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Leah's Famous Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka rules, rocks and was the most popular item after challah in the bakery. It is also the most requested 'next video' and you can now see it here! Putting up an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for video production, I didn't expend the effort required to solicite my readers for their dollars. That said, we'll launch the campaign again. Meanwhile, Gordon Modin worked his magic filming and editing a series of yeasted dough items, highlighting both chocolate and cinnamon/walnut babkas. A thousand thanks, Gordon!

My recipes are for large quantities and it is an interesting process to reduce them back down for household use. And, the exercise necessitates that I reach back into my memory bank to where I first discovered a particular recipe. Chocolate babka filling is no different. Pulling Gil Mark's "The World of Jewish Desserts" from the shelf, I see many yellow post-its, dog-eared and cocoa stained marking pages. Hand scribbled notes in the margin affirm my suspicions; Gil Mark's is THE MAN. I love his books, recipes and think he deserves more recognition for his contribution in recording Jewish culinary history. My chocolate filling is slightly different but close enough to call out the good Rabbi.

Learn to make the Yeasted Sweet Dough, easy as challah dough, and you're on your way to making a variety of stunning desserts. Be a hero, go for it. There is nothing like homemade babka!

The step photos are from catering production. Don't be alarmed by the quantities used.

Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: 2 x 8 1/2" loaves
Main Ingredient(s): Flour - Unbleached All Purpose, Chocolate Chips
Preparation Time: 00:40
Cooking Time: 00:30
Skill Level: 2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:
Average Rating: 5/5


  • 1 recipe Yeasted Sweet Dough
  • 12 oz. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sugar (to 1/2 cup if you like a sweeter chocolate filling)
  • 1/2 cup dark European process cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsalted margarine (or unsalted butter for dairy)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Make Yeasted Sweet Dough as directed.

Put the chocolate chips and margarine into a glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt but don't overheat. When the chips look soft, stir until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend into a smooth filling. Turn the heat off but keep the filling over the heat while you roll the dough.

Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a long strip, about 8" wide and 20" long.

Slather the filling over both strips into a smooth layer. Roll up the strands to form 2 long, thin rolls.

Overlap the strands and keep lifting and crossing to form a twist.

Cut the twist in half. Spray 2 x 8 1/2" loaf pans. Lift the loaves into the pans. Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with Crumb Topping (see recipe).

Bake until golden brown. This is tricky. The loaves should be very golden brown and look baked. Wearing oven mitts, turn a loaf out into your hand. The bottom should look set and the loaf will sound hollow when patted. We also used to use an insta-read thermometer to 175'- 180'.

Cool completely before slicing or the loaf will be gummy.

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Tali: Thank you for posting this video! My first attempt at babka ended in disappointment, but this is just what I need to get me to try again.
Karen: Could I use natural cocoa here? Because I really dislike Dutch cocoa.
Leah: Hi Karen, I don't know what the exact difference is....I don't see why not. May have to adjust the oil for the correct consistency. I happen to love Dutch cocoa so I use it all the time.
Yael: Hi Leah! This babka looks truly yum! I am on a hunt for the perfect babka - so I think I will try yours next. A couple of questions: I always have chocolate oozing out of my babkas - I was wondering if you encounter this with so many cut ends? With your cinnamon walnut babka - if I omit the walnuts, should I substitute flour instead or no substitution necessary? What a gorgeous bowl you have for making the dough (pink one). What is it?
Leah: Hi Yael, The chocolate is spread on but not so thick it runs. Getting the right balance between the dough thickness and the filling is important. If the dough is stretched too much, the dough bakes sort of gummy. If you leave out the walnuts, you'll get more of a cinnamon bread (like a giant cinnamon roll). Nothing wrong with that! You could put raisins, too. I'm not sure about the bowl; I think it's English. I'll have to check and get back to you. Thanks and good luck with the babka.
Cyna: the instructions don't match the directions. How many babkas does this make?
zahava: hi there, where can i find the yeasted sweet dough recipe, please? thank u!
Loretta: Leah, can I use a strudel dough with this? It has butter and sour cream in the dough and it leaves me with 3 egg whites left over. I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate the egg whites into the filling. Also, you mention chocolate "chips" - would baker's chocolate work? I've never worked with it before.
Deliska: Where is the Crumb Topping Recipe.there is no link.
Leah: Ah, sorry about that. It's the rugelach topping. I'm responding from my phone so please go to the recipe archive and look for rugelach. Thanks!
Susan: leah the Love N Bake people make a great parve chocolate filling. They also make a Hazelnut praline I have used here and is stupendous. I made five of these for Rosh Hashanah here with the Chabad of Norcross. They were extremely well received. Susan
Leah: Hi Susan, You've been a busy baker. Good to know about the Love N Bake options - it gets expensive in larger production but for home baking; go for it! Thanks for sharing!
Monina S: Best and easiest Crumb Topping. Making your chocolate bobak again today but in mini Danish size. I will freeze a few unbaked. I want to see if I can make this ahead and then bake later when needed. Do you have any advice for me such as to thaw or not to thaw my frozen bobak before baking? Thank you. Love your recipes.
Coralie: I tried this recipe and it came out beyond delicious! Thank you for the video, that was very helpful to me as this was my first attempt at babka. My father in law told me that it reminded him of his mom's babka when he was a kid. That was the sweetest compliment possible :) Thank you so much. I'll definitely be back to try more recipes.
Batshevah: This babka was a huge success just made it last night for first time ever and i love that the dough is so easy to make! Thank you so much Leah!
Susan: Oh Leah cannot find the chocolate schmear any where, But American almond does do wholesale and Praline paste comes in an 11 pound can, so perfect for commercial.
Leah: So, I was having trouble with the chocolate locking up instead of melting into a smooth spread. I had trouble with my chocolate mousse and hamenatachen filling. These are all pareve and I discovered how the kosher chocolate chips vary from brand to brand. Use the best quality chocolate you can get - it makes a difference!

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About Leah

Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.

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