Chocolate "Babkallah"

The Ultimate Mash-Up: It's braided like a challah for maximum babka-y chocolate swirl in every bite.


12 Servings


½ cup whole milk

1¼-oz. envelope active dry yeast

4 large egg yolks

1teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more


6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

All-purpose flour (for surface)

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg yolk

Granulated sugar (for sprinkling)


  1. DOUGH

    Step 1

    Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in yeast; let sit until foamy, 5–10 minutes.

    Step 2

    Whisk in egg yolks, vanilla, and ½ cup butter. Add sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour; mix until a shaggy dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until supple, smooth, and no longer shiny, 5–10 minutes.

    Step 3

    Transfer to a large buttered bowl. Cover and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½–2½ hours.


    Step 4

    Mix chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

    Step 5

    Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three portions. Shape each into a 12”-long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6” rectangle about ⅛” thick. Brush with butter and top with chocolate mixture, pressing gently. Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.

    Step 6

    Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1–2 hours.

    Step 7

    Preheat oven to 350°. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash; sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until top is golden brown and “Babkallah” sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35–45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

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