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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

A babka's distinctive swirls make this chocolate bread a spectacular treat (STEP BY STEP TECHNIQUES)

Kim Ode



JewishWorldReview.com | In an old "Seinfeld" episode, Jerry and Elaine stop at a bakery on their way to a dinner party, intending to buy a chocolate babka as a hostess gift. But they're thwarted by the couple ahead of them, who buy the last babka — and are headed to the same party! What to do?

The bakery's other options — carrot cake, Black Forest cake, a Napoleon — are rejected with Seinfeldian logic. (You don't make carrots into a cake. I'm sorry.) Finally, Jerry states the unavoidable truth: "You can't beat a babka."

Babka generally is known as a Jewish or Eastern-European bread, rich with egg yolks and butter and enclosing various fillings, the best of which is chocolate enhanced with cinnamon. Variations abound. There are cinnamon-sugar fillings, and fillings further embellished with dried fruit (think cherries or raisins), or nuts (think chopped almonds or pecans). Some bakers use Nutella, and even peanut butter. Some babkas come topped with a crumbly streusel, and there are always a few who dust theirs with powdered sugar.

But honestly, you can't beat cinnamon and chocolate.

Even better, a babka is one of those wonders of the kitchen that deliver bang-up results through deceptively simple techniques. The supple, buttery dough is a joy to knead, not the sticky glob that makes people fear dealing with yeast. Melted chocolate is spread over the dough, which then is rolled up like a jelly roll.

You can quickly twist and double this strand before placing it in a loaf pan, or use a Bundt pan for a circular bread.

The most spectacular babka is the ingenious Kranz cake variation, in which the strand is split down the middle, opened to reveal the chocolate, then crisscrossed to make a braid.

However you shape it, the goal is the same: a slice of rich bread coursing with veins of dark chocolate. Turns out the show about nothing was on to something: You can't beat a babka.

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BABKA

MAKES 1 large loaf

Note: This recipe offers two shaping techniques: for a free-standing babka in the Israeli Kranz cake style, or the more conventional loaf. The basic dough recipe is from "Artisan Breads Every Day" by Peter Reinhart. Roasted cinnamon (McCormick offers this) boosts the flavor, but regular cinnamon is fine, too. The dough improves in flavor by resting in the refrigerator overnight, making baking day even easier.

Dough:

  • 2 tbsp. instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks 3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt


Filling:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, preferably roasted
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar




WE FEED YOUR SOUL, INTELLECT --- AND STOMACH

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Directions:

Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the 6 tablespoons butter and sugar until smooth. If mixing by hand, beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla to the egg yolks and whisk to break up yolks. Add to sugar in four parts, mixing well after each addition. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 2 minutes (same if by hand) until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the bowl a couple of times.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then add to the butter mixture. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Continue to mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough comes together in a rough ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes more. This is a pliable dough, barely sticky, which makes it easy to knead. Resist adding too much more flour. Knead until dough feels soft and supple and has a golden sheen.

Form dough into a ball and place top down in a large, lightly oiled bowl, then flip upright so entire surface is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to rise for about 2 hours. It will swell, but not double in size.

You can proceed with shaping the babka at this point, or place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, to be rolled out the next day.

When you're ready to shape the babka, first make the filling by melting together the chocolate, 4 tablespoons butter, cinnamon and powdered sugar. This is best done using the double-boiler method:

Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl, then place the bowl over a saucepan filled with an inch or two of water; the water shouldn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the water to simmering, stirring the chocolate mixture until it melts. You can also do this in a microwave oven, but watch carefully, melting it in 15-second increments. Set aside to cool slightly while you roll out the dough.

To shape the dough: For a loaf shape, grease a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan or line with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15- by 15-inch square, lifting the dough occasionally to keep it from sticking to the surface. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch-wide border at the top and a 1/2 -inch border on the remaining three sides. Beginning with the bottom edge, roll up the dough jellyroll-style.

With the seam side down, roll it back and forth to seal the roll and extend its length to about 18 inches. Carefully begin twisting the log a few times until the seam appears as a gentle spiral down the length of the log. Bring together the two ends, pinching them together to seal, then give the doubled loaf another twist to make a figure 8 shape before placing in the pan, tucking under the pinched end.

Cover with a cloth and let rise at room temperature 1 to 2 hours or until the babka looks puffy and fills the pan.

For a Kranz cake shape: Proceed as above to the point of rolling up the dough and extending its length to about 18 inches. With a sharp knife or metal scraper, cut the log down the middle lengthwise and carefully turn each piece cut side up. Place one piece over the other in an X, then crisscross the strands to make a braid, pinching together each end and tucking it beneath the babka.

Carefully place the braid on a sheet pan that's been greased or covered with parchment paper. Cover with a cloth and let rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or until the braid looks puffy.

To bake: For either shape, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. Once baked, let the babka rest for 5 minutes before removing from the pans to a wire rack to cool. Babka is best served at room temperature after the chocolate has had time to set.


Nutrition information per 1 of 18 slices:

Calories: 240

Fat: 11 g

Sodium: 140 mg

Carbohydrates: 31 g

Saturated fat: 6 g

Calcium: 30 mg

Protein: 4 g

Cholesterol: 58 mg

Dietary fiber: 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 2 fat.

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