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Pareve Chocolate Babka (not chocolate challah)

EmpireState Dec 9, 2011 07:34 AM

I have tried a few recipes for chocolate babka but they wind up being way too doughy. Anyone have a recipe that's more cake-like?

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  1. s
    SoCal Mother RE: EmpireState Dec 9, 2011 08:45 AM

    I'm all in favor of cake-y cakes, but isn't babka supposed to taste bread-y? Ask an Israeli to give you a recipe for "kokush." You might like that better.

    16 Replies
    1. re: SoCal Mother
      helou RE: SoCal Mother Dec 9, 2011 01:01 PM

      Kokosh isn't an Israeli food, it's Hungarian. My mother used to make it all the time and it's definitely a yeast dough.

      1. re: helou
        SoCal Mother RE: helou Dec 10, 2011 11:08 PM

        Yes, but it may have a texture that EmpireState will like better than babka.

        1. re: SoCal Mother
          EmpireState RE: SoCal Mother Dec 11, 2011 04:12 PM

          If kokosh is the cake with the chocolate cream filling, that's not what I am talking about. Maybe what I'm looking for is officially called a chocolate roll or chocolate loaf. The problem is that some bakeries either call it a babka or I just have to point to what I want. If anyone knows what I'm talking about and has a tried and true pareve recipe, please let me know!

          1. re: EmpireState
            goodhealthgourmet RE: EmpireState Dec 11, 2011 04:42 PM

            if you use pareve substitutes for the milk & butter in this one, it might be close to what you want:

            ETA: wouldn't you know, Deb featured the recipe on Smitten Kitchen a few years ago, and several people posted comments that they had successfully tweaked it with pareve ingredients (just do a word search on the page for "pareve" and you'll find the info):

            1. re: EmpireState
              SoCal Mother RE: EmpireState Dec 11, 2011 07:54 PM

              No, it's not cream. It's the same sort of filling as babke has but a lot more of it, and it's rolled up. It tastes similar to babke but more gooey. Babke looks like a loaf of bread that has swirls of chocolate or cinnamon inside. Kokosh looks like a flattened rollup cake with a shiny top. Google a picture of the two and you'll see what I mean.

              1. re: SoCal Mother
                EmpireState RE: SoCal Mother Dec 12, 2011 11:00 AM

                Thanks for the clarification, SoCal Mother. Now all I need to find is a kokosh recipe that's not meant for an army! (All the ones that I found make at least 6 cakes/rolls).

                1. re: EmpireState
                  almond tree RE: EmpireState Dec 12, 2011 11:34 AM

                  You might like to try this one, which I've been using for years:

                  KOKOSH CAKE (2 rolls)
                  1pkg dry yeast
                  1/2 c warm water or fruit juice
                  1/2 c margarine, room temperature
                  1/2 c oil
                  3 TBSP sugar
                  3 1/2 c flour
                  1/2 tsp salt
                  2 eggs

                  Sprinkle the yeast onto the liquid & leave for 5 minutes.
                  Cream margarine with sugar, then blend in yeast mixture & remaining ingredients.
                  Chill dough.
                  Divide into 2 parts & roll each half out on a lightly floured surface, guiding it with your hands into a rectangular shape, till it's 1/8 thick. It's helpful to lift the dough occasionally as you roll so it doesn't stick to the surface.
                  Brush dough with oil (walnut or hazelnut oil -- leftover from Pesach? -- is especially good for this).
                  Sprinkle with a mixture of:
                  3/4 c Dutch process cocoa powder
                  3/4 c sugar
                  1/4 c powdered sugar

                  (Optional but gives great texture to your filling) Drizzle the filling with a couple of tablespoons of rice syrup or barley malt.

                  Sprinkle filling with a spoonful or two of water.
                  Roll cakes up loosely. You can glaze at this point but my kids & I prefer unglazed.
                  Bake about 30 minutes at 175 degrees C.

                  1. re: almond tree
                    EmpireState RE: almond tree Dec 12, 2011 01:23 PM

                    Thank you so much! How long should the dough chill? I look forward to try this soon!

                    1. re: EmpireState
                      almond tree RE: EmpireState Dec 12, 2011 09:37 PM

                      at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days
                      Sometimes I make the dough Wed or Thurs, refrigerate, then fill & bake on Friday so it's nice & fresh for Shabbos.
                      Hope you like it.

                      1. re: almond tree
                        EmpireState RE: almond tree Dec 15, 2011 05:32 PM

                        So I just made the chocolate kokosh using your recipe, almond tree. I wound up taking it out of the oven and putting melted chocolate chips on top.
                        It is much better than the chocolate babka/challah than I've made, but it is still a bit too doughy for my taste. Maybe I will reduce the yeast next time- what do you think? Anyway, thanks for sharing the recipe and Shabbat Shalom!

                        1. re: EmpireState
                          almond tree RE: EmpireState Dec 15, 2011 10:05 PM

                          Reducing the yeast would be a good idea to give it less of a challah-like texture. I'd like to try the melted chocolate chip topping - I'm sure my kids will approve!
                          Shabbat shalom.

                    2. re: almond tree
                      helou RE: almond tree Dec 13, 2011 05:42 AM

                      What is rice syrup? I've heard of barley malt, but have no idea what that is either. Are these commony sold in supermarkets? What brand names?

                      1. re: helou
                        goodhealthgourmet RE: helou Dec 13, 2011 07:11 AM

                        Eden or Lundberg brown rice syrup should be available in the baking aisle (look near the honey). Whole Foods definitely carries it, as do some other large supermarkets and most natural foods stores. barley malt syrup is a little harder to find - i know i've seen it at some WFMs, but you might have better luck finding it at a smaller health food store.

                      2. re: almond tree
                        helou RE: almond tree Dec 16, 2011 04:43 AM

                        What about letting the dough rise? Isn't that always a step when using yeast? I know that you can have slow rising in the refrigerator, but if you only do the 2 hour chill, is that enough? I'm asking because I was given a recipe for something else, and I thought they must have left out the rise-punch down-rise again steps.

                        1. re: helou
                          almond tree RE: helou Dec 17, 2011 08:35 AM

                          The chill, plus the amount that the cake rises in the oven, is enough. You end up with a denser texture than challah, but that is desirable. If your recipe is for cake, sounds like it is okay.

                          1. re: almond tree
                            cheesecake17 RE: almond tree Dec 18, 2011 08:19 AM

                            I made the chocolate babka on Friday for Shabbat. Came out excellent, but not like what I've tasted from bakeries. The dough part was kind of crumbly and not too sweet.. which I liked. Thanks for the recipe!

          2. l
            lukfam RE: EmpireState Dec 9, 2011 09:14 AM

            I don't have a recipe to offer you but I did buy a product called Delancey Chocolate Russian Coffee Cake produced by Gertels Bake Shop in NY. I did some investigating online and found out that this was a bakery that used to have a store front location in NY but is now only selling wholesale. Their cake was substantial and very very chocolatey. I purchased it at a Price Chopper location in Vermont. At 8.69/lb it seemed a little expensive but it was delicious!

            10 Replies
            1. re: lukfam
              helou RE: lukfam Dec 9, 2011 01:03 PM

              I agree about the Delancey cakes - I find that they're all pretty good. I see them all over in kosher stores, or supermarkets in Jewish neighborhoods. I'm pretty sure Fairway on the UWS has them.

              1. re: helou
                lukfam RE: helou Dec 11, 2011 11:42 AM

                Can you tell me is 8.69 lb the "normal" price for the Delancey cake?

                1. re: lukfam
                  helou RE: lukfam Dec 11, 2011 02:28 PM

                  Sorry, not a clue. I'm embarrassed to say that there are some foods that, if I'm out shopping and I need them, and they don't seem egregiously overpriced, I just buy them.

                  Speaking of egregiously overpriced, has anyone else stepped into Gracefully, that new fancy convenience type store on West End Ave. at about 64th or 65th Street? They do seem to carry a lot of very nice hechshered snacks and packaged foods, but wowie wow do they have some nutty prices for the same stuff you can often find elsewhere!

                  1. re: helou
                    sanekosher RE: helou Dec 12, 2011 05:28 AM

                    agree re Gracefully...I'm def not a very price aware person-usually if I see it and need/want it, just buy it. But I was walking by WEA one nite, late, hungry and stressed out so went in. Also was happy that they had a lot of heckshered food but thought they're prices were astronomical. Picked up a stonyfield yougurt and had sticker shock. Was appx $1.50 more than Fairway! Can't imagine they'll manage to stay in business that long-altho' for ppl who live in the new(ish) bldgs on WEA & 60-64th St, I guess it's a choice btwn this place and Western Beef.

                    1. re: sanekosher
                      avitrek RE: sanekosher Dec 12, 2011 06:21 AM

                      West End is FAR from most decent supermarkets in that area. They may not get too many people making large shopping trips there, but if you live nearby and are in the middle of cooking something and realize you forgot 1 ingredient, you're going to go there and pay up the couple dollars rather than walk 15 minutes each way to shop at a cheaper store. Also you can't really compare prices to fairway. Food Emporium and Girstedes are much more expensive than Fairway and they're doing fine. In fact, the Food Emporium at 68th and Broadway might be the next closest supermarket.

                      1. re: avitrek
                        DeisCane RE: avitrek Dec 12, 2011 06:22 AM

                        Yes, we used to live at 101 WEA and the loss of Gristedes was a big one.

                  2. re: lukfam
                    queenscook RE: lukfam Dec 13, 2011 04:10 PM

                    I just saw it today in Fairway in Queens for 6.99. No idea what the Manhattan "surtax" might be.

                    1. re: queenscook
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: queenscook Dec 13, 2011 05:01 PM

                      actually, packaged baked goods like that are exempt from grocery tax in NY State.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        queenscook RE: goodhealthgourmet Dec 13, 2011 06:10 PM

                        It was a joke; I meant the higher price goods in Manhattan tend to have!

                        1. re: queenscook
                          goodhealthgourmet RE: queenscook Dec 13, 2011 07:10 PM

                          i completely missed the Queens vs Manhattan aspect :) when i saw your use of the British "surtax" my mind read it as a post by a visitor from across the pond who saw the price on the label but didn't know how it would ring up at the register!

              2. r
                rockycat RE: EmpireState Dec 12, 2011 07:17 AM

                I use a Joan Nathan babka recipe. Sorry, I can't remember which of her books it's in, other than it's not "Jewish Cooking in America," or "Jewish Holiday Baking." It's the one that uses almond paste, but not apricot jam. Either way, she gives versions for both dairy and parve. I nearly always make the dairy version, but the parve works very well, too. However, I increase the filling amount by about a third and I add some additional butter/margarine to the almond paste shmear (even above increasing the total filling amount). Those changes might make the cake more to your taste.

                1. e
                  EmpireState RE: EmpireState Dec 12, 2011 07:23 AM

                  I would appreciate it if we could please keep the Postings on topic. Thank you.

                  1. l
                    LAKosher RE: EmpireState Dec 13, 2011 07:39 AM

                    Hey @empireState here is a great recipe for Parve Chocolate babka http://www.ilanasoven.com/2011/03/cho...

                    1. a
                      AdinaA RE: EmpireState Dec 18, 2011 10:44 AM

                      I make an old-fashioned bubka every week, and what you need is a technique, not a recipe. I use the dough I am already making for challah. I use a challah dough. You can use one that is rich (with oil or eggs) and sweet if you prefer.

                      The difference between doughy and bubka lies in how thin you roll the dough. I really push that rolling pin, until the dough is 1/16" of an inch thick, or less. Then spread the filling, and roll it up. Let rise and bake.

                      i wouldn't stint the yeast. You want a normal dough with a normal rise. But if you roll it very thin, the layers of chocolate (or poppy) weigh down the rising dough, giving it the density and chew you seek. You will notice that the upper layers will have risen more than the lower ones.

                      1. b
                        barbgail61 RE: EmpireState Dec 19, 2011 04:27 PM

                        Husband bought 2 Pareve Chocolate Babkas at Costco yesterday. Baked by Schick's. The plastic package says "Zero trans fat! Lactose Free". Contains vegetable shortening and whole eggs. They look delicious but we have not tried them yet. Waiting for Chanukkah tomorrow night. I just found the receipt and they were $9.99 - total weight is 36 oz so 2.25 lbs. Seems reasonable to me, although I did save the Kokosh recipe to try sometime. I used to work for Pinky's Kosher Bakery in Monsey, NY about 30-32 years ago (a lifetime ago!), and they baked great Kokosh! And also flaky, pareve, frozen dough chocolate danish. And absolutely wonderful Challah. But I digress. Thank you for the Kokosh recipe, which I'll try another time. For now, we'll give Schick's pareve chocolate babka a try.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: barbgail61
                          helou RE: barbgail61 Dec 20, 2011 08:56 AM

                          Which Costco has them?

                          We've had those Costco Schick's Babka's when they had them in stock for Rosh HaHashana. They were great - nice and chocolatey, and not cloyingly sweet. Haven't seen them in my local Costco recently, though.

                          1. re: helou
                            barbgail61 RE: helou Dec 20, 2011 09:11 AM


                            The Schick's Chocolate Babka came from the Costco in Nanuet, NY. Even though I thought we wouldn't open them until tonight, my son, home from freshman year at college, came downstairs after I posted last night, and wanted a small piece of babka. So we opened it and both had a nosh. Delicious. As you said, not very sweet but just the right amount of sweetness.

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