If you are someone who really loves the babka crust and crumbs, then this is the recipe for you. Each babka cupcake has more of the crunchier surface than the soft, gooey middle of a traditional babka loaf. If you make them in disposable muffin tins, they will come out shorter and softer than in the aluminum tins. Be careful not to overstuff the muffin tins (see the story I wrote for the Washington Jewish Week about what happens when you put too much babka ingredients into the pans.)
- 1/4 cup warm water -
- 1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast -
- 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided -
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour -
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) parve margarine, softened, divided, plus extra for greasing muffin pan -
- 1 large egg plus 1 white -
- 1/4 cup parve unsweetened cocoa -
- 1/3 cup parve mini or regular-size chocolate chips -
- Crumb Topping -
- 1/4 cup sugar -
- 1 tablespoon flour -
- 4 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil -
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon -
1. Place the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, or until the mixture bubbles. Add ¼ cup of sugar, the flour, 1 stick of the margarine, and the eggs. Combine by hand with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover bowl with plastic and let rise 2 to 4 hours.
2. Meanwhile, for the chocolate filling, combine the remaining 1 cup of sugar with the cocoa in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 2 sticks of margarine and mix well with a hand-held or stand electric mixer, or by hand with a whisk. You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough is rising.
3. To make the crumb topping: In a small bowl, place the sugar, flour, oil, and cinnamon and mix with a silicone spatula.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 14 to 15 cups of a muffin pan or pans.
Divide dough into four pieces. On a large piece of parchment, roll each piece into a rectangle, as thin as you can. Spread 1/4 of the chocolate cocoa and sugar mixture on one of the dough rectangles and then sprinkle on 1/4 of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up working with the long side of the rectangle to create long, thin rolls.
5. Slice each roll into 3/4-inch slices. Place 4 slices into each muffin cup, by placing the first 2 at angles in the bottom and then the second 2 on top, also at angles, none with the chocolate swirls facing straight up. Use your fingers to sprinkle some of the crumb topping on top of each babka cupcake; use up all the topping.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned on top. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the babkas and then remove from the pan and let cool. Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to four days or freeze up to three months.