Take your babka to the next level with this caramel walnut version!
CARAMEL WALNUT BABKA
3/4 cup milk (warmed to 110-115ºF)
1 packet active dry yeast
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional for dusting)
1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons
1 stick butter (softened)
1 stick butter (cubed)
2 cups chewy caramels (finely chopped, divided)
2 cups walnuts (finely chopped)
1 lemon (zested)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
For the Babka Dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook add the milk and yeast and allow to stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and the egg yolk, sea salt, vanilla extract and mix to combine.
In a large bowl add the flour and sugar and whisk to combine. Gradually add the flour to the bowl of the stand mixer in 1/2 cup increments until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add butter and mix until combined and dough is tacky. Place into greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for an hour, or until doubled in size.
Remove dough to a floured surface and divide into two. Using a rolling pin, roll each dough into two 16 inch x 16 inch squares.
For the Filling: in a medium glass bowl add the caramels and butter and microwave in 30-second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Divide the filling between the two squares of dough and top with walnuts, lemon zest and sea salt.
Grease two loaf pans with butter, line with parchment and grease the parchment. Roll each square into a tight log. Cut the logs in half lengthwise. With the filling side facing upwards, pinch the two ends of the dough together and overlap pieces of dough until completely twisted. Repeat with the other dough. Place in the prepared loaf pans, cover with plastic wrap and place in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a medium saucepan, add the water, sugar and honey. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and allow the sugar to dissolve, but not caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool.
Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven, Drizzle the simple syrup, over the two loaves. Allow babka to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and allow to cool completely.
– Freeze the baked babka in slices for up to two months for easy breakfast.
– Add chocolate chips with the walnuts for chocolate caramel babka!