Chocolate Cinnamon Babkallah

dough:
½ cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (like Rapid Rise)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all purpose flour (approximately)

filling:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓ cup light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 
all purpose flour for the counter
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
granulated sugar (for sprinkling - I used raw, coarse Turbinado sugar)

Make the dough:
Heat milk in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stove just until warm, not hot.  Transfer to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Blend in the egg yolks, vanilla, butter, sugar, yeast and salt.  Mix on medium speed (or use a large wooden spoon) until well blended.  Switch to the dough hook. Add 2 cups of the flour and blend until fully incorporated.  For the last cup of flour, add slowly until you get a dough that just holds together well without being too dry or too wet.  Don't worry if you don't have to use all the flour - it's better to get the right texture dough.  Knead for about 5 minutes. 

Transfer the dough to a large bowl sprayed with a little cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size about 2 hours. 

Filing and Assembly
Mix chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into three equal portions.  Shape each into a 12" long rope. Roll out each rope to a 12x6" rectangle and about ⅛" thick. Brush with butter and top each rectangle with a third of the chocolate mixture.  Roll up to form a log; pinch seam to seal.

Place logs, seam side down, side by side on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pinch logs together at one end; braid, then pinch ends together and tuck under. Cover loosely and let sit in a warm place until 1½ times larger, 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Beat egg yolk with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash;sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until top is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when bottom is tapped, 35 - 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

adapted very slightly from Bon Appetit

The Italian Dish

theitaliandishblog.com