Thanksgiving may be in sharp focus with less than one week to go, but make no mistake: Hanukkah isn’t far behind.
Darkness descends earlier with every passing day and the nights grow longer, setting the stage for Hanukkah candles to light the way forward. It’s a time to bask in the warm glow of the menorah, flames flickering in the breeze, and indulge in the sweetest of traditions. For a fresh take on the traditional hanukkiah, I’ve got just the thing that’s full of the holiday spirit… And more importantly, chocolate. Enter the Babka Menorah, paying homage to the festival of lights in the most delicious way possible.
Embrace Tradition Through A Modern Lens
To truly appreciate the Babka Menorah, it’s essential to explore the rich tapestry of Jewish baking. The dough itself is a subtle adaptation of my essential challah recipe, slightly enriched with non-dairy milk to make an even more tender, buttery treat. While challah dough is then braided and lacquered with an egg wash, babka is a coiled, twisted masterpiece that weaves a different narrative. Its layers, intertwined with velvety chocolate chips and cocoa-spiked sugar, unfold with every delicate bite, placing it firmly on the dessert menu, rather than the dinner table.
Fashioned after the menorah, an essential centerpiece of Hanukkah, this is more than just a candelabrum. It symbolizes the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when there was only enough for one. In this spirit, the Menorah Babka merges tradition with a touch of contemporary whimsy. It stands as a celebration of resilience, innovation, and the sweet joy that comes from embracing change.
Look No Further For The Best Vegan Babka Recipe
Babka is a cult hit that’s transcended Jewish delis to become a viral hit at large. The appeal of bread and chocolate is universal, so this mainstream success should come as no surprise. Decadent chocolatey filling is interlaced throughout the whole loaf, melding and fusing with the bread for an end result greater than the sum of its parts. The decadence of chocolate is balanced by the soft, pillowy dough; altogether rich and sweet, yet still not too heavy, even after indulging in untold plates of latkes.
Making it look like a menorah is more than just a fun visual trick. Those long branches transform the dough into an ideal pull-apart bread, perfect for sharing with loved ones, no knives required. Food you can eat with your hands is just more fun, right?
Tips For Success
For those inspired to try their hand at crafting this edible menorah, a few tips can make the process more enjoyable.
- Patience is key when coaxing the dough to rise, allowing the flavors to develop and the layers to intertwine.
- Embrace the messiness of the process; after all, the best stories are often written in the margins.
- Allow space for the full glory of your design, even if that means baking on an upside-down sheet pan to prevent raised edges from boxing you in.
Ideas For Adaptation
As with any good recipe, there’s ample room for personalization. The Menorah Babka, like the original concept, lends itself to a myriad of flavor variations, each as unique as the individuals celebrating Hanukkah. You can always add a pinch of spice or other crunchy mix-ins to the current filling, or go on a new flavor adventure with the following variations:
- Add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon for a classic cinnamon-sugar blend, or incorporate ginger, cloves, all-spice, and cardamom for a more nuanced approach
- Add 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, or pecans
- Smear 1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter, jam, or hazelnut spread over the dough instead of melted vegan butter
- Use vegan white chocolate chips, a dash of vanilla extract, and rainbow sprinkles to make something reminiscent of cake batter
- Add crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips for a s’mores-inspired delight
In a world that is constantly changing, the Babka Menorah invites us to enjoy the sweetness of cherished traditions with a twist. It’s not too early to plan for a truly happy Hanukkah, with warm wishes for season’s eatings.
- 2/3 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk, Warmed
- 1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 (1/4 Ounce) Packet, or 2 3/4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Cups Bread Flour
- 1 1/4 Teaspoons Salt
Filling and Decor:
- 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter, Melted and Divided
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 9 Sliced Almonds
- Sprinkles (Optional)
- To make the dough, place the warm non-dairy milk, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix lightly to combine and allow about 10 minutes for the yeast to reawaken and become frothy.
- Whisk in the oil before adding the flour and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine. Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead for about 10 minutes, or closer to 15 by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic, but still slightly sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover, place in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until doubled in volume; 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a microwave safe dish and set aside. In a separate medium bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, mini chocolate chops, and salt, stirring well. Set aside.
- When the dough has risen, press it gently to deflate and cut it into two equal pieces. Place one on a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a roughly 13 x 10-inch rectangle. Transfer it onto a piece of parchment paper, then roll out the second piece of dough to the same size.
- Brush the dough on the parchment paper thoroughly with the melted butter. Sprinkle the chocolate filling evenly all over the surface. Brush the second piece of dough with more butter, then carefully flip the second piece on top with the butter side down, sandwiching the filling in the middle.
- Use a pizza cutter, kitchen shears, or very sharp knife to trim away the uneven edges and create a perfectly smooth, sharp rectangle. You can bake off the scraps separately as a little snack. Cut a 1-inch strip away from one of the long sides, then cut that into two pieces; 1/3rd and 2/3rds of the length. Twist them both, then place the smaller one snug against the larger, full rectangle. Place the larger twist at the bottom, forming the base of your menorah.
- To make the candles, cut a roughly 1-inch strip from the center, going about halfway through the main rectangle. Twist it while pulling gently out to make it longer. Cut each of the sides into four equal strips, twisting each separately, creating eight side candles in all.
- Brush the whole thing gently with melted butter, being careful not to go over the cut edges and smear the cocoa. Press one sliced almond on top of each candle to make the flames and cover the main portion of the menorah with sprinkles, if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, letting the dough rise while the oven comes up to temperature. Bake for 24 - 26 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let cool completely before serving.
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. I have experience with all of these companies and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 733Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 42gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 10gSugar: 20gProtein: 20g
All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.