Chocolate babka features a ribbon of chocolate and Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs running through tender bread in a babka recipe that will become a new favorite.
Chocolate Babka Recipe Tip
Chocolate babka sometimes has one slice of the bread without any filling, but in our book every bite should have filling! Reserve the extra 2 tablespoons of the chocolate fig spread to ensure that flavorful swirl is in every slice.
Bread Baking Tips
A babka recipe is for an enriched bread, which means it’s been bolstered with butter and eggs. Making it involves several steps but the resulting loaf will bring on the oohs and ahs.
To start, bloom the yeast to activate it and then incorporate the sugar, egg, and egg yolks. Separately, you will mix together the flour and salt so as not to activate the gluten just yet. Half the flour is added as a stand mixer begins to work the dough and you drop in tablespoonfuls of softened butter before adding the remaining flour. The dough gets worked for several minutes before being transferred to a greased bowl and covered, so it can rise at room temperature until doubled.
You’ll then punch down the dough and then re-cover the bowl of dough for its second rise.
Fig Chocolate Filling
Hydrating figs is a great way to soften them up before processing them into a paste as you do in this babka recipe. The rehydrated figs are processed with a double dose of chocolate—cocoa powder and chocolate, along with powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt to a jam-like consistency. Let the jam cool slightly and then pulse in the egg whites until just incorporated. Chill the filling while you go back to the bread.
Ways to Eat Chocolate Babka
Bake a loaf of this babka recipe to serve at breakfast as toasted or French toast. You can even serve it for lunch as a peanut butter jelly sandwich—but make sure to wait and slice the bread once it’s completely cool, otherwise it will be gummy inside.
Not into chocolate? Made this babka and looking for a new challenge? Check out our Berry Fig Babka too.
Fig Chocolate Babka
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk warmed to 110°F
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks large
- 1 egg large
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
Chocolate Fig Filling
- 6 ounces Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs stemmed
- 2 cups water
- 1 ounce dark chocolate finely chopped
- 2 tbsp baking cocoa
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 egg large
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and warm milk. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture is foamy.
- Add remaining sugar, egg yolks, and egg. Whisk together until well incorporated.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add half of flour mixture to mixing bowl. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and mix on low speed until dough resembles a shaggy mess, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Add remaining flour mixture and continue to knead at medium speed until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, about 4 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for 70 to 90 minutes, until dough has doubled in volume.
- Punch down risen dough. Recover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours), until dough is cold.
Make the Chocolate Fig Filling
- Place stemmed figs and water in a small heavy bottomed saucepot. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow figs to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain figs and discard water.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine warm figs, chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Process until mixture resembles jam. Scrape down bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing. Allow mixture to cool slightly before adding egg whites. Pulse 2 to 3 times until egg whites are just incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until assembly.
- Assembly: Working on a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough to an 18×14-inch rectangle. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of chocolate fig filling. Spread remaining filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges, so that it doesn’t ooze out. Beginning at the longer end, roll dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams closed.
- With dough seam side up, spread the reserved filling over the seam. Bring one end of dough over to the other end and then pinch the ends together, thus sandwiching the filling, to create a log. You’ll see some filling on the outside.
- Gently twist the log, left hand going one way and right hand going the other, until it resembles a figure eight with swirls of filling peeking through. Place twisted roll in a greased 9×4-inch loaf pan. Gently press dough to distribute it to the edges of the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature until dough is level with the lip of the loaf pan, about 70 minutes.
- Whisk together egg, water, and salt until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush the top of the risen dough with egg wash. Bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating loaf midway through baking. Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown and the internal temperature of bread registers at least 190 degrees F. Allow bread to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Allow bread to completely cool before slicing with a serrated knife.