chocolate-irish cream babka


Spring has officially arrived in Northern California – the tulips and daffodils flaunt their pastel petals, and the flowering cherry trees burst with buds. Despite all the beauty, I’ve often felt restless and cooped up during this rainy week. As an antidote, I turned to the kitchen, my frequent haven. Bread was on my mind, and with good reason. Food writer M.F.K. Fisher aptly wrote, “Bread making leaves you filled with peace, and the house filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells.”

I’ve always had the opinion that a fresh loaf of bread can cure almost anything, and these golden loaves filled with a chocolate ribbon didn’t disappoint. In honor of St. Patrick’s day, I spiked the dough with Baileys Irish Cream – toasted slices make an indulgent breakfast or snack.

*Speaking of Spring, I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning and working on a site redesign that I hope to share with you soon. Look for that in the next few days!

Chocolate-Irish Cream Babka
Adapted from Cooking Light
3/4 cup warm low-fat milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
23.6 ounces flour, divided (about 5 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp low-fat milk
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped and divided
1 large egg white
1 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar, divided

Combine milk, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in eggs, butter, Baileys, vanilla, and salt until combined. Stir in 22.5 ounces of flour (about 5 cups) until combined; turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead for 4 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour as needed to prevent sticking – I added an additional 2 tablespoons.

Wipe bowl clean and coat with cooking spray; return dough to bowl and cover with plastic. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). Combine sugar and cocoa in a small bowl; combine butter and milk in another small bowl. Divide dough into two equal portions, working with one portion at a time (keep other portion covered to prevent drying).

Roll dough into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle and brush with half of melted butter mixture, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle dough evenly with 2 tablespoons cocoa mixture and 2 ounces chopped chocolate. Loosely roll dough up into a log and pinch edges to seal; tuck ends under. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic. Repeat with remaining dough, butter mixture, cocoa mixture, and chocolate. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325Β°F. Combine egg white and Baileys; brush dough with mixture and sprinkle each loaf with 1/2 tablespoon turbinado sugar. Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned. Cool loaves completely on a wire rack before cutting each loaf into 14 slices. Store up to 2 days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage and toast slices as needed.

Yield – 2 loaves, 14 servings per loaf (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 170
Carbs – 27

  1. I’ve baked bread most of my life but this will be a new experience.
    Bailey’s Irish Creme? I can’t wait to try it?

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