I believe in eating chocolate for breakfast if the opportunity presents itself. Last time I made smitten kitchen’s Chocolate Swirl Buns it was a temporary farewell to gluten as I experimented with anti-inflammatory diet. It was a haunting reminder during those few weeks of what I missed out in the name of healthy eating. The diet experiment didn’t make me feel better or worse so I saw no reason to continue. However, the sweet memory of those chocolate swirl buns, a twist on the more decadent chocolate babka, remains and I have to fight the urge to make them again.
A couple weekends ago my friends and I had a girls weekend sleepover and I decided it would be the perfect excuse to revisit chocolate babka. This is the kind of decadence that is best to share among good friends. Coincidentally, smitten kitchen also revisited this classic and declared Yotam Ottolenghi’s supremacy over Martha Stewart’s version. Obviously I could not just take her words and had to decide for myself.
The simple enriched dough with eggs and butter was easy to work with. Most of work was done by the stand mixer anyway. It rose to great heights with a combination of room temperature and refrigerator fermentation. The chilled dough easily stretched to long thin sheet, all the better to create babka’s signature intricate swirls. Smitten kitchen’s advice to freeze the dough roll briefly before splitting lengthwise in half is key. Mine sliced easily without mess. It was a joy to braid them into a twist showing all the beautifully swirled chocolate filling.
I let my two loaves proofed during my hour long drive. As soon as I stepped in the door, I asked my friends to preheat the oven because the babkas were ready to bake! Both were beautiful in their unique way yet equally enticing. The generous syrup glaze added shine and hints of sweetness as if the babkas were not already irresistible enough. The timeless combination of buttery sweet bread punctuated with rich swirls of chocolate was incomparable. My friends and I greedily devoured our freshly baked bedtime snack.
The next day was warm and beautiful, everything I could possibly asked for on an autumn day. We feasted, we drank, we sang, we watched movies, we had a great time. In the evening, I returned to the kitchen to check on the babkas. I looked forward to another taste of this baking success. To my horror, we were not the only ones attracted to chocolate babkas. Hundreds of fruit flies found their way to the sweet treat and made themselves comfortable. I still shudder at the memory of all the little bugs wiggling on the previously picture-perfect loaves. With equal amount of dismay and disgust, I threw away all the remaining babkas. They were definitely the fanciest fruit fly bait I ever made.