Chocolate babka … just like Nana used to make (or buy at Publix)
For some reason, lots of my childhood memories with my Nana revolve around food—the good, the bad and the Jewish. The good: delicious, sweet and savory meatballs. The bad: Rice Dream (sorry Nana, but that stuff is just awful). The Jewish: Chocolate babka. Mmmmmm, delicious babka. Come to find out, its origins are debatable (some say it’s Polish, some Eastern European, but from what I can tell it is largely a favorite of Jewish New Yorkers), but that doesn’t change the fact that it is AMAZING.
I fondly remember this delectable treat (and chocolate rugelach … mmmm) as something enjoyed exclusively in our yearly visits to the Jewish retirement capital of the world: South Florida.
Anyway, the babka was a pretty distant memory until a dinner club a few months back. The theme was Polish food, and for some reason it popped into my head that babka might be Polish. Sure enough, I found enough online evidence to be satisfied that it could pass. Because at that point, I just really, really wanted to make it.
And the recipe from Smitten Kitchen did not disappoint. It was light, airy and buttery—like a croissant—with sweet, chocaltey, cinnamony goodness. And it got rave reviews at dinner club. Don’t let the seemingly complex recipe scare you away—it’s totally worth it. Or for those of you in Fort Lauderdale, Margate or Boca Raton, a quick Publix run might give you your fix.