A tender, vanilla flavored challah dough laced with a delicious combination of hazelnut and white chocolate. The filling is colored to create a gorgeous rainbow colored babka.
My current instagram bio literally reads: rainbows and babkas, because these two things make frequent appearances in my baking. So, tell me, what am I to do when I see this post from gntgroup? It was not a question of if, it was a question of when. And it happened less than a week after I saw that post.
There was no recipe listed, but a few clues showing how it was done and a reference to almond paste. I would’ve used my own challah recipe for the dough anyway, and, since I very much dislike almond paste, I created a filling made of blanched hazelnut butter and white chocolate. The filling choice was strategic; a darker filling wouldn’t allow the colors to come through (so dark or milk chocolate, or even a darker butter wouldn’t work).
White Chocolate & Hazelnut: A winning flavor combination
But also about that filling, in case you haven’t tried it before, I need to emphasize to you the deliciousness of a white chocolate and hazelnut combination. I know you are already familiar with milk chocolate and hazelnut (looking at you nutella obsessed peeps) but white might actually be better! And ok, we could just call this a white chocolate and hazelnut butter babka and the name may impress, but the looks wouldn’t (it would’ve been all brown, none of that babka beauty contrast!). But coloring the filling? It’s now the prettiest babka you ever did see!
Rainbow Babka Tips
- If you aren’t in a time pinch, make the dough the day before. It’ll be easier to work with. My challahs are sticky doughs but they produce a very soft and tender bread.
- Can’t find blanched hazelnuts in your area? Macadamia nuts would work too. Or just buy almond paste and don’t tell me, lol.
- Use gel food coloring and get creative! I went with a classic rainbow scheme but you can do whatever suits you.
- For a cleaner cut, once you roll up the babka with the filling, let it sit in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes so the filling firms up a bit.
How to make hazelnut butter for the filling
- I realize it’s a hassle to ask you to make a jar of hazelnut butter but it’s far tastier than almond paste so I stand by this positively delicious recommendation. Here is how I made mine (which made way more than I needed for this recipe but since it has a ton of uses, that’s no bad thing): I bought this bag of blanched hazelnuts (you want blanched because the resulting butter will be beige and thus easier to color rather than have a brown hue), toasted the nuts for about 10 minutes in the oven at 350 until they were fragrant. I then processed them in a food processor for about 10 minutes. First they become hazelnut flour and after awhile (and several scrape downs) the oils release and you’ll have a smooth paste (there will still be very slight crunch). I add some salt, a tablespoon of powdered sugar and some vanilla to make it extra tasty.
Ingredients & Substitutions for Rainbow Babka
- For the filling, you can also use tahini – it tastes wonderful with the white chocolate.
- Can’t find eggs or need a substitute? Make the dough as directed but instead of adding the eggs, use 1/4 cup greek yogurt.
Recipe for Rainbow Babka
- stand mixer for kneading the dough
- loaf pans x 2
Vanilla Challah Dough
- 1/2 cup water 110g
- 1/2 cup whole milk 116g
- 1/3 cup bread flour 40g
- 1 packet instant yeast 7g
- 1/2 cup whole milk warmed to touch, 116g
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar 96g
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/4 cup canola oil 55g
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups bread flour 500g
White Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Filling
- 200 g white chocolate chopped
- Hazelnut butter from blanched hazelnuts see note above or tahini
- food coloring
- Make the roux: In a pot, whisk together the flour, water and milk. Continue whisking as it heats up and thickens. Once you have the consistency of a soft paste, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and milk. Sprinkle a bit of the sugar on top and whisk gently to combine. Give it a few minutes to prove.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add the rest of the ingredients as well as the roux. Turn the dough hook on and let it knead the dough until it comes together in a sticky mass, about 5 minutes.
- Set the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the fridge overnight.
- When the dough is nearly done rising, prepare your filling: divide the hazelnut butter or tahini into 5-6 small bowls adding about 3 tablespoons to each bowl.
- Melt the white chocolate over a double boiler and then divide it evenly between the bowls. Add food coloring to your liking to each of the bowls.
- When dough has doubled in size divide it in two and roll one half out to about 2 inches wider than your loaf pan and about as long as 13 inches.
- Spread the filling horizontally on the longer side of the rectangle, in thick ordered stripes.Roll up the babka into a log and slice the babka lengthwise, trim the edges and twist the two halves around each other.
- Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper. Place the babka in the pan and set in a warm place to rise for about 45-60 minutes. Repeat with second dough half.
- Preheat oven to 350. Brush the dough sides (avoid the filling) with an egg yolk mixed with a pinch of sugar.
- Cover the babka on the top loosely with foil (leaving room at the top for it to rise during the bake) and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes or so, until an instant read thermometer reads 190.
- Allow to cool in pan and then remove with the parchment sling. Store in an airtight container.