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Molly’s Chocolate Halva Babka

  • Yield: 8 babka knots 1x


This recipe is a mash-up from Molly on the Range. I used her challah recipe (page 176) and her chocolate halva (page 30) to make babka braided in knots (rather than a loaf).


  • Babka
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast*
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. + 2 tbsp. pure cane sugar
  • 3 1/4 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 c. neutral oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • Chocolate Halva
  • 2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Molly says milk)
  • 1/2 c. tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • Sprinkles
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • Sprinkles
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • sprinkles (jimmies, flaky salt, sesame seeds, pepita seeds, pearl sugar)


  1. Make the babka dough, aka Molly’s Challah. Into a bowl or liquid measuring cup, add yeast into warm water (not hot water). Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the sugar and allow it to proof and get foamy. Into the bowl of a standing mixer, add the remaining sugar, flour, and salt. Give it a quick stir. When the yeast is ready, whisk in the eggs, oil, and honey to the mixture. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium-low speed for 7-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth yet slightly sticky to touch. Add in a bit more flour in at a time if dough is too sticky. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl. Spray the top of the dough with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. This will make for easy removal. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. On cold chilly days, I get my oven warm, not hot (it only takes a second), and allow it to rise in there.
  2. Meanwhile, make chocolate halva. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from the burner being careful not to get water into the chocolate. It will seize up. It’s as bad as it sounds. Whisk in the tahini, extract, and salt until smooth. Taste and add a bit more extract and salt to even out the flavor. Remove to a container and store at room temperature. This can be made days in advance.
  3. Once the dough has doubled in size, follow Sarah’s braiding technique by cutting the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll each out on a lightly floured surface to a 4″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons of halva onto the rectangle, leaving a 1/2″ clear space along one long side of the rectangle. Roll the rectangle into a log starting with the long side with the halva spread to the very edge. Shape as Sarah instructions and place on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Just before baking, brush the tops with the wash. Bake for 22-25 minutes. The internal temperature should read 190° and the seams connecting the knots should look cooked through and not doughy.
  5. To add sprinkles, heat honey and water until a simmer. Brush tops with liquid honey and sprinkle away. Let’s all hope Molly starts selling her sprinkle mix. It’s magic! Otherwise, raid your pantry for anything that resembles a sprinkle.


*I use SAF instant yeast that doesn’t need activating in warm water. You can purchase it from Amazon and store for a year+ in your fridge.

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