In today’s post: Chocolate babka rolls are like cinnamon rolls, but with a rich chocolate filling instead!
We’ve been watching LOTS of British Baking Show at my house lately. The challenges are fun, the food looks great, and the contestants are so nice to each other. The only problem is that it makes me want to bake all the things! One of the things we’ve seen them make a couple of times is chocolate babka: a loaf of brioche bread with a rich chocolate filling running through it and a sweet syrup on top. It looks AMAZING.
But brioche is a finicky dough that takes a long time to make because you have to start it the night before to let it rise in the fridge. Additionally, I always prefer baking bread as rolls instead of in a loaf, because they cook much faster and end up soft all the way through – virtually no crust. So I decided to alter a traditional babka into Chocolate Babka Rolls.
Yep, these are like cinnamon rolls but with a rich, dark chocolate filling instead of the cinnamon. You will love making these because:
- We use my favorite enriched dough that turns out pillowy soft without all the work of a brioche.
- Chocolate. Enough said.
- Instead of a simple syrup, I went ahead and topped these with the cream cheese frosting I use on cinnamon rolls. It’s heaven.
Easy Bread Dough
Now, if you’ve been on my site much before, you’re going to recognize the dough I use for these cinnamon rolls: it’s MY FAVORITE DINNER ROLL dough recipe. This is the same dough I use for dinner rolls, raspberry rolls, garlic breadsticks, and more! It’s a beautiful enriched dough that results in pillowy soft rolls or breadsticks, but doesn’t require any ingredients you might not have n hand or any difficult prep (like heating milk to a certain temperature). You don’t even have to proof your yeast!
You just combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer and get things going. I even have a couple of step by step videos you can watch that will show you EXACTLY how to make this dough, including all my tips for ensuring it turns out amazing.
- If you’d like to see how to mix this dough in a Bosch mixer, visit the Homemade Bread post here
- If you’d like to see how to mix this dough in a KitchenAid mixer, visit the Dinner Rolls post here
If you’re already familiar with making yeast bread, you can skip watching the videos linked above and dive right into this recipe.
Babka rolls VIDEO
Here’s a quick video that shows the process for making these soft, gorgeous chocolate babka rolls. After the video you’ll find the printable recipe card as well as photos and more details on shaping the rolls.
Chocolate Babka Rolls
- 1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast
- 1 cup Warm Water
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 3 and 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/3 cup Baking Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 2 oz Cream Cheese
- 1 and 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 2 tbsp Mini Chocolate Chips optional
- Place all dough ingredients (except 1/4 cup flour) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until combined.
- Turn mixer up and knead dough for 5-10 minutes, adding in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour (if you live in a humid climate you may need up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour). Knead until smooth and elastic
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and form into a ball. Cover loosely with towel and allow to rise 60-90 minutes, until dough has doubled in size. (If you live in a dry climate, spray the dough with nonstick spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap before covering with a towel.)
- Punch dough down. Flour your work surface, then roll dough into a 14x20 inch rectangle.
- To make filling, place butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted and whisk together. Whisk in the powdered sugar, baking cocoa powder, and cinnamon until smooth.
- Spread filling evenly across the dough, leaving a 1 inch border along the top (long) edge of the dough.
- Starting from the bottom (which should be a long edge), roll the dough up into a log, rolling somewhat tightly. Cut off and discard ends if desired. Mark 12 even slices.
- Using a very sharp knife or a piece of thread, slice log into 12 pieces. Place in lightly greased 9x13 pan.
- Allow dough to rise about 45 minutes until rolls are puffed and just about touching each other. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake rolls approx 20-22 minutes until tops are golden brown and rolls sound hollow when tapped.
- Beat together frosting ingredients (except the mini chocolate chips), making sure that butter and cream cheese are softened.
- Allow rolls to cool about 10 minutes, then frost. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips if desired. Store covered at room temperature.
Babka Roll Recipe Instructions
Mix up the dough ingredients and knead as directed. Let the dough rise once for 60-90 minutes until nearly doubled in size. Then you’ll start shaping the dough as babka rolls.
Flour your work surface, and then roll out the dough into a large rectangle – about 14 x 20 inches is great. It’s ok to gently pull the dough into shape using your hands as you roll it out. Once the dough is rolled out, it’s time to add the filling!
Chocolate Babka Roll Filling
The secret to these delicious rolls is a rich chocolate filling you can stir up in about two minutes! Just place the butter and chocolate chips together in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. If it’s not melted, microwave 30 more seconds then whisk until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, and whisk until smooth again.
This is a very rich filling, based off traditional babka filling. If you prefer more of a milk chocolate taste, you are welcome to use milk chocolate chips instead.
Once your filling is ready, pour it onto the dough rectangle and spread it out smooth. Cover the entire rectangle, leaving about an inch at the top uncovered.
Rolling and Slicing Babka Roll Dough
Once the chocolate filling is spread across your dough, it’s time to roll it up into a log, starting from the bottom (which should be one of the long ends). Start by rolling the bottom inch or two up, working from one side to the other. Continue to roll a little at a time, working back and forth from side to side (you can see this in the video above). You want the roll to be somewhat tight so that the roll stays circular, so you can gently pull the dough toward you as you roll it up.
When you get all the way to the top, pinch the top edge gently to seal.
Now you’ll have a log that’s about 20 inches long. I like to cut off the very end of each side of the log so that all my rolls are flat on the top and bottom, but that’s personal preference.
Use a knife to mark where you will slice for 12 equal rolls. Then you can either slice the rolls apart with a very sharp knife OR you can use a piece of thread or unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls. I prefer this method because it doesn’t squish the rolls. Pick up one end of the log and slide a piece of thread under it. Then criss cross the thread over the top of the log and pull on each end of the thread the slice through the log. You can see how I do this on the video above, or in the photos below (these photos are from my cinnamon rolls post, but it works the same with these babka rolls).
As you slice 12 even rolls, place them in a greased 9×13 inch pan to rise one more time before baking.
Here’s what they look like before the second rise (plenty of space in between each roll):
And here’s what they look like after the second rise (nice and puffy, rolls are just beginning to touch each other). Your second rise will take about 45 minutes, depending on how warm it is in your house.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until they are lightly brown on top and sound hollow if you tap on them. Baking times vary quite a bit, so you may need to bake yours a little longer or a minute shorter. If you’re unsure whether they are done, you can use a fork to gently pull the two middle rolls apart to see if the dough looks cooked and flaky.
Here they are fresh out of the oven:
While they bake, mix up the cream cheese frosting.
If you want the frosting to melt into the rolls, wait about 10 minutes after removing the rolls from the oven to frost them, and serve immediately. If you prefer fluffy frosting that stays on top of your rolls, allow the rolls to cool completely before frosting and serving.