Strawberry Chocolate Nut Babka Buns
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 1 hour Rising Time: 3 hours Cook Time: 35 minutes
Nutella, gianduja, and chocolate almond spread are everywhere now and cooks and eaters couldn’t be happier. And these delectable spreads are great for baking. The strawberry jam and dried strawberries pair incredibly well with chocolate—especially dark chocolate. In a babka, it makes breakfast, brunch or lunch something very special indeed. Make sure to allow 3 hours for the dough to rise.
2½ tablespoons (24 grams) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (see Kitchen Tip)
1 cup (206 grams) light brown sugar
3 cups (204 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1½ cups (204 grams) bread flour
1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
¾ cold water (65°F to 70°F)
¾ cup (186 grams) plain Greek yogurt
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons (10 grams) vanilla bean paste
¾ cup (1½ sticks)/177 grams/12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (160 grams) roughly chopped dried strawberries
1 cup (320 grams) strawberry preserves
⅓ cup (75 grams) chocolate almond spread, gianduja, or Nutella
¼ cup (about 45 grams) finely chopped dark or semisweet chocolate (between 72 and 65 percent cacao)
¼ cup (30 grams) finely chopped toasted almonds or hazelnuts (see Kitchen Tips)
1 tablespoon water
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, ¼ cup warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the light brown sugar, and mix at low speed just until blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes, until foamy. (If you are using a handheld mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl.)
- Combine the flours and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to blend.
- Add the ¾ cup cold water, the remaining brown sugar, the flour mixture, yogurt, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla bean paste to the mixer and mix until well combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes to form a moist, smooth, slightly sticky dough. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fully incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (it will be soft, so you might need a dough scraper to transfer it), cover with a kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, and let rise at room temperature for about 3 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the strawberry filling: Place the preserves and dried strawberries in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Make the chocolate filling: Place the chocolate spread, chopped chocolate, and chopped nuts into a mixing bowl and stir until combined. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Spray 3 muffin tins with nonstick vegetable oil spray (see Kitchen Tip).
- When the dough has risen, divide it into 6 sections. Working with 1 piece at a time, divide each piece into 6 equal pieces. Place one on the floured surface and pat or roll it out into a rectangle, about 3 by 5 inches. Spread it with about 1 tablespoon of the strawberry filling. Place another rolled-out rectangle of dough on top. Spread a little more than 1 tablespoon of the chocolate filling evenly over the top layer of dough. Roll up, jelly roll–style, working from the long side and applying a little pressure, so that the finished roll is about 6 inches long.
- Cut in half in to make 2 (3-inch) pieces. Shape each portion and place each into a prepared muffin tin, cover with greased plastic wrap, and repeat with the remaining dough and fillings. Let rest for 45 minutes (counting from the last bun made).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the egg wash by beating the egg lightly with the water in a small bowl.
- With a pastry brush, brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the babkas are a dark golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- The water for your yeast mixture should be between 85°F and 95°F. Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water to activate it and get it started eating and bubbling, but if the water is too warm, you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all.
- You can find toasted or roasted nuts in most supermarkets, but if you can’t, or if you prefer to roast your own, try The Weiser Kitchen’s Roasted Nuts recipe.
- If you don’t have 3 muffin tins on hand, you can bake these buns in batches, making sure to keep the waiting batch covered and chilled.