chocolate swirl buns

A few years ago, I conquered one of what has to be one of the seven wonders of my culinary world, chocolate babka. Babka, if you’re new to it, poor you, is a brioche-like sweet yeast cake, usually rolled thin and spiraled around a filling of chocolate, cinnamon, sweet cheese or fruit, and is often studded with streusel. And I know that most people save their gushing prose for lemon meringue pie, 8 inches high, or brownies with swirls of peanut butter, candied bacon and candy bars inside, I know that most people hadn’t heard of babka before it became a punch line, but Alex and I fondly remembering the grocery store chocolate babkas — with endless spirals slicked with bittersweet chocolate — of our childhood and I couldn’t rest until I cracked the code at home.

a sticky, rich babka/brioche dough
grind your chocolate with sugar

Martha Stewart made it easy, as her late mother’s chocolate babka is the finest out there, and not just because it contains the complicated twist patterns, pebbles of streusel and touch of cinnamon that it’s just not right without. Nope, her version won all prizes because it was completely and totally, borderline indecently, overcrowded with chocolate. The chocolate-to-dough ratio is staggering. It’s… unseemly. It’s… some kind of wonderful.

your chocolate filling awaits

But it still has its limitations. We might submerge 2 1/2 pounds of chocolate, 1 1/4 pounds of butter, more than one pound of sugar and two pounds of flour into three buttered loaf pans a couple times in a lifetime in the name of nostalgia and a really decadent good time, but we certainly don’t do it often lest we have to be removed from our homes with cranes. To wit, I haven’t made it once since then, and this makes us sad.

roll the dough out
an avalanche of chocolate
sliced into 1-inch segments

I found the solution to this crisis — are you allowed to call the irregular appearance of homemade chocolate babka in your life a crisis? Probably not. People might snerk about your First World Problems and not take you very seriously. Which is fine, but then they don’t get any of your babka — on the way back from the playground one day, when Jacob and I discovered a shoebox of an adorable new bakery that looks like a grandmother’s living room and doesn’t. sell. a. single. cupcake. Instead, it focuses on Israeli, European and Moroccan pastries. Within, they sell something fantastic called chocolate “roses,” which are precisely like chocolate babkas, baked individually in muffin tins. With some encouragement from a recent coffee date, I knew exactly what needed to be done: math. And a little retesting.

like chocolate roses
intensely chocolate babka buns

Here, the epic chocolate babkas of 2007 are scaled down to handheld proportions. They’re still decadent, they’re still a little over-the-top for a Sunday morning, as they should be for dad or anyone else you want to smother with joy, but they’re streamlined, simplified, sped up and can even be taken to-go. There are sprinklers and jungle gyms and bubbles to attend to, after all.

one took it on the run

One year ago: Rich Homemade Ricotta
Two years ago: Crushed Peas with Smoky Sesame Dressing and Chocolate Doughnut Holes
Three years ago: Neapolitan Cake and Cheese Straws
Four years ago: 10 Paths To Painless Pizza-Making and Pistachio Petit-Four Cake
Five years ago: Fideos with Favas and Red Peppers

Chocolate Swirl Buns
Heavily downsized and streamlined from Martha Stewart’s fantastic chocolate babka

Updated Note 8/1/12: Sometimes I will reread all 300+ comments weeks later and find a theme I’d missed when I only read them as they came in. In this case, I’ve noticed that a handful of people were finding that their buns were not puffy enough. I haven’t been able to retest these yet, but in the meanwhile, if you’re nervous or impatient, I believe little harm would come from bumping the yeast level up to 2 teaspoons or even 2 1/4 teaspoons, which would be a full standard envelope (1/4 ounce). You should then check your buns sooner; they might double the first time in 45 minutes instead of 1 hour. They might be puffy enough to bake at 25 minutes instead of 30 on the second rise (filled and in the pan). I doubt anyone will complain if their decadent, gooey breakfast buns are done sooner, right?

Yield: 12 muffin-sized buns

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, preferably whole
1/4 cup (50 grams) plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (5 grams) active dry yeast
1 large egg, brought to room temperature
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for bowl and muffin tins

3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 pound (225 grams) semisweet chocolate
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Egg wash (optional)
1 egg
2 teaspoons (10 ml) heavy cream or milk

Prepare dough: Warm milk and a pinch of sugar to between 110 to 116°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’re looking for it to be warm but not hot to the touch; best to err on the cool side. Sprinkle yeast over milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then slowly whisk in yeast mixture.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Run mixer on low and add egg mixture, mixing until combined. Add butter and mix until incorporated. Switch mixer to dough hook and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes on low speed. At 10 minutes, it should be sticky and stringy and probably worrisome, but will firm up a bit after it rises. Butter a large bowl and place dough in it. Cover loosely with a lint-free towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Meanwhile, prepare filling: If your chocolate is in large bars, roughly chop it. Then, you can let a food processor do the rest of the work, pulsing the chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar, and cinnamon (if using) until the chocolate is very finely chopped with some parts almost powdery. Add butter and pulse machine until it’s distributed throughout the chocolate. (If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the chocolate until it’s very finely chopped, then stir in the sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter until it makes a pasty/chunky/delicious mess.) Set mixture aside.

Generously butter a standard 12-muffin tin; set aside.

Form buns: Once dough is doubled, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and gently deflate it with floured hands. Let it rest for another 5 minutes. Once rested, roll dough into a large, large rectangle. The short sides should be a scant 11 to 12 inches. The other side can be as loooong as you can roll it. The longer you can make it — I got mine to 20 inches before I ran out of counter space — the more dramatic and swirled your buns will be.

Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough’s surface. It’ll be clumpy and uneven and probably look like there’s too much chocolate for the volume of dough; just do your best. Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other, forming a 12 to 13-inch log. (Yes, it always magically grows because the dough is soft.) With a sharp serrated knife, gently saw 1-inch segments off the log and place each in a prepared muffin cup. Loosely cover buns with plastic wrap or a lint-free towel and let them rise for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).

Bake: If you’d like, you can egg wash your buns before baking them (whisking together an egg and the cream until smooth, brush over each bun top). I found the buns I brushed with the wash shinier but otherwise virtually indistinguishable from the un-brushed buns in color. Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and brown. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can take the buns out when it reads 185 to 190 degrees in the middle of each bun.

Set buns on cooling rack. Theoretically, you should cool them completely before unmolding them (with the aid of a knife or thin spatula to make sure nothing has stuck). This, of course, won’t happen, so have at them; just don’t burn your tongue. Serve with iced coffee and a bowl of berries. For nutritional balance.

Do ahead: These buns can be formed, placed in the muffin cups and refrigerated (loosely covered with plastic, which you might want to oil to keep it from sticking) the night before, to bake in the morning. You can bake them directly from the fridge. They can be baked and frozen until needed, up to 1 month.

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394 comments on chocolate swirl buns

  1. Theresa

    This looks heavenly and I must try it this weekend! I’ve never had Babka and my only association with it is from Seinfeld so we must remedy this immediately :)

  2. Samantha

    Oh wow….just last night I was savoring the last slice of babka shipped from Zabars (we are in Texas) and reading the 2007 recipe on your site and in a half hearted attempt to make it at home instead of ordering several times a year. The 2007 recipe is just complicated enough to stall, but these make it look easy. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!!

  3. Amy

    Oh, wow. I still have that chocolate babka of yours bookmarked and now, for the first time probably ever, I’m not kicking myself for not having made it yet. I’m going to try these instead. Thank goodness you have your first world problems, Deb. ;)

  4. I used to have to walk past a Cinnabon to get to the subway and I was in heaven when they started making chocolate buns, as I’m not a huge cinnamon fan. The dreamy buns were short-lived, but I still check for them every time. I guess I just need to make my own–they look fantastic.

  5. My (then future) husband and I had to attend a conversion class as mandated by the rabbi we asked to marry us. Every week a student had to bring in a kosher snack to share during our break. I brought in babka. I guess my fellow students had never seen that Seinfeld episode because it was new to them…Anyways, it was a huge hit and I’m so happy to have shared the babka joy with my classmates.

    Will chocolate chips work instead of a chocolate bar? I think I have everything already waiting for me at home, and with my husband working late tonight, I think the time is right for some babka bun action.

  6. Liz

    These look sooo good. Does anyone know if you could refrigerate the dough at some point so that you could bake in the morning for fresh babka without getting up at 3 am?

  7. Jillian L

    Question – can these be made ahead of time do you think? I want to bring these to a Sunday brunch, but don’t feel like getting up at dawn to do so. Any chance you think I could make them the night before and pop them in the fridge until baking the next morning? But they do look amazing, maybe even worth a dawn wake-up call if required ;)

    1. deb

      Jillian — They can be made in advance. I will add directions.

      Stand mixer — Any yeast dough can be technically mixed by hand. This one is very sticky, though, and it will be hard. Just really stir the heck out of it with a wooden spoon in a bowl for as long as you can bear. Then, throw it down on a floured counter and press it around a little with floured hands, before setting it to rise. Good luck!

  8. Karen

    This is on my list for Sunday morning!
    I only have a 6-muffin tin. I am considering either halving the dough or making the full recipe and putting aside (freezing?) to bake later. Thoughts on how that might work out? Thanks!

  9. Jendorf

    These look a-mazing, and are definitely on my Sunday Father’s Day agenda.

    Now, to thank you for addressing the cupcake insanity. Now, I enjoy a good cupcake at a birthday party, but am quickly tiring of the fact that you can’t get real pastry anywhere anymore!

    Guess I’ll have to make it myself =)

  10. I swear, sometimes you read my mind! I have prepared the dough for babka and I’ve been paranoid about ‘the twist’ and the fact that I don’t have loaf pans (I blame late night Seinfeld watching for my desire to make them)-I’d searched for the recipe and was drooling over your past one, and lo and behold I click on the main SK link and you’ve done it! Problem solved, I just hope it turns out well!

  11. Thank you for sharing these today! My husband makes a delicious batch of cinnamon rolls. These will be the perfect counter. I cannot wait to make them for him this Sunday.

  12. Liz

    Sweet fancy Moses! I bought 3 loaf pans to make the chocolate babka but was too intimidated to make the original recipe. This, however, is genius. I will finally win the unacknowledged competition for best breakfast treats in my office.

  13. Colleen

    This is perfect! I’m going to a retreat and am tasked with bringing breakfast. I was planning on doing different sweet rolls, and after I found the ranch rugelach, I was curious if I could find other recipes for muffin tins. Now I’ll be making two of your recipes for the retreat!

  14. Here comes the question: where is located and what is the name of the bakery that sells Israeli, European and Moroccan pastries? Sounds like something that could be anywhere in the City…East Village maybe?
    On a different note; every time I’m on a juice cleanse you post some of the most amazing recipes possible. Which is a good thing…because I’m gonna bake those puppies tonight and enjoy them with my breakfast tomorrow when this cleansing ordeal is going to be over: can’t wait!

  15. Heather

    I made a chocolate babka years ago and the hubby still talks about it to this day. The idea of putting them in muffin tins . . . sheer brilliance! I may even be able to bust out a batch of these as a surprise for father’s day!!

    ps. also just wanted to let you know that smitten kitchen is my go to source for all baking/cooking conundrums. Thank you for keeping me inspired and my family well fed!

  16. showtune

    I was planning on making your cream scones (with chopped dried cranberries) for a brunch/ playdate tomorrow, but now I can’t wait to make these!!!

  17. Sequoia N.

    This seems like the perfect “road food” for the 18 hour drive I have this weekend, AND, it will give me something to do on my Friday night!

  18. Catherine

    Deb, what would it take to make these cinnamon rather than chocolate? Not worth it or a simple switch? As always, looks DELICIOUS.

  19. Brie

    Thanks, Deb! Just wondering if you would add more sugar or maybe honey to the chocolate mixture if you had 60% bittersweet buds instead of semisweet? I can’t wait to make these! Thank you.

  20. Robin

    Ahahahaha… I literally JUST put the rhubarb snackIng cake from a couple weeks ago into the oven for a BBQ/potluck later this evening, and then I saw this… Next time, friends, next time…

  21. Caroline

    My husband and I have been attempting to not purchase chocolate or apricot babka every single Friday from a local bakery here in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thanks to you, I can now make it at home. Thank you! I just found your site recently, and love it!

  22. Mandy

    So excited to see this!! I spent a snow day making chocolate babka and am thrilled to see this recipe! It doesn’t seem as overwhelming to just have 12 buns instead of two big loaves of babka, although I enjoyed eating them! I am going to make your pineapple upside down cake for dessert for Father’s Day, I might have to make these for Father’s Day breakfast, along with Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart bread!

  23. meg

    Wow. These look stunning. I can just imagine the flavor. Babka is one of those things you forget about but then happily remember and consume with ardor.

  24. I’ve been longing to tackle Martha’s babka, but haven’t out of sheer intimidation. You engineered the perfect and ingenious solution. Thank you!

  25. Leslie

    This looks AMAZING..but there are several of your recipes I don’t even try because they require a “stand mixer with paddle attachment”. So my question, how do I make this if I don’t have said stand mixer?

  26. Kat

    OMG this looks so delectable! I’ll have to try this out. The bf AND my step dad both love cinnamon rolls… this is a nice twist for us all (I’m a chocoholic)!

  27. Jennifer Barclay

    Wow, wow, wow. I saw the picture and knew that you had climbed Mt. Everest and come back with something we might be able to do at home. Yeah! I’m going to try these at home this weekend!

  28. Kaitlin

    You’re now at a point where you can say “Five years ago” on the blog? Wow!

    I feel as though someone should do a Seinfeld round-up of your recipes. Or, perhaps, that I should hold a Seinfeld dinner using your recipes. Yes, that should do.

    “Cinnamon takes a backseat to no babka!”

  29. Susan

    At first glance, this looks a lot like your Ranch Rugelach. I’ve made that several times with and without the jelly. Is this dough that much different? Doesn’t matter, I’ll be making these soon as they look so decadent.

  30. Was tempted to make these by hand but read the earlier comment – thanks! As soon as the KitchenAid has recovered from a temporary illness these will be flying out of my oven before I can say “I-LOVE-babka.”

  31. I had exactly two cups of flour left in my bin and am typing this while the dough mixes up. Obviously this is just what I was waiting for. Thank you and happy belated birthday!

  32. Christina

    That babka is my husband’s favorite thing ever, but we’ve only made it twice since you posted it–he about died with happiness when I showed him this post! We’ll have to try it!

  33. Bunny

    OMG These look absolutely divine.
    I haven’t read the recipe yet, but I just has to say that:
    1) I love your writing in that post.
    2) In Israel there is a yeast cake we call “Rose Yeast Cake” or “Chocolate Cinnamon Rose Yeast Cake”, or whatever combination you want, and it’s like eating nostalgia enrobed in buttery dough.

    And I love you!

  34. Renee

    Well, chocolate babka might be the sole good memory I have of a certain ex boyfriend. His aunt would send it from New York and I would steal half of it. Annnyway, I think I need to make these to reclaim chocolate babka for myself!

  35. I love the look of all that chocolate just bursting out of your babka-ettes.

    Now I need to do the hard math and figure out how to make these gluten-free — yeast breads are what I like to call the final frontier of math and baking . . .

  36. What an absolutely fabulous idea. I’ve been a huge fan of that babka for a few years, but I can only have it a few times a year due to all the prep and the ridiculous ingredient list. I can’t wait to try these and have all that goodness more often. Thanks!

  37. Oh man, those look beautiful! I can just imagine them with all kinds of other delicious fillings too–some sort of marmalade would probably be killer. Hooray!

  38. I made Martha Stewart’s Babka this year, and it is so absolutely divine but definitely something that I’m not about to make for myself all the time. What I’m trying to say here is: this recipe is a lifesaver! I guarantee that I’ll be fitting it into my baking plans very, very soon. Life without babka is a culinary crisis, at the very least.

  39. Efrat

    I feel like I’m getting fatter just by looking at them
    And I can’t stop looking
    The pictures are so yummy it’s almost as if I can smell them around me

    I think I’m gonna do the unthinkable and make these tomorrow.
    Oh dear…

  40. liz

    i lOVE that the tag on the jump through is breakfast, chocolate, photo. three perfectly wonderful things not seen together often enough. *especially* the first two.

  41. I have a mixer but no paddle attachment. There’s no chocolate in the house, only cocoa. I have everything else but I’ve never used yeast successfully yet. I could buy the chocolate, but can I try mixing with a different attachment?

  42. OMG! OMG! OMG! Deb, seriously . . . I cannot be buying new computer screens every. single. time. you post something! (You’d think I’d learn I can’t do those taste tests through the display . . . ) Ab-so-fan-lutely-tastic! *sigh* :)

  43. rachel

    Oh, as someone who, thanks to you, has made that Babka definitely more than once, I am so so very glad that if not birthday cake, you at least had this type of decadence recently! And Zucker is on my list to try!

  44. JamieF

    Happy Birthday!!

    I can’t wait to see what you made for your cake so I can see what I am making for my cake! The dobos torte last year was a show-stopper.

    On topic, every time the recipe for chocolate babka comes up when I am killing time with your delightful “random” button, I always say to myself, “I’m going to make that one day. Why haven’t I made that yet?” Then I scroll down and see the length of the directions and go, “oh, right.” This, however, sounds really really do-able. And so it will be done.

    Off topic again, thank you so much for this site. I’ve become a better cook and baker since I started visiting regularly. The “warm melty crouton” from a few weeks back has topped several dinner salads in this house since I first read about it. SO GOOD.

  45. Steph

    I made them tonight, and they were pretty good. My husband thinks they’ll be great with coffee. Definitely more breakfast than dessert since they aren’t that sweet. I dont know that I would make them again in a muffin pan. Too much leftover chocolate at the bottom. Made me sad to waste the good stuff. Next time I’ll just put them in a 9×13 pan, cinnamon roll style.

  46. Anneliese

    Deb, my stand mixer is out of commission, but my bread maker is alive and well…do you think it would be okay to make this on the dough cycle if I can time it for the suggested 10 minutes?

  47. Jason D.

    Saw these on my Facebook news feed today and just had to try them out for myself. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I did all the mixing and kneading by hand (as I usually do with my bread). Turned out amazing, and went great with a cup of Double Bergamot Earl Grey tea.

    Thanks again, SK!

  48. Séverine

    First comment here, couldn’t resist!
    These look delicious! Anyone in the mood for testing it and adding weight measurements?

    1. deb

      Severine — Weights now added!

      Swapna — You can mix doughs with the dough hook only. It takes a little longer to incorporate the ingredients, but it does it in a natural way, closer to when people mixed doughs by hand.

  49. Shanna

    All recipe roads seemed to lead back to Smitten Kitchen so I finally subscribed. There could not have been a more perfect first post for me as I too have worshipped at the chocolate babka altar (Epicurious) but found the spectacular product to be an unsustainable addition to my diet, particularly since one kid refused to try it (What kind of kid refuses chocolate babka? He might be an alien.) and the other kid said it was “OK, but not as good as Lily’s from Whole Foods”. Why even have kids if they can’t help you justify your baking habit? I’ll give them one more chance with these buns. Thank you!

  50. Patricia Price

    OK, I have a cousin that has Celiacs Disease and would absolutely love, love, love this. With Celiacs, gluten is the problem. Do you think something like King Arthur’s gluten-free all purpose flour would work? Not all gluten-free flour mixes are equal when it comes to a yeast bread product. I’ve heard that many of them work OK for quick breads, but not for the yeast bread type stuff. All of Martha Stewarts mothers recipes are wonderful. Her Polish Ravioles (sp?) are the absolute best!!!

  51. Cindy

    I can’t wait to try this…. I have made the babka twice and both times had some trouble with the outside getting too well done. Looking forward to trying these and seeing if I can get it right! Hope that new therma-pen does the trick. Thanks for all of the time and energy to make my oven sing.

  52. It’s winter here and dreary, I’m home alone – I was seriously considering making this (my Grandmother used to call something similar simply ‘chocolate buns’ – babka is a whole new word :), but the words ‘removed from our home with cranes’ is playing with my head. I know I’d eat the lot myself, and that would definitely be somewhat, well, unseemly :))))))

  53. Louise

    We call them Babkins(get it – a spin on babka and muffins). I find them much easier to serve at a party than a babka loaf which can tend to call apart when sliced. I also make them in muffin tulip papers (like Starbucks used to use) – so they look nice when served and you do not have to clean the cupcake pans – some of them even stand on their own and you do not need cupcake pans. The one downside is they tend to get dry faster than if made in a loaf or springform.
    I use Marcy Goldman’s recipe ( which is also fabulous – she also has a great cinnamon shear.
    And – one last comment (you can see how much I love babka!) – try using the babka chocolate shmear (filling) in your rugelach – you will never go back to just cocoa powder and sugar.

  54. Judi

    My two adult sons are into high tech stuff, and I’m only basically computer literate. But smitten kitchen is common ground for all three of us. Thank you for providing us with a great opportunities for exciting conversation and “I made it, you have to try it!!” fun. Are those some kind of chocolate discs I see in the photo? What did you use for your chocolate? PS – I pre ordered your book for all three of us (amazon canada), and my boys now have yet another reason to love me :)

    1. deb

      Hi Judi — I am so glad that you and your sons love to cook from here! I used Guittard baking wafers. They’re pretty reasonably priced ($8 to $10 a pound) for good chocolate and easy to melt. I use them a lot when I need higher volumes of chocolate.

  55. Brit

    THANK YOU. I will be making these for my sisters birthday next week. Sadly my hubby isnt a HUGE chocolate fan. So my sisters birthday is the next event worthy of these. I guess any day is worthy of these. Carpe diem! Right? Right.

  56. Oh my! I came to get (again) the Oreo filling recipe, see this, and head straight to the chocolate babka recipe. I’ve never heard of it, never tasted it. Off to the grocery store I go so that I can make Oreo & Chocolate Babka.

  57. My granddfather, a babka purist who hails from Poland, would roll over in his grave if he knew I put chocolate in babka, but I think I am going to have to take a chance and make this recipe.

  58. Marcia

    We used to call our apt building the “Babka” as it was atop the now long gone West Side bakery of the same name. How do you think this would work with aluminum foil muffin cup liners to catch the extra chocolate ?

  59. where is your countertop from? it’s gorgeous! it reminds me of glitter! i’ve been searching for the perfect material for 2 years now, please, where is this from/who makes this? thank you!

    P.S. i love your blog!

  60. These look amazing, and just in time for father’s day! My grandfather (I call him Zayde) loves chocolate babka, so I’m definitely going to give this a try. I’m vegan, so I’m going to try substituting a flax seed “egg” for the egg in the dough, which works great in challah and yeast-risen coffee cake recipes. Fingers crossed that it’ll turn out awesome like yours!

  61. Angela

    Thanks to a 6 a.m. wake up call from our almost 2 year old, we had these baked and at the park with iced coffee to share with family by 7:30 a.m. this morning! Almost lost one to a squirrel!

    The dough was a bit tricky/sticky to roll up but not as bad as I thought it would be. I am now emboldened to try the full babka recipe. Thanks Deb :)

  62. Here is Boston, we have a lovely Israeli bakery, Tatte, that sells “roses” as well, and they’re wonderful. I look forward to conquering something similar at home!

  63. Since Sunday mornings start late, I guess these do qualify as breakfast. I like it that you didn´t use choco chips; it´s a totally different filling. Perfect take on mrs kostyra´s babka, that´s so well known, even I heard about it ages ago. I´m jealous of your little bakery close by.

  64. Suddenly, I’ve decided that maybe breakfast isn’t such a bad idea. And while Martha is pretty terrific, wasn’t Big Martha just the sweetest thing when she appeared on her show? Thanks for a delicious memory.

  65. Jenevieve

    Ruh-roh, even after 1.5h on a hot day, the dough didn’t rise very much. I rolled it out anyway, which went fine, but after I rolled it all together the segments didn’t fit in my muffin tins! I’ll report back later to let you know if they worked out in the end. :)

  66. Amy

    Lovely! But why the muffin tin? Would this work with the buns all together in one pan like cinnamon rolls? And would cream cheese icing on top be overkill?

    I just really hate washing muffin tins.

  67. atg

    I couldn’t help but wonder which babka it is you remember so fondly. For me, its Green’s, a treat I always looked forward to–both the cinnamon and chocolate varieties. This, in the days before Whole Foods carried it. That babka did indeed have more chocolate than dough, sparse on the crumb topping yet oh so good. However, it didn’t to my knowledge contain dairy. So which babka was it you were trying to recreate? I hope to get around to both these and the babka someday soon.

  68. Amy P

    Maybe that’s why I love Smitten Kitchen so much. The absence of over-the-top, excessively iced cutesy cupcakes. Thank God.

  69. Kristin T.

    I just made these and they came out great! The dough was very easy to work with, very malleable and not too sticky to roll out. These are very chocolatey! I loved it, but those who have lukewarm feelings about chocolate may find them to be too much. Also, I think they’re too sweet for breakfast or brunch. I’m thinking now of experimenting with the filling — maybe subbing cinnamon for cardamon, adding in minced crystallized ginger or candied orange peel, maybe using half of the chocolate filling and half cream cheese?

  70. Jenevieve

    Yay, they worked beautifully! Rose like a charm in the tin & oven, and the smushed-into-tin thing evened itself out. Try are gorgous and shiny and I’m glad we had company, otherwise I’d’ve eaten them all! Thanks!

  71. Jackie

    They are in the oven now. The dough was easier to work with than I expected.
    With a standing mixer and food processor, this recipe pretty easy HONEST!
    I’ve been more frustrated with pie crust.

  72. Mary Kate

    Thank you for including the make ahead tips. Just want to be sure I get it right. No need to let them rise in the tins if putting in the fridge until morning? Rise, punch, rest for five & then prepare for tins and cover for fridge? Also, straight to oven (no rising time) in the morning? Thanks!

  73. Making my first batch tonight. They’ve been in the oven for ten minutes, and the house already smells great! I can’t wait to take my first bite. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  74. michellj

    I made the 2007 babka, AND ITS WONDERFUL. I did turn the second loaf into cinnamon rolls like this and everyone at work went nuts over them. Then I made chocolate rolls with the babka filling and cinnamon frosting. Then I realized it was a beast that couldn’t be stopped and haven’t made them since.

  75. Oh wow. I love cinnamon rolls because they can be unwound-essentially I get to play with my food…these look like that but with chocolate…perfect.
    And I’ve never had babka. This situation needs to be remedied.

  76. Olympia

    Deb, I just happen to stumble upon your site a mere three days ago. Here I find myself absorbed by your unprecedented cooking techniques & passion for food, but also equally in love with your writing style! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful collage of recipes! Tonight I successfully made & thoroughly indulged in your babka recipe .. :)

  77. Just made this recipe – wonderful and super easy, way easier than babka. Thanks! I did make 3 small modifications because of what I had on hand, but now eating this decadent wonders I am glad I did.

    -I used unsweetened chocolate rather than semi sweet but used the same amount of sugar in the recipe
    -I also used about 160 grams of chocolate and I found that to be more than enough, They still had chocolate oozing out of them everywhere, even from the bottom. I think if I used the full 225, it would be too much, at least for my taste.
    -I used Pam rather than butter to grease the bowl and the muffin tins.

    Great recipe and a real impressor for a brunch or coffee get together!

  78. These look A.May.Zing. I am trying these out as soon as I can get hold of a muffin tin (mine is currently bobbing about in the sea around China somewhere) – sincerely hoping that the short term let we are moving to tomorrow has one as we love a cinammon bun and these look even better (did not think that was possible).

    Also, very glad these can be made year round as it is Winter here in Western Australia and I am still thinking about the strawberry and cream biscuits from a couple of posts ago…

  79. LizziesMom

    Made your fabulous Babka for the first time last night. Baked one and froze the other two. What a fabulous recipe. Thanks for posting these minis. Will try them next. I love your blog.

  80. Mary

    I’ll have you know that your blog feeds my late night cooking fits. When my husband is working and my toddler is in bed, I get bored. Which usually results in me searching your blog for something amazing to make. I think I’ll attempt either these or your Chocolate Babka (which I’ve never had!) next.

  81. Stefanie

    I made the dough last night and put them in the fridge this morning. I know the recipe says to bake them right out of the fridge, but they didn’t rise overnight so I’m concerned. I assumed the idea was to have them cold-proof overnight, but now I’m wary of baking them. Were they supposed to proof overnight, or am I missing something? I have them proofing on the counter now while I dither….for what it is worth, they smell great so far.

  82. Susanna

    I’m having a bbq this afternoon and have, as usual, massively over-catered. But then I saw this post and figured that, given I’d already made too much, one more thing couldn’t hurt. I made them with nutella, chopped chocolate, and pecans inside. I ate two just to test them, and they were good :) Thanks!

  83. Barbara

    I made these last night and they turned out great. Awesome actually, but how can you go wrong with that amount of chocolate deliciously swirled through pastry????

    Deb, what kind of yeast do you use? I often have the worst luck with yeast and actually googled the subject of failed rising last night, only to find an article about how yeast often isn’t good, even if the expiration date says it should still be. Do you have a particular brand you get a better success rate with?

  84. Karen

    Made these yesterday (baked this morning) and they turned out FABULOUSLY. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I used a hand mixer to incorporate the butter and then mixed by hand – the dough was easy to work with and turned into a soft ball rather than the stringy-ness Deb alluded to.
    Also, these were refrigerated almost 24 hours before baking – came out fine, but didn’t rise/expand as much as I had thought they would.
    YUM. And perfect for Father’s Day!

  85. Sarah

    I just made these but they didn’t have the “swirl” look that makes them so appealing in the photos. An tips o how to keep the “swirl” and not smush the dough when cutting? I used a very sharp serrated knife but because the dough was so soft, the log kind of smushed while cutting and you couldn’t see the layers on each cut surface. i thought maybe they would come through after baked, but they didn’t. Should I have refrigerated the log first before cutting or did I roll it too tight??

  86. Darlynne

    I made these rolls yesterday as soon as I saw your recipe and have to say they were one of the easiest I’ve encountered. Delicious, too. Now that I’ve got one under my belt, I may have to try another batch with icing, because … ICING. Thank you for another great treat.

  87. Mindy

    I made these this morning for Father’s Day breakfast. They were very well received! I made them up last night and baked them this morning. They didn’t rise much in the fridge or while the oven was warming, and only rose a little in the oven. I’m not sure if it was because I used a stoneware muffin pan or what. They were still quite good, but next time, I might let them puff a little before I put them in the fridge. I will have the opportunity to experiment because both my kids declared them “birthday breakfast”. Thanks, Deb, for another fabulous recipe!

  88. Jillian L

    I made these yesterday and then put them in the fridge overnight and then baked them this morning for brunch. They were a HUGE hit! Absolutely delicious, will definitely be making these again!

  89. Julie

    The best fathers day present for my husband!!! I can’t believe they looked like the picture and tasted Awesome!! I also made the summer strawberry cake to take for fathers day dinner tonight- it’s a winner every time!!! Thanks for all of your terrific recipes – Deb you are my go to girl!

  90. Anat

    These look unbelievable! I’ve been scared to bake a yeast dough but I am determined to bake these. Could you please share info about the Israeli/Moroccan bakery you found?

  91. Deena Rathkamp

    For over 15 years, I have been searching for the recipe for my favorite childhood food – chocolate chip danish from Kotch’s, a Jewish Bakery in Los Angeles. For years, nothing has come close. Until today. I saw these and thought that they might, just might, work…Well I can tell you it’s been a religious experience. I feel connected to my childhood and my jewish roots, to God and all things good in the world. I was lost…but no more. I even wrote Kotch’s before they closed their doors, a truly heart-wrenching day for me, pleading with them to share their recipe – to no avail. Deb, thank you from the bottom of my heart. From the depths of my being. Wow. You nailed favorite childhood food and I feel reborn (in a Jewish way:-)
    Thank you so much. Sincerely, Deena (age 48)

  92. Britt

    I’ve made Martha’s babka exactly once as well! I keep wanting it to be a Christmas tradition, but I wind up procrastinating til Easter. Maybe it should be your recipe at Father’s day instead!

  93. Gil Zhaiek

    I have tried it out twice. First time was with your recipe and it came out good.
    Second time, I have used your dough, flatted it out, but filled it with 3 different fillings: Nutella; Jam; Tahaini with Honey (and water) – AKA Halva.
    I cut it to triangles and rolled like Rogalach.
    Here what came out:

    1. deb

      Gil — So pretty! I’m a little embarrass that for the first time in my Halvah-eating life that I didn’t connect that it’s more or less a mixture of tahini and honey! I imagine having a lot of fun with this new knowledge.

      Laura — A very old one and not very good quality one!

      Sarah — The trick I used is to use a very sharp serrated knife and pull it gently back and forth over the bun without pushing down on it at all. I.e. the sawing motion, and not pressure of the blade, that does the cutting. The only pressure on the cutting should come from the weight of the blade. I know it sounds insane; it does mean that you have to saw back and forth many more times but it does lead to cuts that have intact swirls. [Is anyone else freaked out by the level of detail at which I can discuss this? Just me? Okay, I’ll continue!] Few more things: The more finely chopped the chocolate is and the more evenly the chocolate mixture is distributed across the rolled rectangle of dough, the fewer spots of non-chocolated dough you’ll have. Those empty spots will stick to the next layer of spiral, even if you cut carefully. One other method (that I haven’t auditioned but am curious about) would be to take the butter for the chocolate filling and melt it, then brush it over the rectangle, then sprinkle the dough with just the chopped chocolate and sugar/cinnamon mixture, almost the way you would make traditional cinnamon rolls. It would be an extra step, but I bet that even the parts not coated with chocolate would separate as a spiral (butter being a layer separator). Hope that makes sense. And that you’re not snoring yet.

      Barbara — I don’t have a choice brand but I very often have a jar of Red Star or Fleishmans around. I like the jars because they’re easy to scoop from and close tightly (I keep them in the fridge) but I don’t always finish them before their expiration date. Still, even if I only get through 2/3 of one, it’s a much better value than buying packets. That said, I used packets for this one and had no trouble with the rising times.

      Stefanie — The theory was that overnight in the fridge = 30 minutes on the counter, as I’ve followed with other buns but if they don’t look very puffed, it’s okay to leave them out a little longer before baking them. My buns were about 1/4-inch below the lip of my standard muffin tin before they rested at room temperature for 30, and about 1/4 inch above after. in the oven, however, they got quite large.

  94. Mandy

    I love babka! I often cut them into buns like these, but I don’t get why you would bake them in muffin tins? I put mine on a cookie sheet and they’re amazing. Just curious. Is the inside softer because of it?

  95. Laura

    I made these yesterday and they are AMAZING!!
    I did 1/2 the dough with cinnamon and sugar because my husband is not a big fan of chocolate. This recipe is a keeper!

  96. Julie

    I made these for Father’s Day, and they were a big hit! I ended up making the dough and the filling the night before, then refrigerating both overnight (before rolling up into rolls). I took them out of the fridge to warm up a bit while getting morning errands done, and by the time I got to them, the dough was doubled, and very easy to work with. They puffed up beautifully when baked, and we affectionately named them Baby Babkas. :)

  97. They look so yummy. I’ve been too lazy to try them, but your idea of prepping them and baking in the morning is brilliant. I’m going to give them a go this w/end. Thanks!

  98. hfg

    Hi, love the recipe, but have a few questions to perfect it for next time. FYI….I am constantly baking and following new recipes with great results, although rarely using yeast. While making these on Sat night, I had to dissolve the yeast in the milk 4 different times, each time opening a fresh packet of yeast and fresh whole milk. The milk all 4 times, never fizzed and/or thickened (maybe a tiny bit) and I did use a thermometer each time to make sure that the milk’s temperature was correct. Finally, on try #4, I went ahead with the recipe anyway, and after waiting the hour for the dough to rise, it never really did, although it did have a great shine and consistency. I still rolled it out, added the filling, sliced them and put in the muffin tins and baked them in the morning, and yes, they were delicious, but when baked they rose a little bit but not too much. The individual cakes were much smaller than yours, looking like a small muffin. I do want to make this again and want to know what I did wrong, or what to do next time to make it right. I know yeast can be bad, but 4 packets that expire in 2013??
    Thanks so much- love your blog!!

    1. deb

      hfg — Sorry to hear. It really might have been a bum batch of yeast. OR (and sadly, this has happened to me more than once) your thermometer is off. I’ve had more than one that was more than a few degrees off. There are ways you can test the correctness of your thermometer (just Google for it) based on the temperature you water boils at and your elevation.

  99. RiceVermicelli

    In 2009, the day that my daughter was released from the NICU, I nearly broke open my incision breaking up baking chocolate for that babka.

    I just had a mastectomy. Fortunately, in the gap between recipes, I have produced baking assistants.

  100. Katy

    These were Father’s Day breakfast. I made everything up the night before, stopped at the point that it was a roll, wrapped in wax paper and refrigerated overnight. Sliced and baked in the morning and they were perfect. A wonderful, if chocolatey, way to start our day!

  101. In response to #194 and cutting the buns… Whenever making cinnamon rolls or similar, I always use unwaxed, unflavored dental floss. Just slide it under the end of the roll and shimmy it back to the desired cut location and then pull it up and around the dough like you were going to tie a knot, only don’t loop the ends around each other. It pulls right through the dough without smooshing it and you don’t have to wash a knife.

  102. David

    I made these last night and they were great. I substituted the sugar in the filling with splenda and then just microwaved the filling to get it to an easily spreadable consistency once the dough was ready. I have no idea why you went with the dry clump route since spreading the melted filling is way easier and gives in my opinion a nicer presentation.

  103. Jen

    I have made the Babka bread faithfully from your adapted recipe in 2007 every year on Christmas Eve. These look like terrific everyday babkas — cannot wait to try them, but I’m going to miss that crunchy streusel!

  104. Susan

    These look just like the fabulous chocolate babkas I used to make (only mine were loaves, of course.). I can’t wait to try your recipe. I always substituted brown sugar for the granulated, and it really bumped the flavor up a notch. Thank you so much!

  105. Susan

    Oops. Clarification. I substituted brown sugar for the granulated sugar in the filling, not the dough. I don’t think making the substitition for the dough would work very well.

  106. Sabina

    Hi Deb – I’m in the middle of making these buns but my dough is just refusing to rise…I always struggle with using yeast and I wonder if you have any tips? I did pretty much exactly what you said, but I don’t have a thermometer so just went with lukewarm milk, and it foamed a bit but not a lot (I actually made three attempts; the first two just refused to foam at all). Any ideas where I’m going wrong?! I’m so keen to make these properly! They look so delicious. Thanks, Sabina x

  107. ellis

    wow! these are definitely on my to-do list!
    but for some reason these kind of reminded me of..
    yorkshire pudding!?!
    could you recommend me a good step-by-step recipe???
    i lovvvvvee absolutely LOVE the ones at Lawry’s Prime Rib
    but i have no idea how to make it!

  108. nic

    “At 10 minutes, it should be sticky and stringy and probably worrisome, but will firm up a bit after it rises”
    probably the best “That’s what she said” I’ve come across in a long time. Thanks for the teenage giggles and one damn good recipe.

  109. Melissa

    hfg & Deb- same EXACT thing happened to me. I made them for friends this Saturday with the rest of our glorious brunch- and I tried 4 times with the Milk- no foam. I went on ahead anyway- determined not to waste any more precious time- and they came out tasty…but tiny. LOL I bought the jar of yeast that morning- but you never know with grocery stores.

  110. Priya

    These were really tasty. I believe there are 3 left…I won’t say how long ago they were made…however, the buns made from the end of the roll had far too much pastry for the chocolate in them (probably due to my inability to roll out dough properly) and I had a sinful idea about how to fix this. You could make an additional half recipe of filling, roll it out like dough, and layer it on the actual dough to make a layer of chocolate, then a layer of pastry, and a layer of crumbled chocolate. Mmm.

  111. Suzanne

    I’m sorry, Deb, did you say “brownies with swirls of peanut butter, CANDIED BACON and candy bars inside”?? Did you just say that?? I don’t understand. Does not compute. Please explain.

  112. Heaven in a 2-inch diameter circle, right there! I’ve never had a babka, but this looks divine!! Gotta make some now, thanks so much for the recipe!

  113. AM

    I made them last night and they were great!
    The dough is easy to work with, even though I don’t have a mixer. I started in a food processor with the dry ingredients and incorporated the milk. It made a big ball and it did not want to incorporate the butter. I took it all out on a wooden cutting board and when I started hand kneading (I did without extra flour on the wooden surface) it felt funny at first, because it is sticky due to the butter. However after few min of hand kneading, it gets nice and soft and everything that was stuck to the surface gets stuck into a ball, really cool. The 10 min kneading was a pleasure, such nice and soft texture (I’m not used to kneading by hand).
    My yeast never foams, but I still use it and everything always comes out great. I used bitter chocolate with the same amount of sugar and they are delicious, perfect for breakfast and afternoon tea.

  114. Hi, Deb!

    Thought I’d let you know I made these (without the egg wash) on Sunday morning, and they were amazing! Just sweet and gooey enough in the center to make you melt a little, but not so sweet that you can only have one. Ahem. :)

  115. Nikki

    These look so so gorgeous and deadly! I can’t wait to make them. I am thinking of making some adjustments like upping the amount of cinnamon but on the whole I need to add more babka to my life. I am seriously so excited. Thanks lady!

  116. Susan

    Back in the olden days (my era..according to my kids) and before ultra pasteurization, bakers used to scald milk then cool it to 110F before using it to make bread. It was said there is an enzyme in milk that weakens the protein in flour and inhibits gluten formation which then affects the rise of the bread. Heat kills this enzyme so it has no effect on the gluten formation. There is a lot of conflicting info about this all over the web. The heat in the Ultra pasteuraztion process is supposed to have done the trick, but some people buy milk that is not ultra pasteurized. If you are one of them, scald your milk (temp between 180F-190F) and cool it down (110F at least) before proofing your yeast…if for no other reason than for peace of mind, like Shirley Corrher does! And then there is this:
    Reply by carolinorygun on February 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm There is some research indicating that the condition of the yeast is a factor in the effectiveness of scalding. said:

    “The protease enzyme in yeast is only active if the cell wall of the yeast is damaged in some way. That is the only time it can penetrate the cell wall of the yeast. There are always a few damaged yeast cells especially in dry yeast where some cells are damaged during the drying process, or in yeast that has gotten a little old. If the protease enzyme does penetrate the cell wall of the yeast, it will weaken the gluten.”

    Cooks Illustrated did a test of scalding vs. not scalding and here are their results:

    “Scalding milk is also used often in bread baking. According to the Oregon State University Food Resource Web site, scalding breaks down a constituent in milk that can weaken gluten, the protein in dough that gives bread its structure. That milk protein is removed when the skin that forms on the scalded milk is skimmed off and discarded. Thus a loaf made with unscalded milk will not rise to the level of a loaf made with scalded milk.

    Always ones to question science, we decided to test this theory and baked up a few loaves of white sandwich bread. One was made with scalded and skimmed milk that was then cooled to room temperature, and one with milk that was simply heated to room temperature. We also included a third loaf made with scalded milk that had not been skimmed to determine whether or not the milk protein in question had to be physically removed from the milk or was simply destroyed by the scalding process.

    There was no doubt that both scalding and skimming were required to remove the protein. The loaf made with the scalded and skimmed milk rose much higher, had a much more open crumb, and was more tender than the other two, which were nearly identical. We baked up four more loaves of each and had exactly the same results: The bread made with scalded and skimmed milk was superior every time. So if you’re following a bread recipe that calls for scalded milk, the extra dirty pan you’ll need is well worth it.”

  117. Shani

    These look heavenly. I imagine they would be even more amazing with a layer of your peanutella added to the mix. Peanut buttery chocolate mini babkas – yum!!!

  118. knifegirl

    Just briefly crawled out from under the (you!) rock of ‘smitten’ and decided to spend a little quality time w/ my Amazon wish list. Apparently the food bloggers took over Amazon in my (I thought) brief absence. Your book is linked with The
    Contessas’. Yay. I need shelves.

  119. Catherine

    This looks delicious! Is there a reason you don’t use instant yeast? It’s always worked well for me, and I never keep the active dry variety around anymore. Can it be substituted? Thanks!

  120. I realize I’m missing the point entirely, but where is this bakery that boast of no cupcakes? I’m thinking that a trip is in order to fortify myself before attempting these mini babka muffins.

    1. deb

      Catherine — I used different yeasts for different things. Instant yeast doesn’t need to be proofed (yay) so you’d be able to skip the warm milk part, just using cold, but I find that the equivalent volume takes much longer to proof the same dough. “Instant,” as I understand, refers to the speed at which you can use it, not the speed at which it works. But I could be wrong, that’s just what I’ve found in my experiments and have yet have an expert confirm this.

      Hillary — I link to it in the second to last paragraph. It’s called Zucker.

      Mandy — It’s similar but I’d say slightly sturdier. The original babka recipe uses an elaborate, traditional twist and puts it in a loaf pan. The recipe yields three loaves. This recipe is roughly based on a 1/3 volume of that.

      Adam — There are some instructions at the end but you could also freeze these unbaked. But you’ll want to make sure they fully defrost and proof before baking them.

      Sidebar, which nobody requested — One of the reasons I almost never do what I suggested above — that is to freeze a bread dough, then later defrost, finish proofing and bake it — is that I am convinced that the amount of time it takes to fully defrost and finish proofing a dough is equal to or greater than the amount of time it takes to make it from scratch that very day. It would save you time if you were doing other cooking while it was defrosting, and probably more so with a dough like that that has a separate filling, but in most cases, it’s faster to just make the whole thing straight through on a single day. Buttery doughs like this, once baked and frozen, defrost and reheat quite well, IMHO.

  121. anaheeta

    I made these sumptuous bubka rosettes today and they turned out amazing! the husband and kids were most impressed and i am super pleased too. This is my very first attempt at baking with yeast…thanks for making it so special…you have me hooked!

  122. anaheeta

    hey deb! just posted this query but it has not appeared for some reason…so repeating the question…i have just realized that most of the baked rosettes have a hollow bottom – at least the ones that have risen well. No nice muffin tops but a deep hole when you turn it over…what could be the reason??

  123. Iris

    I made these this past weekend using 2/3 recipe of the cinnamon swirl bun filling (husband wanted cinnamon and it was Father’s Day.). They were delicious, just the right size, and soooooo easy. My milk didn’t foam either, like some others, but I had no problem with the risings. And that you can bake them the next morning! I didn’t need to know that!

  124. Brice Bowman

    Hi! These look really delicious and I’d love to bake them for my children, but one of my sons has an egg allergy. Do you have an idea or guess about how they’d turn out if I used an egg substitute (the potato starch powder) instead of the egg? I like to bake & have had mixed results with the egg substitute, but I’ve never tried it in a yeast bread. I’d lvoe to hear your thoughts if you have any! Thanks!

  125. Christine

    This is FANTASTIC. The Chocolate Babka is the first recipe I tried on this site, and it is the recipe that got me hooked! (on both babka and this site :D).

  126. Joy

    I loved you before and I love you even more now!!! i’ve made your original chocolate babka recipe before and although the end results was FANTASTIC, I just never had the strength to tackle it again. Way too much chopping of tons of chocolate LOL!
    But, GOD BLESS YOU REAL GOOD for scaling it down! This is PERFECT! Now I may have chocolate babka again!!! YAYYY DEB!!

  127. Erin

    I made them today and they are divine! I ate one that was so full of intense chocolate-y goodness I almost couldn’t speak afterwards. But then I went into raptures over the gorgeousness of the raw dough. Mine wasn’t scary sticky. I used the mixer (I bought a mixer specifically because a sticky brioche dough brought me to my knees) but my dough was faintly sticky but mostly smooth when it was done, and had the most gorgeous color and consistency. I even did the second rise at the wrong time (before I sliced them, while still in the log), and had trouble with the milk (I let it get too hot and put the yeast in when it was scalding, and then tried a second time when the milk wasn’t that warm, but it rose beautifully).

    Thanks, Deb! My husband thanks you too!

  128. Keri

    I am in love with babka. (To all the third graders who just asked if I’d marry it….the answer is YES!) I’ll be spreading the love in a few days! Thanks for helping solve this crisis!

  129. CHOMP

    I made these on saturday and had a bit of trouble with the dough. It stayed very, very, VERY sticky through out the whole process which made almost impossible to roll… at the end I didn’t even bothered cutting it, I just put the whole “loaf” in the oven. It cooked and tasted fine but I would like to know if you could give me any tips as to why the dough didn’t firm up.
    Thank you!!

    1. deb

      Chomp — The dough should not firm up. Brioche and other buttery doughs like this are always sticky. The best technique is to keep the counter well-floured, so that the flour forms a buffer between the dough and surface. Adding more flour to the dough will make it more firm, but also a less tender cake.

  130. Laurie Jo

    Made these this past weekend and I’m SO GLAD the recipe specified the dough was sticky, because man was it sticky! Anyway, they turned out awesome, even though rolling and cutting was kind of a disaster. Thanks for such a delightful recipe.

  131. Mega

    Made these twice last week. They are sooooo goooood!!!! The first time I made it per recipe (aka choc rosettes). The second time I actually rolled the dough, cut it into smaller pieces and made small dumplings with lots of the filling inside. Bake as per Deb’s instruction. When I want one, I just microwaved it for 10-20sec. They felt like chocolate pillows and taste great. Thank you Deb for this great recipe!!

  132. Samantha

    I made these last night. They turned out delicious, but boy were they ugly. Apparently I am not good at making delicate sticky pastries! They were a hit though.

  133. Bunny

    Hey Deb, can I use this recipe to make 1 babka loaf? I tried one-third-ing the original [Martha’s] recipe but a. it’s a pain in the tuches b. the dough turned out really soft and and my shaping and twisting maneuvers turned out kinda sloppy. I think it has to do with my converting abilities..
    Thanks and BTW that other recipe is de-lish.

    1. deb

      Bunny — Yes! This will have a slightly lower proportion of chocolate than the original recipe. It also doesn’t include the streusel, which I think is a very important part of true babka. I think I might have dialed back the cinnamon too. Good luck!

  134. Kate

    Hi Deb!

    These look wonderful. Do you think it would be possible to switch out the cinnamon for a few scoops of peanut butter? I have a feeling that that would taste terrific!

  135. Jana

    They look great! I tried to bake them, but the dough was a lot of trouble. Without flour it was really really sticky and soft and with flour like sponge. It didnot work well, but i´m going to try them again soon.

  136. allana

    I read this post and knew exactly what I needed to do on my upcoming trip to NYC… I NEEDED to go to that bakery! I went a bit out of my way to get there (ok, maybe more than a bit) but mmm, you’re right, so good! I tried their roses and also one of their date cookies and they were delicious. Great find!

    Now I just need to learn how to do the homemade version… but it’d be pretty dangerous to have that knowledge!

  137. D Martin

    You’ve never made your babka since?! Wow. It’s become a Christmas tradition, my brother-in-law’s birthday tradition, etc tradition around here since!

    I’ll have to try these too.

  138. Noemie

    These look AMAZING………..
    Can’t wait to make them.
    Make me think, do you have a recipe for a SAVORY version of roses?
    There is a cafe here that serves Tuna, Mozzarela and Tomato Roses, which are to die for, and I need a good recipe for dough that will work as roses….

    Love your blog!

  139. Sarah

    I made these this morning and holy yum they were fantastic! The only issue I had was that after the buns had baked long enough to have browned at the edges the centres of the buns were still a little bit raw and sunk down instead of rising up. I didn’t want to cook them for too much longer so that I wouldn’t burn the outer edges. Any ideas what may have caused this or how to fix it in the future (because I will definitely be making these again)?

  140. AlisWhim

    Probably you’ll never read this comments, you receive so much… You are the queen of the biscuits and I would like inspire from you to do my own recipes lactose free.

  141. May

    My husband doesn’t do chocolate so I subbed in 1/2 pound frozen blueberries for the chocolate. Changed nothing else. Delicious and very pretty!

  142. Hi Deb! A quick question (sorry if you answered this already; I searched and did not find it): HOW exactly do you reheat frozen buns? I don’t want my wife and me to eat them all at once. :) Thanks in advance.

    1. deb

      krys — I heat thing in a low, warm oven (250, usual) until they’re warm throughout. This keeps them from baking twice and drying out and doesn’t take much longer than heating them at a high temperature.

  143. Kris

    Mmmm. Very good.

    Thank you for adding the metric units. It’s so much nicer to use a scale for measuring flour, butter etc..

  144. CarrynM

    I made these for The Husband’s birthday and he loved them so much he asked if i could make a batch for the office. Do I need to change anything (like dough kneading time or rise times) if I double the recipe?

  145. Robin

    Hello! I can’t seem to get my yeast to activate. Same with the pizza dough. I live in Denver. Is it altitude? The milk didn’t really get foamy.

  146. Hi Deb, this is the first time I am commenting, though I have been on your blog, nosying in and admiring your work for years! The photo of the buns is enough recommendation to bake these, but the ‘poor you’ bit in your post got me lol! I did NOT want to be put into that camp!

    I made these buns today and it’s been a long time since a bake has been WOLFED down by the family like this was! I was a touch over enthusiastic with the rolling, and so, though quite long, the dough was a bit thin. No matter, the end result was pretty enough and an unadulterated joy to eat. It’s definitely a repeat, as it’s so easy to make and utterly delicious to eat.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe :-)

  147. Holly

    Hi Deb,

    Made these with my husband last night and we are eating them this morning for a late brunch ;) Perfect for a Sunday. The recipe was easy enough once you got past the sticky dough but the crumbling of the chocolate over the dough was a little tricky. We ended up letting the dough sit after crumbling chocolate so that it would meld more with the dough.

    I have to say we added a simple powdered sugar frosting on top – and that made these even more sinful but perfectly cinnamon-rolly :)

  148. Jilian

    I made these Saturday night, to eat on Sunday.

    To readers: don’t be alarmed if your dough isn’t stick or difficult. Mine wasn’t, and I was a little worried they wouldnt turn out, but they did!

    I can never get a good rectangle when I shape the dough. I ended up with an oblong shape. So I had a few buns that were slightly smaller. I put them on the outer cups of the muffin tin with the big guys in the middle and everything worked out just fine.

    This is a great recipe! They are very delicious.

  149. Devora G

    What an amazing recipe! I couldn’t decide between making this and making the full babka recipe, so I used this one and then followed the directions to make the loaves … This amount made one loaf, though there wasn’t quite as much chocolate as I was hoping. Oh well–still delicious! Thus emboldened, I may try out the full recipe and simply freeze the extra loaves.

  150. Karen

    I probably should be embarrassed to say this but I’ve made these 3 times in the past month. I’ve intended to make your chocolate babka recipe since you posted it but it always seemed too time consuming. When I saw this recipe, I decided to make them immediately. They didn’t rise worth a flitterdeedee (yeast never bubbled up) but I was so anxious to try them, I just plowed ahead. They were good but the dough (no duh) wasn’t quite right. So I bought new yeast and tried agaIn the next weekend. This time the yeast bubbled and the dough rose, and they were awesome. I froze the finished rolls but over the next few days I ate all of them. Which brought indignant protests from my sister who is coming to visit in two weeks, and who wanted to try them. So a couple of days ago I made a double batch. This time I left the dough to rise sitting in the sun, covered, while I ran errands. The yeast hadn’t bubbled up so well as the second batch, but the longer proof time and higher temp yielded significantly more rise to the dough. They are super awesome! I’ve frozen most of them, and I’m determined to stop eating them before my sister gets here. Mostly I’m writing to say thanks for all your work (I’ve already pre-ordered your book!), thanks for this particular recipe, and to let everyone know these do taste just as good after freezing. I put the previously baked roll straight from the freezer into the oven at 350 degrees for 7′; they’re perfect every time. That makes them so easy to make ahead of time for company. Thank you!!!!

  151. Bambi

    Made this today- absolutely perfect, rose and all! Made the dough in my bread maker, which did all the mixing for me and it rose about 2.5 times it’s original size and had an amazing texture. The fam absolutely loved these, thanks so much!!

  152. chana weisberg

    Deb, these remind me of my mothers babka and kokosh. Unfortunately my mother didnt write down her recipes and now has altzheimers. Could you email me the recipe? Are these Dairy and if they are can I replace margarine instead of butter? THanks! I love your site.

  153. Ohhh These perfect babkas remind me to Holland. There, they were made with a delicious syrop and cinamon!! I can still remember the sell in the village’s very very little bakkery. Thanks a lot for sharing!! I love your work!

  154. Bridget Ulrich

    Wow! What a pretty little perky dough this made! My favorite dough I have made to date baking. I loved how easy this was but looked like it was challenging to complete when viewed as the final product. It tasted wonderful, everyone loved them.

    I used the egg wash and really liked the way it added to the flavor profile. I made them smaller than recommended as my muffin tin is small and I wanted enough to go around a presentation I was doing.

    Thank you so much for sharing these! Your recipe was excellent. I would only say that I mixed these by hand with a rubber spatula and it was not difficult but the dough never got super sticky or stringy towards the end of kneading. It was stickier at the beginning. I was little concerned at first because it did not meet these specifications but the dough turned out wonderful in the end.

  155. Ashley

    Hi Deb,
    I just made these and they flavor is great, but they never rose? Is the 1.5 tsp amount of yeast correct? I made cinnamon bread with the exact same jar of yeast, so I know the yeast is fine and the yeast foamed in the milk… They taste amazing, but are just tiny and flat. I left them out for 2 hours and even did them overnight in the fridge and still nothing. I’m trying to figure out how to fix it for next time. In the mean time, I’ll just be eating these like little cookies… YUM. TIA!

  156. Lizzies Mom

    I am baking these amazing buns again (4th or 5th time). They are always a huge hit. This time I will try to add a bit of streusel from the Chocolate Babka recipe. I am curious to know if there is a reason you omitted it from these lucious gems.

  157. Lucie Taylor

    Hi Deb,
    I have just made these last night, put into the fridge and baked this morning. I followed your recipe exactly, but they didn’t puff up at all. Maybe leaving them sit out of the fridge for a while would help?

    Thank you.

    1. deb

      Lucie — Yikes! It sounds from your comment and some of the others above that a little more rising time or a smidge more yeast would be beneficial. I will add a note up top. I hope you still found them delicious, despite the lack of puff.

  158. These are amazing. The only mistake I did last time I made it was not doubling the recipe. Today I doubled the recipe though. It’s almost the same amount of work and you get 24 swirls instead of only 12…

  159. Just made these today. The recipe worked out fine, i just added additional 50 g of flour, but i always do so as we have a different type of flour here. I also put 200 g of chocolate, which still was way too much for me but just perfect for my husband. I love your recipes, they always work.

  160. I am in the middle of making this recipie and I am planning on doing the overnight method you mentioned of getting them all done and putting them in the refrigerator. My question is do I let them rise for the 30 min and then cover them with the oiled plastic and put them in the refrigerator? or do you not do the last rise if you are putting them in the refrigerator?

    Can’t wait to have these in the morning! Taking them to a sunday school fellowship tomorrow morning!

  161. Griselda Araujo

    I made these over the weekend and everyone absolutely loved them! The first attempt my dough didnt rise for some strange reason so I tried again. And Voila! Thank you for this receipe :)

  162. Megan

    I don’t know if you still look at comments from older posts, but I just had to tell you that these were so freakin’ delicious, I can’t even get over it!!! I too had a hard time getting my dough to rise, so I let it sit for longer than an hour and then I let the buns sit in the pan for more than a half hour. I think for me it might have been that my milk was not in a wide enough container, so a lot of the yeast ended up hanging out on top of other yeast instead of on top of the milk, so that is an adjustment I will make next time. Either way, I think this recipe is pretty forgiving because I still had really amazing chocolate babka at the end of it! YUM YUM YUM!

  163. Sandy

    Dang! I wish I had read Susan’s post about scalding the milk before proofing the yeast! I had the same yeast-milk not foaming problem.

  164. AH

    These are a wonderful treat. I have made them several times. What I’ve found is that if I use nearly an entire packet of yeast and let the dough rise twice before rolling it out, the results are much better.

  165. Hannah, Israel

    Hi Deb.
    I’ve discovered you blog only recently, better late than never..
    A friend pointed out those chocolate babke swirl buns a week ago and as soon as I saw them I knew it’s a matter of days before I make them.
    My husband says they are “the crown jewels of yeast cakes”..
    The dough was easy to make and handle same with the filling and assembly. The smell while baking – unbelievable.
    My humble comments:
    1.As you’ve suggested, I’ve used 2 heaped tsp of (instant) dry yeast.
    2.Due to using instant dry yeast, I skipped the part where you let them ferment with milk. I’ve put all the ingredients for the dough in the mixer bowl and kneaded for 10 minutes on low speed – dough doubled in size after an hour and rolls came out puffy and soft.
    3.I did use egg wash.
    4.I added a milk+sugar syrup for extra gooiness – brought 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla essence to a boil and pored over each roll as soon as they came out of the oven.
    I hope use my comments and that you might find them helpful.
    Thanks for your great recipes!

  166. Sam F

    I tried this recipe with 2 very small eggs instead of one large one, which I can report is a huge mistake and makes the dough incredibly sticky and difficult to work with.

    However one success I did have was instead of chocolate using 50g of butter mixed with 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, melting the butter so I could spread the mixture over the dough when its rolled out, and then sprinkling sultanas over it.
    The result was delicious, maybe needs some apple needs to be in there somewhere and brown sugar sprinkled over the top. This is something I will try soon and report back on.

  167. Okay, Deb, I need your advice. I’m starting to plan for Christmas morning. Do I do these buns, or go for the Chocolate Babka? Never having had a babka, I wonder if I’d be biting off more than I could/should chew. Nevertheless, it’s awesomeness is trying hard to suck me in. I’m trying to make the smart decision, I just don’t know which way to go. I’m a regular bread baker, so I’m plenty comfortable with yeast, etc. Still, I’m not sure if I’d be in over my head. Thoughts?

  168. I remember making these for breakfast THE DAY the recipe was published. I couldn’t wait for them to come hot out of the oven. I may have been feeling a bit lush that day, as I’m pretty sure I unraveled them and smeared salted butter on the steaming hot bread….I’d highly recommend it!

  169. Liat

    I baked these buns today! Absolutely amazing!! The dough was really sticky but the result… Sooo yummy!!
    I used 2 1/4 ts dry yeast.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  170. Marsha

    Deb, sweet doughs always need a bit more yeast. I think your suggestion to bump it up to two tsp. should work. However, if anyone is a serious sweet dough baker, SAF has a line of yeast called SAF Gold, which is made specifically to work with sweet yeast dough. It only comes in 1 lb. pkgs, at least as far as I’ve been able to find, which wouldn’t be very economical for the occasional baker, such as I!

    I just found this recipe and plan to make it in the next day or so. Our weather has cooled down enough that I’m not afraid to turn on the oven.


  171. Michelle

    These look incredible! The only problem is I don’t have a muffin tin. Would these work just baked on a flat baking sheet or do you think they wouldn’t rise? Would it be better to go for a cinnamon-bun squashed up arrangement?

  172. Jill Braunstein

    Hello, I have made these and they are delicious. We are having a dairy free Thanksgiving (yuk). It is going to be kosher this year because of my son-in-law. (who I love so it is ok)
    Do you think I could use soy or almond milk and a parve margarine ? Thank you so much, you are so talented. jill braunstein

  173. Debbie

    Excellent recipe! I didn’t get mine to rise well. I used a full packet of yeast,.. but maybe the temp was wrong or I kneaded too long. Still good though – and I will enjoy attempting this again. THANKS!

  174. Sarah U

    Last year I made these for Christmas and, declaring a new tradition, I made them again today to enjoy for Christmas eve breakfast. I had the dough in the bowl to rise, began cleaning up when behold! what’s this extra butter on the counter? oh, that’s the butter I was supposed to knead into the dough? after a poorly-stifled “arrrgggghhhh!!!!” i grabbed the dough, smeared/kneaded/shoved the butter into the dough, left it to rise again…can you believe they turned out delicious as usual? I can’t. But they did, I’m happy, and I’m gonna call it a Christmas miracle :)

  175. Kalina

    I made these and they were/are so so good! I successfully converted them to gluten free as I have Celiac Disease. I altered absolutely nothing besides flour types and I was so excited to have a new fancy recipe which my family loves. What a marvelous experience! :)

  176. Shiyomi

    I followed the recipe, however, the dough was not sticky…or as you say it should be after I take it out of the dough hook.

    Is that a severe problem? I’m hoping that it will rise….

  177. Jo

    Hi, my husband is French and obsessed with nutella – I made these and they turned out great but I was wondering if I’d be able to swap the chocolate mixture with nutella, or would it melt and run out? Thanks xx

  178. Patrice

    Hey Deb! I made these a few days ago, and the hubby and I have been savoring them each morning with coffee/tea. :) Every time, he tells me what a good job I did on them and how delicious they are. Thanks woman! I showed him your beautiful blog on it with all the food porn (give credit where it’s due; I didn’t alter the recipe yet). Yours is always my favorite blog because (well mostly because your recipes are wonderful, and also:) you demonstrate time and again what can be made in a tiny kitchen (that’s the hook that got me, since my kitchen is California-small, thankfully not NY-small) I made your Rugelach recipe with chocolate in December, but somehow I think this one is probably (SLIGHTLY) lower calorie since there’s no cream cheese in the dough. Plus it seems easier/faster. Speaking of dough – this is my new favorite. It terribly shames the cinnamon rolls we made in the past (especially the ones from Pillsbury where it’s more like biscuit dough than yeasty-soft deliciousness!), and as I’m way into chocolate, this will be our bun treat that gets saved in the permanent recipe folder. :) Also, thank you for not posting calorie counts in recipes… it’s probably better not knowing on this one so we can have plausible deniability. Thanks again, Miss Wonderful!

  179. Sadie

    For those without the kitchen equipment… This is really easy and I had great results using the big holes of the box grater for the chocolate and hand kneading the dough – the kneading was faster than 10 minutes. Also, my yeast (I used 1.75t) seemed a little flat in the milk and the risings took longer than called for, but the end result was perfect. Next time I would go a little easier on the chocolate and round up the cinnamon. Thanks Deb!

  180. MarySC

    I am a very experienced baker… these did not rise much at all either time. The buns turned out small but tender and delicious. I used half semi-sweet and half special dark chocolate. I did not use muffin pans, just put in a 9X13 pan like cinnamon rolls as I prefer soft sides.
    (I always use instant yeast, haven’t had active dry in the house for years. Just mix it with the dry ingredients, then heat the milk until very warm, add the butter and egg, and mix all together. The instant yeast is more stable and less temperature sensitive; I buy it in pound bags at a warehouse store, keep some in an old yeast jar in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer.)

  181. Summer

    Hi Deb! Just stumbled upon this recipe and they look amazing! A couple questions though – if you pulse the chocolate along with the butter, wouldn’t you end up with a gooey filling instead of chunky ones? Also, do you use melted butter for the dough? If yes, can I substitute it with vege oil instead? Thanks a bunch!

    1. deb

      Summer — It gets a little messy, but it’s still an effective way to mix it all up. I haven’t tried these with vegetable oil; if you do, I might use a couple spoonfuls less.

  182. Elizzy

    I love to bake but have always been afraid of yeast doughs. I finally decided to try my hand with these buns and, much to my surprise, they turned out perfectly on my first try and were much easier to make than I expected! Thanks, Deb!

  183. evl

    I just made these for the first time — as usual, very good stuff!
    I had only 6 oz. of chocolate but it seems to be plenty. As you
    suggested, I used 2¼ tsp. yeast, and after sprinkling it onto the warm milk I stirred it gently just enough to make sure all the yeast was wet. I followed David’s suggestion and made the filling in the microwave. I found the rising and baking times exactly right (when I checked the dough 45 minutes into the first rise I thought I’d need a lot more time, but after an hour it had doubled very cooperatively).
    I dare not have 3 loaves of babka in my house, but this recipe may save me from myself. Thanks for another winner!

  184. Catherine

    Oh. Lord. These are amazing. I can’t believe I waited so long to try this. I’ve never had babka, so I can’t compare… but if this is similar, I think that may have to be next… I used 7g of yeast and it took the full hour to rise, but it’s cool here today.

  185. deb

    One loaf. Re, breadmaker, I’ve actually never used one before. But if you know of another brioche/babka/rich yeasted cake recipe that uses one, no reason not to start with the instructions for that using these ingredients.

  186. Monica

    Hi Deb, is it alright to substitute semisweet chocolate with milk chocolate? Thanks! B the way, I have been following your blog for years and you never fail to impress me with your talent. Everything I baked using your recipes are totally delicious yummilicious luscious you name it. :) Have a jolly Merry Christmas and happy new year!

    1. deb

      Monica — Thank you, and of course. Milk is more sweet, but whatever you have and saves you a run to the store is always the best option, in my opinion. :)

  187. unju

    In the fridge and ready to be baked for Christmas morning. My kids are going to love it! I added 2 tsps of dry yeast for good measure

  188. stella

    i tried this receipt and fail.. i thought i was a swirl croissant but turns out it wasn’t.. even though i fail but still can tell…

  189. Annie Hogue

    I liked the flavor of these very well after they had cooled and rested a while. When I ate one warm, there was a dry feel to the filling and the pleasantness of the chocolate didn’t come through. (I used Ghirardelli, which I have always had good results with in baking.) But they were lovely when cool, thanks for the recipe!

  190. Lorraine Lipson

    Gorgeous! In my Lithuanian/Latvian/Jewish heritage, these are known as bulkas, the most desired edible at the high holidays. I could fantasize about these during the fast, much to my shame!

  191. Christina

    I received your book, The Smitten Kitchen cookbook, for my birthday from a good friend and chef. I have now made almost every non-meat recipe in the book and many more from your blog which I read faithfully. Every recipe has been a hit with family and friends. This one for chocolate swirl buns is no different. They are tremendous! Thank you for restoring my love of cooking – post-kids. I was beginning to think that all I had time or energy for anymore was Annie’s mac-n-cheese!

  192. Jo


    My husband is obsessed with Nutella and I was wondering if I’d be able to substitute the chocolate filling for this? Or would it melt and run out? If not we’ll still both be fighting over the last one! Going to make them for Christmas breakfast

  193. Jess

    Made these for Thanksgiving brunch – they were a hit! I think the dough needed a little while longer to rise/double (or I could have rolled it out a little thinner) as I ended up with 10 beautifully swirled rolls plus two funny-looking end pieces. I was so happy with how they came out! I’m still new-ish to yeast doughs so I felt a little under the gun to have them turn out delicious.

    I was tempted to make a frosting for them but decided against it (pregnancy is doing weird things to my palate!). No one complained.

  194. Jessica

    Just have to say, I’m on my second round of.making these (the first time making the day before and placing in the oven though, first time I just dived right in).

    The few tweaks I’ve done and noticed an amazing result with this time has been:
    1. Substituting the cinnamon for two teaspoons of instant coffee granules to give the real brunchy feel.
    2. I left the rise time a little longer to start with.
    3. When I inevitably broke the dough in half while rolling out and it got hard, adding another teaspoon of milk and hand mixing with floured hands did wonders to bring back the silky smooth consistency for rolling. I got to 25 inches long!!! (Around 15 the first time I did it)
    4. Before putting them in the fridge I let them rise for five minutes in the warmth of the kitchen. They are almost double the size I achieved the first time I made these!
    5. Used 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast, milk chocolate instead of semisweet, and margarine instead of butter which has made more bubbles and made the rise in the same bowl easier.

    I’m really excited to get these in the oven in the morning, cannot wait to stuff my face with them! I’ll follow up with a comment about how these coffee chocolate ones taste when their finished but they look amazing!
    Thanks for the recipe so much, my boyfriend’s family are from Latvia and babka is a tradition his mother loves – so hopefully these will impress even her come Christmas day tomorrow!

  195. Haley

    I was GOING to make babka but ran out of time to start the night before, so I wanted something similar. I used 2 teaspoons yeast, and spread Nutella over the rolled dough (about 1/2 cup), then sprinkled on the filling. Instead of rolling, I cut the dough into strips and braided it, then baked it in a loaf pan for about 20-25 minutes. It was delicious, and everyone raved!

  196. I made these buns adding orange zest to the dough and filling. The kitchen smelled divine and the buns were a delicious breakfast treat. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  197. Jen

    I made these delicious chocolate buns for my daughter’s birthday breakfast. I made it a few years ago and forgot that the last time I had made it with chocolate chips that I put into the food processor to make the chocolate pieces smaller. I should have done that this time, or used mini chocolate chips. It was still delicious, but the chocolate chips were almost jumping out of the baked buns at the top and would have been better melted into smaller pieces. Also, I would suggest placing the chocolate mixture to the very edges of the dough or else you’re left with end buns that don’t have enough chocolate in them. If you use chocolate chips, you may not want to roll the dough too thin as the chips can poke through the thin dough when you roll it. I made the buns the night before, refrigerated with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and then let them warm up on the counter for about 40 minutes before baking. When they came out, they looked like cupcakes so we put a birthday candle in for a fun birthday breakfast. :-)

  198. Ashley

    Hi there!

    Do you think I can make this recipe and arrange the slices in a 9inch round pan ? kinda like what you would do with cinnamon buns?

    Or make one large babka in a round pan ?

  199. Jen

    I made these today. I think they could have risen more, my kitchen wasn’t as warm as it should have been, but wow, they are amazing! I’m going to have to give them away quickly so I don’t eat them all!

  200. Tara

    Made these a couple of times. Just ate TWO of them, and can’t stop thinking about them! So good… I think I’m going to make them and freeze before baking so I can bring them around at holiday time. I did do half and half semi-sweet and dark chocolate for the filling- the bitter is SO good. I do put butter on them when hot before eating them…

  201. Madeleine

    No rise :( and it’s not the yeast, because I made lazy pizza dough last night and it rose beautifully.
    I think it’s the sugar! I’m wondering if/how this could be remedied, for those of us who don’t/can’t run out and buy special yeast.

    From KAF (

    Any loaf where the weight of the sugar is 10% or more of the flour weight* is going to rise sloooowly. Add too much sugar, and your bread will stop rising entirely.

    *Example: Make a loaf with 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) flour and 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar, and the weight of the sugar will be 14% (1 3/4 divided by 12 3/4) of the weight of the flour.

    Why the problem? It’s that liquid balance again. Sugar is hygroscopic; it absorbs as much liquid as it can. The result? Thirsty yeast is left high and dry, and simply goes dormant.

    The solution? “Osmotolerant” yeast, a type developed especially for high-sugar doughs, e.g., SAF Gold. This yeast is like a camel; it simply doesn’t need as much water as normal yeast, and thus performs better under dry (read: high-sugar) conditions.

  202. Chris W

    I made these yesterday afternoon. I only had almond milk on hand, so I didn’t use whole milk, but the recipe turned out beautifully. My friends loved them.
    I used chocolate chips, and I wish I’d have chopped them a little. For next time, I’ll chop the chocolate, and maybe add some orange zest right into the dough.
    Thank you for sharing them!

  203. stacy

    Wondering if anyone has had success without using a stand mixer. I don’t own one but would love to try this for a snow-day bakeathon. I do have the dough hook attachment for my hand mixer.. though I doubt the old Oster will last ten minutes.

  204. Jennifer

    these didn’t rise for me – they didn’t rise the first time, and then didn’t rise in the fridge in about 24 hrs?? they tasted great though – so i’d love to try again, if you could help me figure out why they didn’t rise??

  205. These were so easy to make compared to the regular original Babke recipe on your website. The filling and dough tasted just as good, but I’m a purist and really missed the butter and flour topping from the other babka recipe.

    Keep up the GREAT work Deb. Your recipes always delight!!!

  206. Lucy

    Well I made these at the weekend, and actually………dare I say it……….they were just too intensely chocolatey for me. If I make again I would be tempted to halve the quantity of filling.
    My husband suggested a chocolate orange variant may lift things a little, so I may try ommitting the cinnamon and adding orange zest next time.
    I am also finding my proving regularly takes at least double the amount of time stated here. I’ve tried different yeasts to no avail – perhaps you have speedier yeast in the US than we have in the UK :)

  207. Lara

    These are amazing and were all eaten for breakfast (split evenly among, um, two people). Also tried to bake the dough as plain buns with a splash of orange blossom water, without the filling, and hot damn it’s the brioche of my dreams. This is it I’m not using another brioche dough ever again.

  208. Ellie

    I’ve made this recipe several times. It’s quite tasty BUT the only time it has risen as advertised was when I kneaded the heck out of it (as if I were making a brioche following Thomas Keller’s instructions). In my most recent attempt, I used SAF gold yeast (3 tsp), and it still didn’t have enough oomph to get a good rise.

  209. Beth Steele

    I made this exactly as described and they came out FAB!!!
    And they froze like a dream!
    I froze the leftovers after they had cooled, then loosely wrapped them in foil and popped them in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 15 mins to warm up.

    These were so good that the moment we finished the last one my husband immediately asked me to make another batch, for emergencies.

  210. Hillary

    I made this and it was absolutely delicious! Just 1 question- was I supposed to roll the dough starting at the short or long side? I started on the short side trying to give the dough more swirls, but the edge pieces ended up having a lot less. Thank you.

  211. UpstateElf

    Delicious buns! Great directions make them easy to make. Because I love your Better Babka recipe, I borrowed from it a bit on my third batch- added grated orange zest to the dough, and the sugar syrup after baking the buns (omitted the egg glaze). Making it again today- thank you for cracking this recipe!

  212. Riha

    These are some delicious buns! I used instant yeast (~6 grams) but followed the proofing instructions anyway – the instructor in a bread class I once took said that it’s always a good idea to do so unless you’re making a huge batch of dough. For the filling, I replaced the cinnamon with instant coffee+ground cardamom, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. Thanks for a great recipe!

  213. Laurianne

    So, I decided to try this recipe after having received a stand mixer as a gift (greatest gift!). I also had problems with the dough rise, but I think it falls on me and my too active dry yeast and my cold Canadian kitchen. All that to say, they still turned out super tasty and I can’t wait to try it again :)
    Thank you Deb!

    1. jjjeanie

      My kitchen is cold too–almost always, even when it’s hot outside. If it’s sunny, I put the dough into my car, and that works really well. Just be careful it doesn’t get too hot! (Someone else mentioned putting it into a 100-degree oven, but my oven doesn’t measure that low.)

  214. Anne N

    Because it’s rather cold in my kitchen, I used a standard envelope of yeast. The first rise still took more than an hour. After an overnight in the fridge, I put the buns in a 100 degree oven for 20 minutes to start the second rise, then parked the buns near a radiator while preheating the oven. That worked perfectly. I replaced the cinnamon with a good pinch of instant espresso. Ended up with 14 buns because I can’t divide by 12 apparently. The two extra ones baked well in buttered little Pyrex cups. Will try adding lemon zest in the dough and the sugar syrup from Ottolenghi’s babka next time, just because that babka is the best. But these buns were great. Thank you Deb!

  215. Amy

    I made these by hand, using a wine bottle as a rolling pin, with a filling of a random amount of cocoa powder mixed with softened butter and cinnamon, in a toaster oven, and they still came out perfect. A highly adaptable, and delicious, recipe.

  216. Anne N

    Update to my previous comment re Ottolenghi-ing the flavor. This time I added lemon zest to the dough and that raised these buns from yummy to fantastic. No need for the sugar syrup. The egg wash is a very nice touch, recommended.

  217. Jenna Flint

    Babka is a Polish sweet bread… not cake.. and Martha Stewart has nothing to do with Babka.. it’s a traditional bread.. ( I am I Polish) there are all types of Babka… the normal traditional one has orange zest and plump raisins with 0 swirls of anything… it’s soft and a tiny bit crumbly.. and is a super wet dough…