I was up very late last night baking chocolate Babka for easter. I use the same recipe every year, from marthastewart.com and it has served me well. But with the 10 minutes of stand mixer kneading, I don’t know how I did it before my KitchenAid mixer came into my life.
The dough turned out really well. It turned out super silky. After a lot of rising (it seems fitting that an Easter bread would spend so much time rising) I added the two-and-a-half (that’s right!) pounds of chocolate (mixed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon) to the rolled out dough. I can’t believe that a dough that gets kneaded that long rolls out so easily.
After an hour in the oven, I took out the chocolate Babka. I also decided to make one regular Babka as well, as I was curious how this dough would work with only raisins mixed in (the answer is very well). Usually I don’t do so well with such finicky bread recipes (or bread recipes at all really), but this turned out superb as usual. The chocolate did not melt as well as it should have for some reason. It doesn’t change the taste at all, because the chocolate cools down before serving, but it takes away from the visual effect of the swirls of chocolate. It disappointed me when I first cut into a loaf because it looked more like scattered chocolate chips, but then I took a bite and it was so good it did not really matter anymore. It must have been all the thoughts of puppy dogs and butterflies that I tried to keep in my head while the dough rose. I read somewhere about how it’s believed that the success of your Paska or Babka relies on the purity of thought of its baker. And that some while baking would go so far as to not allow anyone else in the house as to not ruin their golden bread by allowing bad thoughts to enter their home.
I really liked it as a regular Babka as well. Delicious. This is one of my favorite things to bake all year. I always divide the dough into six loaves in those aluminum pans that are slightly smaller than a regular loaf pan. It fills them well, and are a good size to roll out on a counter too. I usually make substitutions or do something different, but other than the smaller loaves (that still bake for the same amount of time) I followed the instructions exactly. Side note: Someone really needs to invent a computing device that has some way to save online recipes in a “cookbook” of sorts and lets me write notes on it. That is my dream app. Maybe the Microsoft Courier will do that. Let me say it here that I thought of
that, so they better put me in an annoying ad (this ad was way better) about how the Microsoft Courier was my idea.
Me being the occasional non-thinker, did my nails before baking. Luckily I was able to fix them up. I decided that I wanted nails that looked like Easter eggs. Tiffany-blue with purple tips and a glittery silver stripe. I used China Glaze For Audrey and OPI Do You Lilac It. It was pretty fun.
For the boys Easter basket, I spent some time sewing yesterday. I made O a Stegasaurus with ribbon tag plates down its back. It got a slobbery baby mouth of approval. I based it on this pig pattern from marthastewart.com. If I used it again, I would enlarge it, although I like the tiny dino. For B, I sewed him an Owly from his bedtime book, and a car mat. I really could have done a better job on the car mat, but I only had around an hour to spend on it, and considering that I think I did a pretty good job. I think I might remake it sometime though. Something more like this or this (I can’t wait to make things from B’s drawings BTW). I also got him some Cars Dominoes. “Play game, play game,” he was saying all day. I started to teach him a basic matching version of Dominoes, and he started to get it. He mostly loved dumping them out and putting them back in their tin. I am slowly hoping to work him up to my favorite game, Candyland.
We had a really nice brunch with my family this morning. My sister left for Montreal yesterday, and family gatherings aren’t quite the same without her. After eating too much food we went home and all took naps. Now I am watching the Real Housewives of Orange County (!) and taking a break from knitting Ryan’s hat to type this up while my nails (a deep jewel green) dry. Tomorrow we have dinner with Ryan’s family, and after that I have knitting group. B and I are going to play some more dominoes tomorrow, and maybe break out the glitter glue and safety scissors during O’s nap. O is becoming such a social little baby. He smiles big at anyone who catches his gaze, and carries on long conversations to anyone (or thing) that will listen. It’s pretty adorable. It makes my day.