Chocolate Babka Recipe (2024)

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What is the syrup for? My bubbe, an immigrant from Minsk, arrived here with a brass mortal and pestle, and 4 brass candlesticks. She was the best babka baker in ny. (no really.) She'd recoil at a chocolate babka, a flavor not indigenous to Eastern Europe. For me, the traditional cinnamon sugar/streusel babka. Meantime, back to my question -- what is the syrup for? Especially since Melissa didn't use it, show it, mention it in the video -- Please enlighten us.

Thank you.

Barbara from Ottawa

Decadent and good! A few suggestions . . . Do steps 1-4, then do 6, 7 and 8 during the first rising. Then put dough in fridge (Step 5) and finish everything the next day. Also, much easier to add the butter earlier in the mixing process -- I found that the dough didn't want to "accept" the butter when I added it at the end. Tried it again, alternating it with some of the flour, and that was perfect. Finally, I'd skip the sugar in the filling -- it's sweet enough!

Melissa Clark

Hi Ellen - as others pointed out, the video is a condensed guide to the recipe, not a complete step by step. In this case we did not show the syrup. And you can skip it if you prefer - though it does add moisture and sweetness but is not strictly necessary.


The chocolate mixture IS runny if you just let it cool to room temp. But after that, if you put it in the fridge for a while (or freezer briefly) while you are preparing the streusel and syrup and rolling out the dough, it will firm up to paste consistency.


The syrup is brushed on top of finished Babka, just out of the oven, to give it a crispy delicious shine.
I did my own babka trials and one thing I learned from David Lebovitz, master baker and home cook, is to add brownie bits to the chocolate filling. This raises the Babka bar.
And nothing is wrong with a cinnamon's perfect as well.

johan e

Excellent choice, going for the chocolate babka! We all know the cinnamon babka to be the lesser babka.


I've made this 5 times in the past month! I started making it in a bundt pan too (placing both loaves, stacked in the pan) for big gatherings and it's amazing!


You should specify that you need to cover the bowl with cling film or ensure it's airtight some other way when putting in the fridge to rise overnight... the way the recipe reads now, it sounds like you're advising to re-cover with the towel, which dries out the dough and can prevent it from rising properly in the oven.

Chef Egon

I’ve made this several times now. This is what I’ve found:1) It delicious without the streusel topping and syrup2) Using Nutella is better than making the fudge filling. I found the fudge filling too liquidly and it made a mess when rolling.

Kat Miller

I froze mine after the second rise, right before it would go into the oven. I left it rise and thaw on the counter for around 8 hours, and it baked up just as heavenly as the first loaf. Yum!


Alyson, proofing on the counter overnight instead can actually over prove the dough by giving it too much time in a warm environment. If you shorten the time it will be a much less yeasty flavor which is what we typically associate with breads that are closer to an artisan quality. By placing dough in the fridge for a cold rise you slow the rate at which the yeast works, and it eats through the sugars at that slower rate creating a greater depth of flavor.

Reshma A

I am making this now (half recipe), and have a few questions:
1. When I weighed my yeast, the entire package came out to 1/8 oz (package itself says 1/4 oz). I used the whole package for 1/2 the recipe. Could my yeast be old/dried out to account for this discrepancy? No issues with rise.

2. When braiding, should the exposed filling be tucked into the braid or exposed outward? I exposed outward but am concerned the chocolate paste is going to dry out. Perhaps these instructions can be clarified.


That. Was. Amazing. Yes, it took a lot of time. And yes, (as some people never tire of pointing out) it includes a lot of "richness", like butter, and cream, and sugar, and chocolate. But on a Sunday afternoon, with a cup of tea.....oh my! I was a bit concerned when the loaves did not rise much prior to baking. But they made up for it in the oven, actually breached the loaf pans, but fortunately did not collapse. I might not bother with the streusel next time. But the syrup stays!

Janice Nagy

It was wonderful!!! Rather than do it all in one day, I took my time. Thurs. I made the dough, and let rise overnight in the fridge. Fri. I shaped the loafs, and let it rise overnight in the fridge. Sat. I let it come to room temp. Added the streusel, and baked. Do NOT over bake. I used an instant read thermometer. The syrup is a must! Next time I would use a regular streusel, I felt the streusel tasted a little burnt, and I tented with foil part of the way through baking.


This recipe is perfect, and absolutely delicious. I altered nothing and will definitely put this into my regular rotation. If followed precisely, the directions result in an easy-to-make, master-baker level treat. A word of advice: Read the directions completely and understand the time frames required for each step. This is not a quick process, but is SO worth it.


A success! This was the first enriched dough I've made and I am newbie with yeast as well, but following the recipe exactly worked out great! I had to add what felt like a significant amount of extra flour to get the dough to stop sticking, and the second rise was 7hrs in the fridge. Didn't need to fold the braided dough in half to fit in the pan. Rose beautifully, not dry, and the chocolate filling was perfectly spreadable (used a makeshift double boiler to melt all the ingredients together).


I make this often. I prefer it without the nutmeg and lemon zest. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. Make everything the day before, this makes the dough taste better and makes the 2nd day is all about assembly. This will also make the chocolate more manageable so it isn't too soupy.


Love this recipe, I’ve made it several times. One note: the 531 grams of flour is way off. I need to weigh it out, but I add probably an additional 10-12 tbsp of four before the dough finally comes together.


I made this recipe as is and it turned out perfectly! I thought the streusel and syrup were a nice addition. Probably fine without it but so, so yummy and decadent with it. That chocolate filling is divine! I am NOT a baker but I thought this recipe was easy to follow and the video helped. You should definitely make this and share with your family & friends!

leonard shushan

I find that a 70% belgium chocolate works best but I also add some fine grind dark roast coffee and cinnamon. This combination of flavours works best.


Regarding making the babkas in mini-loaf pans: I think I would make them exactly the same way up to and including the braiding and then slice the 17 inch logs into smaller pieces fit for each loaf pan. I’ve made this recipe many times. I follow it religiously and it is pretty dependably phenomenal. Thanks for a great recipe!

So Annoyed

NYT you're killing me. Please include helpful notes like: if you make the streusel ahead of time, remember to take it out of the fridge to come to room temp before trying to use it. If you're going to offer a make-ahead option like that, a little reminder would be nice. It's like one of the most important principles in hospitality: anticipate your guests' needs and offer little extra somethings that will make life easier. Please start focusing on thoughtful recipe writing for the real world.


This was delicious, though I did make a few minor modifications. The dough was spot-on; I didn’t have to add any additional flour, and I found it easy to work with. I slightly reduced the sugar in the filling and added an extra ounce of chocolate- it was nice and firm after chilling. I made a plain cinnamon streusel, and reduced the syrup to 1/2 cup sugar. I was worried that all the filling would be on top, but it was beautifully coiled through in the end.


I baked this babka back in 2017 and every holiday season since. I find the filling to be too much like fudge frosting and the chocolate chip topping to be overkill. I tried Nutella once and it was a huge mess. I love this dough and the syrup at the end adds a lot, but for me King Arthur's babka filling and cinnamon streusel topping are better choices and their shaping method produces a more consistent, even loaf.


I made this recipe and truly followed it to the letter (except used allspice instead of nutmeg), and chose to refrigerate the dough overnight to let it rise (steps 5 and 11). This was a lot of work, but really I doubt if there's better chocolate babka than this, and my entire family agrees!

Rachel W

The one deviation that I made and recommend, is I let the last rise/proofing proceed for about 2.5-3 hours (they filled the pan on the sides and up to the top). The bread came out perfectly. I don’t like dense cake. Everything I did per the recipe.


bourbon syrup recipe was fire but got lost in the babka. add more bourbon next time

Rose K.

Just use the " Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" recipe for white, challah or brioche, then use these instructions for fokding, braiding, baking.


I just saw this same recipe on 'Cooks Corner'--so I'm pretty certain the cook got the recipe here (syrup topping and all). I haven't made it yet, but plan to have it for my family on Christmas Day. For those who made sarcastic comments about the syrup--then skip it, or make the one you love love from the old country.

Harvey Green

Way over the top, and so far from elegant simplicity of the traditional babka it ought to be called something else. Obviously that’s a matter of individual taste. I wonder about the tendency to overload food, both in quantity on a plate, and in the recipe.

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Chocolate Babka Recipe (2024)
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