These chocolate hazelnut babka buns will quickly become your favourite weekend baking project! Soft, fluffy dough filled with dark chocolate and crunchy nuts make a delicious treat for the whole family!
Where did the weekend go? I seriously feel like this year is flying by, we are almost at the end of March already! There's some good news... in less than two weeks, the clocks will be going back! Heck YES to all that daylight!
I'm kicking off this week with the recipe I have been obsessed with lately. So much so, that I've made it four times last week. Yup, you've heard that right! Soft and fluffy dough folded and twisted with layers of indulgent, dark chocolate and crunchy hazelnuts makes an irresistible treat for the whole family!
Chocolate hazelnut babka buns
I've been a fan of chocolate babka (or any type of babka) since I can remember. Being born and raised in Poland, these are one of the country traditional bakes, and truly loved by most of the Eastern Europe. Yes, they do take a little effort to make, but the results are soooo delicious and satisfying! Once you start making your own, you will never look back or think of buying it from the shop again!
What ingredients do I need to make chocolate hazelnut babka buns?
To make babka buns, I'm using the exact same dough as you would to make babka itself. It's a simple, yeast- risen dough, and the ingredients include: strong white bread flour, caster sugar, yeast (I'm using fast action dry yeast), salt, lemon zest, egg, butter and milk.
For the filling, you will need dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder, plus any type of nuts, although they are optional. Pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or almonds will work just fine with this recipe. Alternatively, you can use a ready-made, shop-bought chocolate spread.
Butter and milk can be replaced by dairy-free alternatives, like vegan butter or spread and nut, soy or an oat milk.
How to make chocolate hazelnut babka buns
To knead the dough, you have two options. You can do it all by hand, or in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with hook attachment. If doing it by hand, it will take longer (10-15 minutes). When using a standing mixer, it should take about 6-8 minutes.
Start by mixing dry ingredients for the dough: flour, sugar, yeast, salt and lemon zest. In a small saucepan, mix the milk and the butter, place it over a low heat and allow all the butter to melt. Set that mixture aside and allow it to cool until it is lukewarm. Add 1 egg into the flour mixture, and gradually start pouring the milk mixture to it, while having the mixer on a low speed.
After 6-8 minutes your dough should be ready. It should be smooth and elastic, and no longer stick to the sides of the bowl or your hands. Transfer it to the lightly oiled, large bowl, cover with cling film and allow to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Prepare the filling while your dough is resting. The filling should be slightly thick in its consistency, it needs to be spreadable and not runny.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, roughly about 60 x 40 cm. Spread the filling on half of the dough, then sprinkle it with chopped nuts (if using).
Fold the uncovered dough over the filling and gently press it together. Divide it into 12- 15 strips (about 2.5- 3cm thick), and using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough. Twist each strip few times, then form a bun/ knot shape. You can watch this video or this video to see how to twist and shape the buns. Place buns on baking trays lined up with baking parchment, cover loosely with cling film and allow them to rise again, for about 45 minutes to an hour.
All that is left, is to heat the oven to 170C (fan), brush your buns with some egg wash or milk and bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. It is worth adding, that your house will smell like heaven, while they are baking!
After that, they are ready to be demolished. However, to make them even sweeter, some recipes call for coating the buns with simple sugar syrup. I like to eat mine as they are, without the sugar glaze, but if you want to try it, simply boil 75g caster sugar in 75 ml of water together for a couple of minutes. Brush the buns with this glaze while they are still warm. Enjoy!
Things to remember when making chocolate hazelnut babka buns
The recipe for these babka buns is quite simple and straightforward, but there are few things to watch out for while preparing it.
Use good quality, strong white bread flour. It contains higher gluten content and works better for this type of the dough.
Make sure your yeast is fresh and in date. Old or out of date yeast may cause your dough not to rise.
The dough should be smooth and elastic, easy to work with. You know it's ready when it's no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl or your hands and it's easy to knead it.
Don't worry if your babka buns are uneven in shape. They will still taste delicious!
Babka buns are best, while eaten fresh, slightly warm and shortly after they've been taken out of the oven. However, they can be stored in sealed container for up to 3 days.
Thanks for reading today's post! As always, I hope you have enjoyed today's recipe, and would love to hear from you if you try it out! Feel free to leave me a comment and rating below and don't forget, you can follow me on my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest too!
Chocolate hazelnut babka buns
For the dough:
- 500 g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 40 g caster sugar
- 7 g dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium lemon (zest only)
- 275 ml milk of choice (I've used oat milk)
- 75 g unsalted butter or vegan spread
- 2 medium eggs (1 beaten to glaze)
For the filling:
- 75 g unsalted butter or vegan spread
- 75 g dark chocolate (min 70% solids)
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 75 g roughly chopped hazelnuts (or any other nuts of choice)
To make the dough:
- Place flour, caster sugar, yeast, salt and lemon zest into a large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment and mix well (you can also do it all by hand). Place the milk and the butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Set this mixture aside until it is lukewarm. Add the egg and the milk mixture into the bowl with flour, and start mixing it on a low speed for about 6-8 minutes until it forms smooth and elastic dough. Transfer the dough into oiled bowl, cover with cling film and allow it to rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
To make the filling:
- Put the butter and chocolate into a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and heat until fully melted. Remove from the heat and add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and stir together. Set aside until it has thickened into spreadable consistency.
- Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into rectangle, about 40 x 60 cm. Spread the filling over half of the dough and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Fold the uncovered dough over the filling and gently press together. Using a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife, cut the dough into strips, about 2.5- 3 cm thick. Twist each strip of the dough few times then, gripping one end between your thumb and forefingers, coil the dough around the fingers to form a bun shape, finishing by folding the end of the dough over and under (see recipe notes for how-to).
- Place each bun on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, living about 5 cm space between each bun. Cover with cling film and set aside until buns have risen and puffed up (about 45 min- 1 hour).
- Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan). Brush each bun with egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
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