"Although my chocolate babka is extremely popular, I did hear some complaints about the amount of margarine in the recipe while I was on tour for my first book, The Kosher Baker. Even though I told people that they were not consuming too much margarine if they ate one slice, I nevertheless set out on a mission to create a healthier babka. Along with Esther Dayon, a serious baker who is also one of my recipe testers, I tried several options in order to reduce the fat and sugar amounts without compromising flavor. The result is a moist, chocolaty babka that will satisfy the babka cravings of even the most committed healthy eaters out there."
½ cup warm water
½ ounce (2 envelopes; 14g) dry yeast
½ cup (100g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
2 cups (250g) white whole-wheat flour
½ cup (120ml) canola oil
½ cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine, at room temperature at least 30 minutes
3 large eggs plus 1 egg white (reserve yolk for glazing)
Filling and glaze
1½ cups (300g) sugar
½ cup (40g) unsweetened cocoa
1 cup (2 sticks; 226g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
1 cup (180g) mini-chocolate chips
2 teaspoons water plus reserved egg yolk
To make the dough
PLACE warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar into a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, or until thick.
Add the sugar, both flours, the oil, the margarine, and the eggs.
Combine with a wooden spoon or a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed together.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 2½ hours.
To make the filling
WHILE THE DOUGH is rising, make the filling.
Combine the sugar with the cocoa.
Add the margarine and mix well.
You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough continues to rise.
Assembling the babka
PREHEAT OVEN to 375°F (190°C).
Grease two 12-inch (30-cm) loaf pans using spray oil.
DIVIDE THE DOUGH into 4 equal pieces.
On a large piece of parchment paper sprinkled with flour, roll out each piece of dough into a 10 x 7-inch (25 x 18-cm) rectangle.
Spread each piece with one quarter of the filling, sprinkle it with ¼ cup (45g) of the chocolate chips, and roll up the dough lengthwise.
When you have two rolls, twist them around each other, keeping the seams on the bottom.
Tuck the ends underneath and place into the prepared loaf pan.
Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Brush the tops with the reserved egg yolk mixed with water.
BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes, or until well browned. Cool for 20 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides of the babkas and then remove from pans and let cool on a wire rack.
Store wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to two days or freeze for up to three months.