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Chocolate Babka Buns

    This recipe is a hybrid of cinnamon rolls and a traditional chocolate babka.  I love it because I use a “quick bread” method instead of using a traditional yeast dough making this a perfect weekday recipe!


    For the Dough

    ¾ cup cottage cheese (4% milk fat)

    ⅓ cup buttermilk (or ⅓ cup milk and 1 tsp. lemon juice*)

    ¼ cup granulated sugar

    2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted

    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling

    1 Tbs. baking powder

    ½ tsp. table salt

    ¼ tsp. baking soda

    For the Filling

    3 Tbs. (45 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

    8 ounces (225 grams) semisweet chocolate

    Pinch of salt

    Egg Wash

    1 egg

    2 teaspoons (10 ml) heavy cream or milk


    1. Heat oven to 350˚F and generously grease a 12-muffin tin.
    2. Mix the Egg Wash ingredients in a small bowl, set aside
    3. Prepare filling first: If your chocolate is in large bars, roughly chop it. Then, you can let a food processor do the rest of the work, pulsing the chopped chocolate with the salt, sugar until the chocolate is very finely chopped with some parts almost powdery. Add butter and pulse machine until it’s distributed throughout the chocolate.  Set mixture aside. Wash and dry the processor well.
    4. Make the Dough:  In the food processor, combine the cottage cheese, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse in short bursts just until the dough clumps together (don’t over process). The dough will be soft and moist.
    5. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with floured hands 4 or 5 times until smooth. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×15-inch rectangle. 
    6. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the the dough and pat gently into the surface.
    7. Starting at a long edge, roll up the dough jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam to seal, and leave the ends open.
    8. With a sharp serrated knife, gently saw the roll into 12 equal pieces (I like to cut in half first and cut each half in half again and cut 3 slices for every quarter). Place each piece, cut side up, in the prepared muffin tin.  Brush with egg wash.
    9. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, 20-25.  Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Run a spatula around the inside of each muffin cup to loosen any sticky bits and then remove buns to a rack to finish cooling. 

    Makes 12

    *If I don’t have buttermilk, I mix the milk and lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes, and voila…buttermilk!

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