Full of sophisticated flavor, Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins are a delicious & decadent sweet treat perfect for brunch or dessert.
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Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins
The recipe for these Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins crosses popular monkey breads and traditional chocolate babka with the ease of single serving treats. With a simple bread-like dough, the muffins are never too sweet, making them a perfect brunch option for anyone that likes only a touch of sugar in the morning. Warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins double as a sophisticated dessert as well.
Slightly Sweet Muffin Dough
As good as the cherry chocolate filling is, I think the real hero of this recipe is the yeasted dough. Hearty and toothsome, it’s more like a slightly sweet bread than a traditional crumbly muffin. With just a touch of brown sugar, the simple dough rises nicely and creates a dense but cottony-soft vehicle for the deliciously gooey filling within.
If you aren’t accustomed to making your own bread or using active yeast in your recipes, don’t be intimidated. Making these Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins is incredibly easy. The addition of yeast just means some extra time needs to be factored in as you wait for the dough to rise.
This recipe has two periods of rising – once when the dough is first made, and a second time after the muffins are assembled before putting them into the oven. Luckily, this is completely hands off time. As you wait you can do a few chores around the house; Make dinner; Read a book – You can even let the rising happen over night in the fridge, if you find you need to stretch the recipe over a couple of days. Overall, it’s a very forgiving dough.
Make Ahead & Eat Anytime
Due to the heartiness of the dough, these Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins hold up very well to freezing. You can easily make up a batch ahead of time and just take muffins out of the freezer to reheat as desired.
Once the muffins have cooled, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place them into the freezer. When frozen solid (about 2 hours later), transfer the muffins to a large freezer-safe storage bag or container. The muffins will keep like this for up to three months. To serve, just arrange as many as you want on a baking sheet and heat for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Guests will never even know they aren’t freshly made!
Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins
Full of sophisticated flavor, Cherry Chocolate Babka Pull Apart Muffins are a delicious, decadent sweet treat perfect for brunch or dessert.
- 1 envelope active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the bowl and muffin tin
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 eggs, lighten beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cherry Chocolate Filling
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen sweet cherries, pitted and chopped small
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup dark chocolate chunks
- Pinch of salt
Make the Dough
In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar. Allow to sit for about five minutes, until the mixture bubbles and the yeast activates.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk two cups flour, brown sugar, and salt together by hand and set aside.
In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the milk. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture cool until it’s only warm, about 115 degrees F.
Pour the milk-butter mixture into the dry ingredients, and then gently fold the yeast mixture into the dough with a spatula. Add the beaten eggs, and – fitting the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment – beat the dough on low speed. Gradually add the remaining one cup flour.
Mix the dough until it sticks to the sides. Scape the down, and add up to one half cup flour if necessary.
Grease a large bowl with butter and place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise about 1 hour.
Make the Filling
In a non-reactive pot over medium-high heat, combine the cherries and the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the cherries start to break down and the mixture appears thick and jammy. Stir in the chopped chocolate, butter, and a pinch of salt.
Remove the filling from heat and let it come to room temperature. When cool, stir in the chocolate chunks.
Assemble the Pull Apart Muffins
Grease the individual cavities of a muffin tin and dust with flour. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Dump the ball of dough out on a floured surface, and kneed a few times. Roll the dough out into a rectangle with the long side facing you, about 18 x 12 inches.
Leaving at least an inch clear on each side, spread the cool filling out over the dough with the back of a spoon, making it as even as possible. Folding the longwise away from you, roll the dough four times to make a spiraled log.
Divide the log into two halves with a sharp knife, and slice each into twelve even slices, for a total of 24 rounds.
Layer two spirals in each cavity of the muffin tin, pressing the dough together. Sprinkle the tops with a little Turbinado sugar, and let the muffins rise in the tins at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Bake the muffins for 16-18 minutes, until the dough has full puffed and is slightly golden. Some filling may ooze out, but don’t worry – they’ll still be delicious.
Make Ahead & Freeze for Later: Once the muffins have cooled, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer. When frozen solid (about 2 hours later), transfer the muffins to a large freezer-safe storage bag or container. The muffins will keep like this for up to three months. To serve, just arrange as many as you want on a baking sheet and heat for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F.