BAKES/ SWEETS

Nutella and Halva Babka Buns

Hello, welcome to Djalali Cooks! I have a sweet treat for you today. Nutella and Halva Babka Buns are enriched bread buns with ribbons of Nutella, chocolate and pistachio halva twisting and turning through each bite. Such beautiful buns are meant to be shared! This recipe makes 8 big buns, a perfect amount for keeping a couple and sharing a few. Let’s get right to it!

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Babka Dough

As with most baking recipes, let’s start with the dry ingredients. In your mixer bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then, cut the room temperature butter into the dry mixture until the mix is crumbly. Set that aside.

For the wet ingredient mixture, warm 3/4 cup of milk to 110-115 degrees F. Then add the vanilla, milk and lemon zest to the dry ingredients. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture is evenly moistened.

A Note on Vanilla

Inconveniently, I was out of vanilla extract. But I did have a single vanilla bean. So, to substitute I sliced the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scraped out the seeds and added them to the 3/4 cup milk warming on the stove. Then I dropped the vanilla pod in the milk and brought the milk up to 110-115 degrees. I scooped out the pod, and I was ready to go with my vanilla milk.

When the mixture is evenly moistened, add the eggs and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Take the remaining 2 and a quarter cups of flour and add it to the batter, stirring until a firm dough forms. If the remaining 2 and a quarter cups of flour isn’t enough to get you to a firm dough, add a little more flour at a time (up to 1 more cup of flour) until a firm dough forms.

Use a silicone scraper to turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.

Place the babka dough ball in a greased bowl, turn it once over to coat the ball. Then cover and set in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

Rolling the Nutella and Halva Babka Buns

When the babka dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and use your silicone scraper to cut it in half. Then cut each half into 4 pieces for a total of 8 little dough pieces.

If you have the counter space for it, roll out each of the 4 pieces (or all 8!) into 10×5-inch rectangles. I am going to do them one at a time. Which isn’t super efficient. I would suggest trying to do at least two at a time. The dough is supple and elastic. It’s really easy to work with. Once you have your 10×5-inch rectangle, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of Nutella on the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crumbled halva on the Nutella.

Follow the halva with 1 tablespoon of semi sweet chocolate chips. Then beginning with the long side closest to you, roll the babka dough like a jelly roll.

Pinch the ends and seam together to seal. Turn the babka roll over so it’s seam-side down. Then use a sharp knife to slice the roll down the center, cutting it in half lengthwise.

Carefully weave the two halves, one over the other, keeping the cut sides up. Pinch the ends together really well.

Then take one side and tuck its end under itself as you bring the other side around, wrapping it around the tucked end. Tuck that other end under the roll. The bun should look something like a knot. Place the Nutella and Halva Babka Buns on a parchment-lined sheet tray and repeat with the remaining dough for 8 buns.

Then cover the buns and let sit for their second rise, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place an oven rack in the center position.

Bake the Nutella and Halva Babka Buns

Bake the buns until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pans, front to back, during baking as necessary for even browning. While the buns are baking, we can make an optional sugar/butter glaze for the finished buns.

Optional Sugar Glaze

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat over medium heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Off heat, stir in 2 tablespoons butter until the butter is melted. When the buns come out of the oven, brush the sugar glaze on the buns while they’re still hot.

Nutella and Halva Babka Buns

Transfer the glazed buns to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving. These are obviously amazing and best while they’re still warm. But in reality, you’ll only get to enjoy one bun when it’s at its best – fresh from the oven. Store the buns in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. To quickly warm up the day olds, pop one (at a time) in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

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Such a decadent combination of Nutella, pistachio halva and soft, sweet bread. If you haven’t had halva before, halva is a fudgelike sesame (or tahini) confection. It comes in all kinds of flavors. This recipe uses pistachio, but I think it would be fun to experiment with some different flavors. Like Cardamom or Dark Chocolate and Toasted Coconut.

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I hope you give this recipe a try. It’s a great weekend baking project, with results that would make wonderful homemade Valentine’s gifts for your friends and loved ones. Want to try another giftable sweet treat? Try Ginger Chocolate Cherry Cookies. Take care and be well, xo Kelly

Key Equipment

Nutella and Halva Babka Buns

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Dessert, breakfast, tea snack American
By Adapted from Dawn Lamoureux-Crocker, via Taste of Home Serves: Makes 8 Buns
Prep Time: 1 Hour, plus rising time Cooking Time: 15-20 Minutes Total Time: ~1 Hour, 15-20 Minutes, plus rising time

Nutella and Halva Babka Buns, gorgeous buns with ribbons of Nutella, chocolate and pistachio halva twisting and turning through each bite.

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 - 4 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour, divided - Recipe begins with using 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 tbsp. Butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Milk, warmed to 110-115 degrees F
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp, Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • Filling
  • 1 (13-oz.) Jar Nutella
  • 6 oz. Pistachio Halva, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Optional Sugar Glaze
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Butter

Instructions

1

In your mixer bowl, whisk together 1.5 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Then, cut the room temperature butter into the dry mixture until the mix is crumbly. Set that aside.

2

For the wet ingredient mixture, warm 3/4 cup of milk to 110-115 degrees F. Then add the vanilla, milk and lemon zest to the dry ingredients. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture is evenly moistened.

3

When the mixture is evenly moistened, add the eggs and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Take the remaining 2 and a quarter cups of flour and add it to the batter, stirring until a firm dough forms. If the remaining 2 and a quarter cups of flour isn't enough to get you to a firm dough, add a little more flour at a time (up to 1 more cup of flour) until a firm dough forms.

4

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.

5

Place the babka dough ball in a greased bowl, turn it once over to coat the ball. Then cover and set in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

6

When the babka dough is doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and use your silicone scraper to cut it in half. Then cut each half into 4 pieces for a total of 8 little dough pieces.

7

Roll each piece into a 10x5-inch rectangle.

8

use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of Nutella on the dough, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crumbled halva on the Nutella.

9

Follow the halva with 1 tablespoon of semi sweet chocolate chips. Then beginning with the long side closest to you, roll the babka dough like a jelly roll.

10

Pinch the ends and seam together to seal. Turn the babka roll over so it's seam-side down. Then use a sharp knife to slice the roll down the center, cutting it in half lengthwise.

11

Carefully weave the two halves, one over the other, keeping the cut sides up. Pinch the ends together really well.

12

Then take one side and tuck its end under itself as you bring the other side around, wrapping it around the tucked end. Tuck that other end under the roll. The bun should look something like a knot. Place the Nutella and Halva Babka Buns on a parchment-lined sheet tray and repeat with the remaining dough for 8 buns.

13

Then cover the buns and let sit for their second rise, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place an oven rack in the center position.

14

Bake the buns until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Rotate the pans, front to back, during baking as necessary for even browning. While the buns are baking, make an optional sugar/butter glaze for the finished buns.

15

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Heat over medium heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Off heat, stir in 2 tablespoons butter until the butter is melted. When the buns come out of the oven, brush the sugar glaze on the buns while they're still hot.

16

Transfer the glazed buns to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

Store the buns in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature. To quickly warm up the day olds, pop one (at a time) in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

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  • Terry
    February 2, 2023 at 10:38 am

    OMG this is amazing!!
    I will definitely keep you posted. πŸ€—β€οΈ mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      February 2, 2023 at 3:11 pm

      I am sure you will love them, Mom! xo Kelly