Good news, Bad news.
Lets start with the good.
THIS BABKA IS INSANE.
I know sometimes babka seems scary and tedious to make, but I’m telling you for this, it is worth it. Its also REALLY not that bad, especially if you are using a a mixer- I don’t because I hate the damn thing, but well get to that another time.
Anyways so the bad news is that while making this delicious little bit of heaven, I have finally, friends, come down to my last one and only jar of cookie butter from that huge haul a few months ago. I really know that I can just go back to the store and buy more, but the excitement of finding it in Walmart for less than $3 will not be the same. Im learning to process this and am moving on.
Back to the babka though.
The dough comes together easily in one bowl (already winning) and then can be used that day, or for better flavor can be put it in the fridge to rise overnight (or if you realize you are lazy and want to make it the next day you can. Also winning). It stretches and rolls really really nicely. If it is sticky then there isn’t enough flour. It should roll right over that filling with grace and ease.
That filling that I just mentioned- its cookie butter combined with confectioners sugar and earth balance then topped with crushed up Lotus cookies that are optional but am seriously recommending you use. The more cookie butter taste the better in my opinion.
After shaping and a second rise, ( I know, annoying, but worth it) shove these babkas into the oven and wait for the intoxicating smell of sweet dough and cookie butter to come out of your oven. Resist the urge to take the babkas out early and stuff your face, they need to bake for about 30 mins.
To keep you busy while you wait you can make the simple syrup to brush on the babkas after they are done.
You know how babka has that crunchy extra sweet crust? Its because of this simple syrup, so if you think you wanna skip it, you for sure can, but just know the top will be soft and not have that bite to it. For simple syrup you simply (see what I did there) boil some water, then add sugar and stir till it dissolves. Tada! See that was easy peesy.
Just wait a few more minutes until your babkas are done, and then brush them the second they come out of the oven with the syrup. That crust will be nice and crunchy and the inside will be chewy and twisted with cookie butter happiness. You can now opt to top this with a simple confectioners sugar glaze or screw that and start stuffing your face.
Wait Im gonna end this on some more good news- Its totally dairy free!!! You can definitely sub in dairy ingredients for whats listed but I have only tested this babka with dairy free ingredients and its still INSANE and got some rave reviews from my taste testers/people who I bribe to be my friend with food (they are unbiased).
All in all this babka is worth the wait and worth the calories.
- For the dough:
- 8 oz Rice milk warmed
- 2 packets of Active Dry Yeast (¼ oz each)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 5-5.5 cups flour plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup Earth balance or margarine at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- For the filling:
- 2 ½ cups creamy or crunchy cookie butter
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons of Earth balance or margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-6 crushed Lotus cookies (optional)
- For the simple syrup:
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- For the glaze (optional):
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- In a large microwaveable bowl, heat the rice milk for 1 minute, 30 seconds at a time. If you are using a mixer, heat the milk in a measuring cup and transfer it to the mixing bowl. Add in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Add in the sugar, eggs, and orange juice, and gently whisk to combine. Start adding in the flour one cup at a time mixing as you go. If you find the dough is coming together nicely after the 5th cup, then you can stop there. If it is still a little sticky, add the extra half cup of flour. Add in the salt in the last cup of flour and mix or knead until incorporated. Add in the Earth balance or margarine and mix again until incorporated evenly. Continue mixing or kneading for 5-6 minutes, you may have to sprinkle some flour on your work surface so that the dough doesnt stick. The dough is ready when it is no longer sticking to the surface and it is smooth and uniform throughout.
- Place the dough back in the bowl used for mixing if you were kneading by hand. Pour 1 tsp oil around the dough and cover the bowl with a fresh tea towel. Leave it to rise for at least 1 hour or place in the fridge overnight.
- Prepare the filling:
- Combine the cookie butter, confectioners sugar, softened Earth Balance and vanilla extract in
- a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
- If you’re adding in the cookie option, place the cookies in a small Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Set aside.
- After its doubled in size, allow the dough to come to room temperature if it was stored in the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough evenly in half and roll one portion out into a rectangle about 12” x 16”.
- Spread half the filling onto the dough leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the crushed cookies on top of the filling.
- Now starting from the long side, the side closest to you, start rolling the dough all the way up to the top border. It should now look like a log, like when you are making cinnamon buns, right before you cut them.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough vertically down the middle to create two long strands- This will get messy but its worth it!
- Trim off the last ½ inch of the ends of the strands to make them even.
- Pinch the two ends of the strands together and then twist one strand over the other until the babka is interwoven. Kinda like a braid but with only 2 strands. Pinch the other end of the dough to seal the twist together.
- Spray a loaf pan with non stick spray and place the babka inside.
- Repeat the above steps with the other half of babka dough.
- Let the babkas rise for another hour until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- While the babkas are baking, make the simple syrup.
- Bring ⅓ cup water to a boil, add in ¼ sugar and stir until it dissolves. Set aside.
- Once the babkas come out of the oven, brush the simple syrup all over them, do not let them cool off first! The point is to brush them when they are piping hot.
- Now you can let them cool.
- Optional glaze:
- Combine ½ cup confectioner sugar and 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl or cup. Mix until the glaze forms and drizzle over babka.