babka rolls

Babka has been on my to-do list for a long time now. So when King Arthur Flour featured their babka recipe as their Bakealong Challenge back in April, I Jumped on the opportunity to finally make my own.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with babka, it’s like cinnamon swirl bread but on crack. Often filled with chocolate or cinnamon and nuts, then topped with a sweet, crunchy streusel topping – this stuff is irresistible.

 

Though it looks very intimidating, having finally made it I can honestly say it’s not nearly as scary or daunting as I thought it would be. It’s a lot like making cinnamon rolls except you don’t have to cut the log into individual pieces, although once I made these all I wanted to do was turn them into rolls… which is why my April post turned into a July post (oops?).

 

However you decide to shape it, your babka will start with a simple sweet yeast dough. Once properly kneaded, you let it rise, shape it, let it rise again, then bake it off in the oven.

I know what you’re thinking… You’re looking at all those twisties and and saying to yourself that clearly this is some kind of trick. It must be harder than expected because just LOOK at how beautiful these babies are. I assure you, it’s no trick. Though time consuming (as all yeast breads are), these are not actually “difficult”. I made these three ways so you can choose your favorite and run with it.

The original recipe provided by King Arthur Flour gave enough for two loaves, so I’ve halved the recipe assuming you will only want to make one loaf (or 12 rolls). If you want to make two loaves (or two batches of rolls), feel free to double the recipe and divide it into two pieces after its first rise to work one loaf at a time. I did NOT halve the filling or the topping, you will use all the filling in the rolls and you’ll have leftover topping but that stuff is good on everything so feel free to stash it in your fridge or freezer for the next time you want to jazz something up with a bit of streusel on top.

babka rolls

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cups warm water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups + 2 tablespoons (13.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk*
  • 1 tablespoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • For the streusel topping
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • For the egg wash (make right before baking)
  • 1 large egg, beaten (set aside)
  • For the glaze (make after the rolls come out of the oven)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Instructions

    Make the dough
  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients, using the lesser amount of water. Mix the ingredients together until everything is moistened, adding additional water if necessary to enable the dough to come together. It will still be a little lumpy and not very pretty. Once the dough comes together, cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  2. After resting, knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook until it becomes soft and smooth like a normal bread dough.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until the dough becomes very puffy (it may not quite double in size).
  4. If you need a break, now's the time to take it. Instead of allowing to rise now, you can cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove from fridge and allow to rise, covered, for 2 to 3 hours until it's nice and puffy.
  5. Make the filling (I make mine while the dough is rising then warm it a bit to loosen before filling the dough)
  6. Stir sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, and espresso until the butter is fully incorporated. Set aside, covered, until ready to use. (Do not mix the chocolate chips or nuts in with the other ingredients).
  7. Make the streusel (I also make this while the dough is rising, and then stash it on the counter or in the fridge until I need it)
  8. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until moistened. You should be able to press the streusel into clumps with your hands.
  9. Extra streusel can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Throw it on top of banana bread or muffins, or toss some into pancake or waffle batter. You can also freeze it for a month or two if you like.
  10. Shape the dough
  11. Line a 9-by-13 inch pan with parchment and grease lightly with butter or cooking spray.
  12. Pour dough onto counter and gently deflate, stretching/patting into a rectangle.
  13. Roll dough into a rectangle approximately 15 by 20 inches. If it's being stubborn cover it with a towel and let it set 5 to 10 minutes to relax. I usually use a combination of rolling and stretching until I achieve my desired size, it doesn't have to perfect, just something in that vicinity.
  14. Spread filling over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.
  15. Starting at the long end, roll the dough into a log about 20-inches long. Trim about a half inch or so off of each end to get rid of the straggly edges.
  16. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 equal-sized rolls and place cut-side down into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until rolls become puffy and begin to crowd each other in the pan.
  17. Bake the rolls
  18. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  19. Once ready to bake, lightly brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle generously with streusel topping.
  20. Bake rolls for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown on top and baked through.
  21. Glaze the rolls
  22. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and milk until no lumps remain. If too runny, add more powdered sugar, if too thick add more milk. The glaze should be on the thicker side, sort of like Elmer's glue but more delicious.
  23. Drizzle glaze over slightly-cooled rolls. Best served the day they are made (and still slightly warm).
  24. OK, but what if you want to make that impressive fancy babka loaf you see at the bakery? Well, I've got steps for that too!
    To make a loaf
  25. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment and grease lightly with butter or cooking spray.
  26. Shape each half of the dough into a 9" x 18", 1/4"-thick rectangle.
  27. Smear dough with the filling, coming to within an inch of the edges and scatter nuts and chocolate chips over the filling
  28. For the fancy (split top) twisty loaf
  29. Starting with a short end, roll the dough gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends.
  30. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to cut the log in half lengthwise to make two long pieces of dough.
  31. With the exposed filling side up, twist the two pieces into a braid, tucking the ends underneath. Place into prepared baking pan
  32. To make a less fancy (twisty) loaf
  33. Starting with the long end, roll the dough gently into a log, sealing the seam and ends.
  34. Fold the dough log in half (like a horse shoe) and twist the horseshoe. Place log into prepared baking pan.
  35. To make an easier less fancy (non-twisty) loaf
  36. Starting with a short end, gently roll the dough into a log about 10-inches long, sealing the seam and ends. Place log into prepared baking pan.
  37. To bake either of the loafs
  38. Place loaf into a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap, allowing to rise about 2 hours. Right before baking, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with topping.
  39. Preheat oven to 300°F and bake for 35 minutes. Tent with foil then continue baking an additional 15-25 minutes, for a total baking time of 50-60 minutes.
  40. Remove loaf from the oven, and immediately loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula or table knife. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Notes

* If you don't have dry milk, substitute liquid milk for the water.

* If the dough doesn't want to roll/stretch out, cover it with a clean towel and let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten, then stretch it some more.

* For those (like me) who like to rely on thermometers, the bread should reach an internal temperature of at least 190°F

http://wee-eats.com/2017/07/01/babka-rolls/

 

Thanksgiving Stuffing Rolls

stuffing-rolls-wee-eats

Thanksgiving is this week and many of you already have your menus planned but for those of you with a little wiggle room, allow me to talk you about these rolls. I saw these on in my inbox and was very skeptical like, “How much like stuffing could these really taste like?” Turns out, a lot. A lot like stuffing. Like, exactly like stuffing. Continue reading

flour bakery’s sticky buns

sticky buns flour bakery

Sticky buns are like cinnamon roll’s edgier, fancier cousin. Brioche dough filled with cinnamon sugar, rolled tightly, then baked with a caramel glaze and toasted pecans.

Divine.

It’s really hard to justify consuming all of those calories for breakfast, which is why it’s OK that they take forever to make. Mine were done just in time for a post-lunch snack (or in-place-of-lunch snack… same thing). No worries, there are a number of shortcuts you can take to ensure yours are ready in time for breakfast.

I wasn’t particularly worried about spending my whole Saturday baking, though, so being in no rush I made my brioche dough the night before, left it in the fridge overnight, and proceeded to make my sticky buns the following morning. The dough makes enough for 2 sets of sticky buns or, in my case, a set of sticky buns and a loaf of brioche. A magical loaf of brioche.

I hope you were all very good in January, because diet time is over.

Over.

(PS – Thank you BF for my wonderful Christmas gift – my Flour Bakery cookbook) <3

Learn from my mistakes –

  • Don’t skimp on the pecans. You don’t want to see what the rolls look like under there
  • Make sure your “goo” thickens appropriately, but still be careful not to burn it. I was overly paranoid about burning it, which left my goo a little on the “runny” side. Still delicious, but thinner than it should have been.

Flour Bakery’s Sticky Buns

[ Printable Recipe ]

Goo:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 170 grams, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (345 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (110 grams) honey
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Rolls:

  • Basic Brioche Dough
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (100 grams) pecan halves, toasted and chopped

First, make the goo. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok). Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Make brioche dough and divide in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use. Can be made up to 1 week in advance.

On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.

Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. **(At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)

Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Don’t skimp on the pecans.

Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F.

Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.

The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

road trip { + salami puffs }

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This post is not about salami puffs. This post is about vacation.

This weekend BF whisked me off to Flagstaff to escape the heat. I never thought I’d be going somewhere that was “only 80 degrees” to get out of the heat, but I guess stranger things have happened. (Like the fact that it’s been a crazy triple digit heatwave back east, where my mom went to escape the heat… oops?) The picnic was super sweet, he made delicious Italian sandwiches on a baguette along with some pasta salad. So sweet. Plus, we got to use my giant cooler that I got on super sale at Target. I bought it specifically “for picnics”, even though I haven’t actually been on a picnic in the 3+ years I’ve lived here (and probably even a few more before that). It seemed like a good idea at the time, it was such a good deal. I was practically losing money if I didn’t buy it!

Here in the desert we don’t see a lot of green, or any other color besides brown, so it was definitely a nice change. It was nice to be able to walk in grass instead of rocks, and see flowers instead of cacti. We found a nice, shady spot near the lake and set up our picnic.

After we ate our lunch, we relaxed a bit, debated what to do next, and met some ducks. BF is so sweet, he even let the duckies join in on our picnic. Turns out they like baguettes just as much as we do.

After that we walked around downtown Flagstaff for a little while, perusing shops and whatnot. Then we decided we needed ice cream, so we looked up the nearest ice cream stops but most of them were just chains. I didn’t drive two hours to eat somewhere I could eat at home. We found a place that had good reviews in Sedona, so we decided to take scenic route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona on the way home. The drive takes you down a windy two lane road through ponderosa pines, along canyon walls to Sedona, known for its red rocks. Once in Sedona we stopped at Black Cow Cafe for “Sedona’s Best Ice Cream”. To be honest, it was pretty darn good.

Even got to watch a storm roll in on the way home! When you live in the desert, anytime you see rain you get really excited. Weird, I know.

The weekends are generally reserved for the kitchen. Since clearly one of my days was completely taken, that didn’t really leave a lot of time for you guys. What would I do for you? I couldn’t just leave you here to fend for yourselves!

I was feeling kinda guilty about taking the weekend off, so Sunday afternoon I raided the fridge and found: puff pastry, leftover salami from the sandwiches, and pesto. Done! I give you: Pesto Salami Puff Pastry Rolls! (what a mouthful, eh?) I recommend dipping them in some marinara sauce, but that’s just me.

Pesto Puffs

Print Me!

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • Pesto
  • Salami, diced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan, shredded

1. Unfold puff pastry, spread with pesto. Sprinkle evenly with salami and parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

2. Roll pastry up tightly, then cut into 1/2″ slices.

3. Place evenly spaced on 2 baking sheets and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes until golden brown.