Purim is one of those holidays that immediate sparks my creativity. There are just so many facets; what will I do for mishloach manot? What will I dress up as? And of course, how can I reinvent the tried and true Hamantashen? If you've been following my site or my Instagram, it's no secret that I kind of have a thing for babka. Enter: the Babktashen. It's my regular ol' Babka dough recipe shaped into a monster size Hamantashen. And though I haven't done it, I've played with this dough extensively, and know you could achieve smaller versions just by halving or quartering the recipe and following the rest of the steps. Now let's get started, shall we?
1 packet instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water + 2 tablespoons
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 1/4 cups bread flour + more for kneading
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
about 1/2 cup nutella or chocolate spread (will vary)
1. Start by proofing the yeast. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir to combine and then allow the mixture to sit uninterrupted for about 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, the yeast should appear frothy. If it's not frothy, allow it to sit for another 5 minutes. If at the end of 10 minutes it still does not appear frothy, the yeast may be dead and you'll need to start again with fresh yeast.
2. In a small bowl whisk the eggs and add in the extracts. Pour this into the bowl with the yeast. Add in the white sugar and stir to combine.
3. Add in the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a dough forms. If using a stand mixer, mix on low using the dough hook attachment. The dough will still be sticky but should form a mass.
4. Add in butter or margarine, one tablespoon at a time, with the mixer still on low. Once all the butter is mixed in, you should assess if the dough needs more flour. If it continues to stick to the side of the bowl or to your hands, add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. You may need another cup or more of flour, just keep adding until the dough no longer sticks. Once it's no longer sticky continue to knead, either by hand or in the mixer, for another seven minutes.
5. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl and turn the dough around in the bowl to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about 2 hours. The oven, turned off, with the light on is an excellent spot for a dough to rise.
6. Once the dough has doubled in size, you'll begin to form the Babkatashen. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Lightly flour a counter or work surface and turn the dough onto the counter. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out as thin as you possibly can. The shape doesn't matter much, just continue to roll until the dough is as thin as possible.
8. Using a small paring knife, cut a triangle shape in the center of the dough. Each side of the triangle should be about 6 inches long. Set the triangle off to the side.
9. From the pieces of dough you've cut off of the triangle you'll begin to make small little "mini Babkas." Using a palette knife, spread chocolate spread onto the little pieces of dough. Roll each one tightly like a cigar, then use a paring knife to cut down the center, lengthwise, of the mini babkas so that you form two pieces with the chocolate spread exposed. Twist the two pieces over each other in a braiding fashion. Continue to do this with the remaining pieces of dough.
10. Take the triangle piece of dough you set aside and bring it to the center of your work surface. You will begin to frame the triangle with your "mini Babkas." They may not be perfect in size, that's ok. You can secure several together to make them fit around one side, or you can trim any excess dough off if it is too long. At the end, the entire triangle should be framed with your "mini Babkas." If you have extra dough pieces, you can start to create a second triangular frame of "mini Babkas" inside your first frame. Make sure to leave at least a small triangle in the center empty; this is where the filling will go.
11. Use the palette knife to cover the inside triangle with chocolate spread.
12. Transfer the babkatashen to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, until the top of the Babkatashen begins to turn golden brown.
13. While the Babkatashen bakes, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water to a small pot. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the sugar completely dissolves in the water. You'll know it's done when it looks like just water in the pot and you cannot detect the sugar.
14. Once the babkatashen is finished remove it from the oven. While it is still hot, brush the sugar and water mixture over the Babkatashen. If desired, drizzle with more chocolate spread.