Chocolate and Cherry Babka

I like the imagery that plays in my mind when I hear the word babka. I see a young child screaming in delight when the twisted sweet bread is carried from the old kitchen by the grandmother. How many other foods can so completely delight both ends of the age spectrum? And how many other foods are so perfectly named (babka means grandmother in Polish)?

A babka is an old Jewish recipe made from an enriched bread and filled with something sweet – most notably fruit jams and spices. The twists in the bread create visually stunning interiors – each as a unique as a fingerprint. These breads offer the cook great latitude in creating a distinctive offering by using whatever ingredients are on hand…anything from apples to zucchini.

My recipe uses ingredients familiar to another classic dessert: the Black Forest Cherry-Torte. I use a black cherry jam (with chunks of fruit) and combine it with rich, non-fat cocoa powder and ground hazelnuts to create…well, in my opinion, the perfect filling for a babka!

Yield: makes 8-12 servings

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