Vanilla bean brioche laced with chocolate chip cookie! Two classics wrapped around each other: soft, plush brioche with bits of cookie dough in the center, and a crunchy crispy topping studded all over with chocolate chunks.
The idea for this bread came from a recipe by Tiegan (which is incidentally what brought about the brownie babka – after all, if cookie dough can go into a pretzel why couldn’t brownie go into a challah?). And an earlier version of this ccc babka recipe was very similar to the brownie babka: it used a challah base and a this cookie dough recipe.
I’ve reworked it quite a bit over the past two years; first deciding the challah wasn’t sturdy enough to hold up the heavy filling and deciding a brioche (a brown butter one at that!) would be best.
The cookie recipe is also not necessarily a cookie recipe (I’ve never made it as an actual cookie, just expanded on the one yolk), but one that works exceptionally well for this bread. It spreads easily over the thicker brioche and leads to a crunchy top but keeps its pockets of soft dough in the center
You’ll also note I’ve traded the name; while it’s still shaped as one, it’s just so different than a traditional babka (I mean, all the BUTTER!) that I thought swirled brioche seemed more apt.
Two textures of cookie come from this: the crunchy top which bakes fully tastes just like a cookie alongside the soft plush center of the 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.
Key Recipe Ingredients
Some will go into the dough and some into the filling. For the half that goes into the dough, I like to brown it – I feel like it gives a bit more edge to the dough itself and complements the cookie dough well. For the second half it will be melted. In either case, no need to soften it. You can use salted butter, just reduce the amount in the dough and in the filling.
Instant or Active Dry Yeast will work, if using active dry you’ll want to increase it by about 1/4 teaspoon. It’s best to dissolve either of them into the warm milk so you don’t get bits.
You can use chocolate chips or chopped chocolate for the filling; it doesn’t really matter (there’s no concern about spread) but do choose something you think will be enjoyable to eat.
How to shape a swirled bread (babka)
Bread knives are very helpful here.
How do I know when a bread is done baking?
The best way to do it is to use a thermometer, bread doneness registers at 190 F.
How far ahead can this be made?
Like all homemade breads, it’s best the day of baking. I’ll ask you to make the dough the night before because
The bread shrank after baking, did I do something wrong?
Not really, this happens when the yeast has been exhausted by the end of baking. Especially with a brioche that has a lower amount of yeast – most brioche recipes have you use a tablespoon (like this one) and you can go that high but it’ll taste more ‘yeasty’. Sometimes you can avoid this by timing the rising just right. It shouldn’t overly shrink, but some shrinking in the center is fine.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brioche
Brown butter brioche wraps around chocolate chip cookie dough. This is the cookie-bread hybrid you never knew possible but will love every last crumb of!
100g or ⅔ cup chocolatechips or chopped (dark or milk, baker’s choice)
Brown the butter
This is optional, you can simply add melted butter to the dough but I like to brown it. Cook it in a skillet over medium heat until you start to see brown bits at the bottom. Stir until the butter goes quiet, stops sputtering and there’s a lot of brown bits at the bottom. Set aside to cool.
Make the roux & the dough
In a small pot, add the 1 cup milk and the ⅓ cup flour, whisk well. Turn heat to medium and cook while stirring until it forms a thick paste. Turn off heat.
Add the warm milk and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer, stir to combine. Add the sugar and whisk then add all the ingredients, including the roux (but not the butter). Knead on low until the dough starts to come together in a ball.
Add the butter (it’s okay if it’s melted or if it’s soft) and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough will at first separate and look very loose but as you knead it will come together again in a ball around the hook and will look shiny and smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl and let rise in the fridge overnight or until it has almost (but not fully) doubled in size.
Make the ccc dough and shape the breads
Divide the dough into two halves. Prepare two greased loaf pans with parchment paper, you can use metal clips to hold it in place. Set them on a floured countertop and cover with a tea towel while you make the cookie dough.
Melt the butter in the microwave then whisk in the sugars until smooth. Add the egg, salt and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Fold in the flour, baking soda and powder. Fold in the chocolate.
Roll out one of the dough halves to about 8x12 inches. Spread half the cookie dough over the dough in an even layer (use your fingers and an offset spatula to help it along). Roll up the dough from the shorter side, trim edges if necessary, and slice in half lengthwise. Wrap the two halves around each other in a twist. Set in one of the loaf pans. Repeat the process with the other dough half. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about an hour, until you can press the dough and it leaves a slight indentation when springing back.
Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the two loaves for about 40-45 minutes, tenting them with foil if the tops are over-browning. Breads are done when a digital thermometer inserted into the center registers 190 F.
Bread is best day of baking but can be stored in an airtight container.