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pumpkin chocolate babka

It is that season where there are many recipes that use pumpkin.  I like pumpkin but it is even extreme for me.  Irvin over at Eat the Love had a really cool idea of a pumpkin chocolate monkey bread.  His is more a traditional monkey bread compared to mine. 

I have been thinking about my monkey bread and have been pondering how do I keep more of the filling in the bread when I transfer it to the pan.  Then I saw a couple of recipes for babka.  Roll.  Cut.  Twist.  Transfer.  I decided to experiment with Irvin's recipe.  I know I like chocolate and pumpkin together.  Add more pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. 

Bottom line.  Life is good.  This recipe actually got requested by one of the people I took a bit share to.  Even though I have carded wool, worked on a quilt, and started bread, today's recipe is the pumpkin chocolate babka to fulfill that promise.

pumpkin chocolate babka

Note:  To use active dry yeast instead of sourdough, you will need to dissolve two teaspoons of yeast into warm water and use this mixture instead of the replenished sourdough.  Based on Irivin's Pumpkin Chocolate Monkey bread from Eat the Love

sourdough starter

3/4 cup water

1 cup flour

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree - not pie filling

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

about 7 cups flour

2 teaspoons salt 

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup room temperature butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup butter

enough extra brown sugar to make 1 cup

an extra 1 teaspoon cinnamon if wish

The night before, or if you have a very cold house like mine, a day before, mix the starter with the 3/4 cup water and 1 cup flour.  Mix well.  Cover and let sit until bubbly.  When bubbly, remove a couple tablespoons to use as your yeasty beasties for next time.

In the remaining starter, mix in the pumpkin, milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Mix in two cups of flour.  It should be the consistency of pancake batter.  Cover and let sit until bubbly.  This could take two hours, or in my house twelve.  Very cold house.

When the batter is bubbly, mix in the salt and the rest of the flour to about 6 1/2 to 6 3/4 cups.  The dough is going to be very soft.  Divide the dough in two.

Sprinkle a clean working surface with flour.  Take half the dough and knead until smooth and less sticky.  It is going to be very soft.  Put in a bowl.

Dump the 1/4 cup cocoa on the counter.  Take the second half of dough and knead in the cocoa.  Your are mixing in the cocoa and kneading the bread smooth at the same time.  Happy yeastie beasties!  A little extra flour is okay as you knead.  Put in a bowl and cover. 

Let rise until double.

In a small bowl, mix the two cups brown sugar with the two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice.

Butter two loaf pans.

Roll out one of the doughs until it about 1/4 inch thick and rectangular.  Dust heavily with flour and put aside.  Do the same with the other dough.  The two rectangles should be similar in size.

Lay out one rectangle.  Sprinkle with about half the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.  It was closer to a third of the brown sugar mixture.

Lay the other rectangle of dough on top of the first.  Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.  I had about a half a cup to three quarter cup leftover.

Roll the dough up.  Roll from the side that is about two loaf pans long. 

Cut the roll in half so there are two rolls about the size of a loaf pan.  Cut the roll down the length so the brown sugar mixture can be seen.

Put the cut edge up and twist two halves together.  Place in a loaf pan.

Do the same to the other two halves.  Cover and let rise until double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a saucepan, melt the 3/4 cup butter.  Add whatever leftover brown sugar mixture there is plus enough more brown sugar to make 1 cup.  Add an extra teaspoon or two of cinnamon if you wish.  Let boil a bit so the brown sugar dissolves in the butter.  Pour half on one loaf, half on the other.

Bake for one hour is using full size loaf pans. 

This is what it looks like without extra carmel drizzled on top of it.

This is what it looks like with extra carmel.

Both are utterly decadent.  It is all gone.  I need to make more.  I might not share this time . . .

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