evenly by pressing it gently (it won’t spread much but use your fingers to smooth it out where you can).
Roll up the dough into a log from the short side, then slice it lengthwise with a knife.
Twist the two logs around each other, cut side facing up. (This ensures you get more cookie texture on top).
Oil and line your loaf pan with a sling made out of parchment paper (see photo above) and gently place in babka dough.
Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375.
Tent the loaf pan loosely with foil and bake babka for about 25-30 minutes. If it needs browning, remove the foil and let bake for another 5 minutes. Babka is done when a thermometer inserted into the dough registers 190 F.