If you read Food and Wine, or look at the cover in line at thegrocery store, this chocolate babka will look familiar. Or maybe it will look a little flatter than it should be. Regardless – find the recipe here. I suggest buying the magazine though because their website is a pain. I veered from the recipe in two places – where it said “let it rise for two hours until doubled in size” I instead let it rise for the amount of time it takes to put kids to bed and watch an episode of The Making of Murderer. That is about 90 minutes, and in that time it rose somewhere between “not at all” and 10%. But it was 10 pm and I wantedto bake it before I went to bed so into the oven it went. Hence the slightly rectangular shape instead of the beautiful squares you see on Food and Wine. I did the glaze in the morning and this is where I made another change. I was out of butter after the almost 3 sticks used in the dough and filling. (I accidentally ate just a salad for lunch a few weeks ago and I have been in a baking frenzy ever since.) So I thought, “ugh! Another stick and a half of butter and 12 ounces of chocolate!” So I used four ounces of cream and four ounces of chocolate (or maybe 6 and 6) for a ganache. I went to bed thinking the loaves were pretty enough without the glaze but in the morning I could see the glaze was necessary.
As I was waiting for kids to get up, I did a little research into the history of chocolate babka, because 100 % of my knowledge was from The Seinfeld episode where the bakery runs out of chocolate babka and Jerry and Elanie are forced to get a lesser babka: cinnamon. So I rewatched the clip and then looked up choclate babka on wikipedia (I didn’t say my research was very thorough or extension) and I learned it is an Eastern European (I kinda got that from the name) holiday celebration cake. So where did I get that it was appropriate for breakfast on a Friday? Fancy Breakfast Friday has officially gone off the rails.
Lucky for me, we had plans to stay with friends at their condo in the mountains, and you make yourself welcome with a chocolate babka. (I threw in quiche for good measure.) The babka was a hit, with Jack requesting it for his birthday, which as we know is the highest praise that can be given.
When pinterest was invented, I pinned these muffins and then never made them or looked at pinterest ever again. But I did eventually make them 3 years later and they are delicious! The recipe says it makes 12, but for me it made 15. I was in sort of a rush and I didnt want them to cook too long. Did you read about all those people who did the apple update on their phone during the night and it turned off their alarms and they were all late for work or missed class? Well that didn’t happen to me because I never update my phone, but coincidentally, my alarm didn’t go off. So after all my blustering about only spending an hour on Fancy Breakfast Friday, I only ended up with half an hour the next week. I made an egg for Luke and muesli for Jack to eat while they waited for their muffins. Jack said it was the best Fancy Breakfast Friday ever, for the third week in a row.
The rest of the muffins were eaten during our hundred activites over the weekend. They even got left in the car over night in a tupperware and were still delcious and moist on Sunday.
I feel the need to step up my game for next week because I am not sure these are really “fancy” so we’ll see what I come up with next.
This week I made a cake and I didn’t even take a picture of it. Unheard of, and so unsatisfying. The cake was for the teachers for their parent-provided dinner during conferences. So I didn’t get to eat it, and I wasn’t even there when people were eating it, and, I assume, raving about how good it was. If only I had a picture, I could have at least gotten a like on instagram. I’m sure there is a Zen Koan in there somewhere. If a cake is eaten in a teachers lounge, am I a martyr for suffering through the lack of praise? That reminds me of when I used to not know if the Pope was Catholic or not, because sometimes when I asked a question the answer was, “Is the Pope Catholic?” And I would think, “Maybe? I have no idea.” I wasn’t one for follow up questions.
Because of the cake situation this week, I planned a coffee cake themed Fancy Breakfast Friday. But when the Smitten Kitchen cookbook fell open to Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels I knew it was meant to be. Luke has been wanting to make soft pretzels all week, but we haven’t had time to squeeze it in. These pretzels really got me thinking about how people handle their breakfast pastries. Do people get up at 4:00 am? Or eat breakfast at noon? This recipe said you could do the first half the night before and leave the dough to rise in the fridge over night. In the morning, you just had to let the dough come to room temperature and then you could do the rest of the steps. But how long does it take dough to come to room temperature? I was wondering to myself if I was going to set an alarm for 5:00 am, take the dough out, sleep for an hour and then make the pretzels. I asked Dave for his advice as I tend to over complicate things. He suggested just leaving it on the counter before I went to bed. I basically can’t even feel my feet right now, due to the temp in our house, so I agreed that was a good idea. I suppose I could have also taken the dough out of the cold mixing bowl and put in in the oven with the light on to warm up a bit. But I want to know – how do people do it? I decided to draw the line at 6:00 am starts for Fancy Breakfast Friday. I served the pretzels with bacon and made to order eggs.
I have made some delicious things from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and the pretzels were a hit as well. I’m more of a sugar/chocolate person than a butter person when it comes to indulging, so I was glad for the chocolate chips. These were a hit with everybody though. The only problem was that the recipe called for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. I cooked them for 12 minutes and then added three minutes at a time… again and again. So it took about 24 minutes – double the recipe time. I assume this is problem with my oven.