Traditionally speaking, babka is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake made mainly in Eastern Europe. My version is not only vegan and gluten-free, but also light and chocolate-y. Perfect next to a hot cup of coffee or tea.
Chocolate Babka [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
1 7 x 4 x 3 inch loaf
- ½ recipe All-Purpose Puff Pastry Dough (below)
- 4 tablespoons "Butter," softened (below)
- ½ cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons vegan sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 tablespoons melted unscented coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
- ½ cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1¼ cups arrowroot
- ¹⁄³ cup vegan sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1¾ cups room-temperature coconut milk
- ½ cup melted unscented coconut oil
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled "Butter"
- • 1½ cups melted unscented coconut oil
- • 1 cup canola oil
- • ¾ cup rice milk
- • ¼ cup coconut milk
- • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- • 2 tablespoons granular sunflower lecithin
- • 1 tablespoon salt
- • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the Pastry Dough:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, arrowroot, sugar, salt, yeast, xanthan gum, and baking powder. Pour in the coconut milk and oil and, using a rubber spatula, stir until a thick dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add lukewarm water 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Put the dough and the butter into a food processor and pulse until the dough is freckled with quarter-size pieces of butter. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 1 more hour.
- Line a shallow pan, such as a loaf pan, with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine the coconut oil and canola oil, stir gently, and set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the rice milk, coconut milk, agave nectar, sunflower lecithin, salt, and xanthan gum and blend for 1 minute. Very slowly add half of the oil mixture, followed by the lemon juice, and then the remaining oil mixture. Blend for 1 more minute.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until solid, about 3½ hours. Chop the butter into 1-inch cubes and store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
- Between 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll out the pastry dough into a 14 by 7-inch rectangle about ½ inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and put the long side of the dough closest to you.
- Spread the butter onto the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle the chocolate and sugar on top. Slide a butter knife underneath the dough to loosen it from the paper, and then roll it into a log, pinching the edges to seal. Bring the ends of the log together to form a ring, and pinch to seal. Wrap the pastry ring in plastic wrap, set on a plate, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, carefully unwrap it, and twist the entire ring twice. Place on a piece of parchment paper, grab both ends of the paper, and transfer the dough into a 7 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan. Let rise at room temperature, lightly covered with a dish towel, for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Combine the oil and agave, brush the top of the dough with the mixture, and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 25 minutes, and then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Bake until the top is golden, 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes before serving.
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