Making this post just reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do a recipe from my “Cupcakes and Cocktails” recipe book. But I may or may not have run out of cupcake liners, so, um, I haven’t been as cupcake-ready lately as I usually am.
But this post isn’t about cupcakes.
It’s about bread, actually.
I usually avoid bread-baking for the most part, mostly because it is time-consuming, and a lot could go wrong regarding my lack of bread-baking tools in the kitchen. I mean, honestly, the things legit bakers seem to use for bread alone, like bread hooks and proving chambers and thermometers, and other fancy stuff…I really don’t make bread on a regular basis to want to invest in things like that (though, the thermometer would be REALLY useful in the long run…). That said, I had planned on making a chocolate chip version of the Romanian Pasca I’d done last year, but found myself getting too lazy on finding ingredients.
Plus, I think my sister and I ate up all the chocolate chips in the house. Oops.
So when I leafed through Easter-related baked goods, I came across a babka recipe from Broma Bakery. I really wanted to incorporate chocolate into something bready, and well, I had all the ingredients in supply, so I went with it!
(Okay, so I actually didn’t have any confectioner’s sugar handy, but I substituted for that! All for the love of–well, all for the love of staying indoors and not having to run out to the store to buy confectioner’s sugar!)
This was also my first time using active yeast, so I was worried I’d killed it when I stirred it into the overly-warm water.
This is a legit concern, guys. I’ve had things NOT rising on me before. It’s the worst.
Anyway, as for the chocolate…I still have plenty of the huge Jacques Torres bar I purchased a couple months back, so I just banged loose a few pieces and boiled it up into the paste mixture. Again, no confectioner’s sugar, so I mixed granulated sugar to corn starch (for every 1 cup granulated sugar, mix in 1 teaspoon corn starch). The paste came out just fine, to be honest. And after hours waiting for the dough to rise, I finally did some light kneading and rolling out.
Rolling this thing up and then trying to make it look pretty with braiding it together was, um, interesting at best. I think I gave up trying to braid the bread and just went: “You go here, you go here, you go EVERYWHERE WHEEEEEE.” Seriously, as long as it looked all twisty, and the chocolate was showing, and it baked properly, I was absolutely fine with how it looked on the top part. Plus, chaotic braid is um, pretty cool too. Yep.
Verdict: I could have probably been fine leaving it to bake for an extra few minutes, as the dough smelled too doughy for me. It was soft, though, and the chocolate paste tasted delicious, even with my doubts that confectioner’s sugar could be substituted well enough.
Needless to say the babka didn’t last very long.