For the Dough:
- 1 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
- Nonstick cooking spray
For the Filling:
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter, cubed
- 1½ cups ground chocolate wafer cookies
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped (use roasted/unsalted if you can)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
For the Glaze:
- 8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped (use roasted/unsalted if you can)
- Flaky sea salt, optional
For the Dough:
The night before you want to bake:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm milk with the yeast and let it sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in another bowl and set aside.
- To the yeast mixture, add the egg and egg yolk and begin mixing at low speed.
- Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix again on low speed for 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Mix until everything is incorporated and a smooth dough has formed.
- With the mixer running on low, add the cubed butter and mix for another 2-3 minutes or until a smooth but tacky dough forms.
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- After the dough has risen, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with nonstick cooking spray.
- Coax the dough onto the parchment paper and divide the dough in half. Form each dough half into a square.
- Cover the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
On baking day:
- Remove the baking sheet from the fridge and coat two 9 x 4-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line each pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to overhang the edges of the pans.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough square out to form a 16-inch square. Prepare the filling next.
For the Filling:
- Place the two chocolates and the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring after each session, until the butter and chocolate are melted, smooth, and glossy.
- Stir in the chocolate wafer cookies, honey, pistachios, cinnamon, and flaky sea salt.
- Set aside ½ cup of the filling mixture.
- Divide the remaining filling between the two dough squares, spreading it out in even layers and leaving a ½-inch border around each piece of dough.
- Starting at the long edge of the dough squares, tightly roll up each square to form a tight log (as if you were making a jelly roll or cinnamon rolls).
- Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls in half lengthwise so you have two long strips per dough roll.
- Gently twist the halves around each other (there are tons of YouTube videos on how to do this – that’s how I figured it out!). Don’t worry if some of the filling escapes – the mess won’t matter in the end. Tuck the ends and pinch slightly to hold together.
- Gently lift each formed babka loaf and place in the prepared loaf pans.
- Spread the remaining filling mixture over the surface of the formed babkas. I used my fingers to spread/tuck it in all the remaining crevices. The idea is coat almost the entire dough surface with the chocolate mixture.
- Cover the pans with a towel and allow to proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Uncover the loaves and bake for 45 minutes, or until puffed and well browned on top.
- Cool slightly in the pans and then lift the babka loaves out of the pans using the overhanging parchment paper. Place the loaves on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
- Place the chocolate and the butter in a heat-proof bowl and microwave in 20-second increments, stirring after each session, until the butter and chocolate are melted, smooth, and glossy.
- Stir in the corn syrup and then spread the glaze over the warm babkas.
- Sprinkle the tops with the chopped pistachios and sprinkling of flaked salt. Allow the bread to continue cooling until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy!