Chocolate Babka

Well I am back in Michigan for the holidays and after walking through the bakery I realized how much I miss my customers, employees and baking of course. I decided that today I would work on making Chocolate Babka. This sweet yeast bread is a cross between a cinnamon roll and a bread. The word Babka translates to Grandmother and originates in Eastern Europe. There are many flavor versions, but I decided on making Chocolate. It’s great after a meal or you can slice it and make a fabulous french toast. (Tip on slicing…I freeze the loaf then remove it from the freezer and slice. You can re-wrap the frozen slices and remove them as needed)

Dough (makes 2- 8″ x 4″ loafs)
6 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons orange zest
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt

In a stand mixer add the flour (reserve the 1/3 cup to add as needed), sugar, yeast and zest. On a low speed add the eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. If the mixture is to wet add more flour, if to dry add a little more milk. Now add the butter a tablespoon at a time and then salt. The dough should be smooth and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough and spray the mixing bowl with vegetable spray. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and flip to coat both sides. Lightly Cover the bowl and let stand in a warm area to proof. (about 2 hours). Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
While the dough is in the refrigerator make the filling, egg wash and simple syrup.

Chocolate Filling:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a sauce pan heat the milk and chocolate chips on a low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Allow to cool completely which will allow you to spread onto the dough.
Egg Wash:
The egg wash will allow you to help seal the dough
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Whisk well and set off to the side
Simple Syrup:
This will be the finishing touch to sweeten the warm Babka
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Mix both ingredients and place into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Allow to cool completely.

Spray two bread loaf pans 8″ x 4″ with vegetable spray
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal parts. Roll each dough into a 14″ square. Brush edges with egg wash and spread 1/2 of the chocolate filling onto each dough square to the egg wash edge. Roll up each dough and seal the ends. Using a knife, split each dough in half and twist together with the cut side up. Place into the prepared bread pan. Lightly cover and place in a warm area and allow to proof, doubling in size.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and bake on the center rack for 30 – 35 minutes. (Cover with foil at approximately 20 minutes into the baking process to protect the top of the bread from burning). You can check that the Babka is done by inserting a toothpick in, it should come out clean.
Remove the bread and drizzle the simple syrup over each loaf while warm.
After 10 minutes remove bread from their pans to on a cooling rack.

Chef Brian Klauss

Banana Muffins

Today in Florida it’s getting cold….in the 60s and overcast, so I decided to make Banana Muffins. Several years ago a Master Baker from Bake Mark came to the bakery and gave me several tips on making the best muffins. Here are his tips;
1. Do not over mix the batter, this will develop gluten and make the muffin tough.
2. Fill the muffin pan to the top which will allow the muffin to form a head.
3. Dip a knife into vegetable oil and make a cross in the batter at the very top. This will direct the muffin batter to develop through the center and form the head perfectly.
4. Bake in the center of the oven to allow equal heat to form around the pan.
5. Do not over bake the muffin which will dry it out. Test as you would a cupcake by inserting the tip of a knife into the muffin and if it removes cleanly the muffins are done.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups ripe bananas (about 2 – 3 bananas)
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons slightly soften butter

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place your oven rack in the center. Insert muffin papers into the muffin pan and lightly spray the pan with vegetable spray. In a small bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate medium bowl mash the bananas then add the sugar, cinnamon, apple spice, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Stir or lightly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until blended…..do not over mix.

Using a small ice cream scoop place the batter into the muffin papers up to the top of the papers. Dip a knife into vegetable oil and mark an X onto the tops of each filled paper. TOPPING: mix all the ingredients into a small bowl and using a pastry cutter or your hands blend until you develop a crumb like mixture. Place equal amounts of the topping onto each muffin. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Chef Brian Klauss

Apple Caramel Tarts

The Bakery is closed for the winter and Im back in Florida. My wife is heading to Bingo on Monday, so I decided to make a dessert that was fitting for this time of year. Apple Caramel Tart.

For the shell Im using Athens Filo Dough Shells, you can find them in your local grocery store in the freezer section. They come baked and ready to go.

Makes 30 Tarts

2 boxes of Athens Filo Dough shells
2 – Granny Smith Apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1/4″ cubes, about 3 cups)
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
3 tablespoons of Caramel Dip you would find near apples in the grocery store.
Pinch of salt

In a small sauce pan add the water, cornstarch and mix to dissolve completely. Add in the cinnamon, apple pie spice, vanilla extract, sugar, apples and a pinch of salt. Mix well and bring to a slight boil stirring until the solution begins to become thick. Remove from the heat and continue to stir for another miniute. (do not over cook, you want the apples to be tender but still have a bite to them). Using a spoon begin to evenly distribute the apple mixture into the shells. Heat the caramel in the microwave for about 10 – 15 seconds then begin to drizzle over the filling in each shell. Topping each one with the chopped peanuts. Cool in the refrigerator until serving time.

Chef Brian Klauss

Cherry Bars

This is a cross between a cookie and a cake with a great cherry pie filling. Easy to make with just a few ingredients.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (soften)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 can of cherry pie filling (21 ounce)

Sweet Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 confectioner sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
In a stand mixer add the butter and shortening and blend at a low speed for about one minute. Add in the sugar, salt and baking powder blending well. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, then begin to add in the flour slowly until completely incorporated. Remove approximately 1 3/4 cup of the batter and set aside for the topping. Place the remaining batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and spread evenly to all sides. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the pan and spread the cherry pie filling evenly over the baked batter. Begin to spoon the reserved batter over the pie filling as evenly as possible. Bake an additional 28 minutes until the top is slightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 – 12 minutes. While that is cooling mix the sweet sugar glaze by mixing all the above ingreidents to form a drizzle. While still warm drizzle generously over finished cherry bars. Cool in the refrigerator for approximately 1 hour, then cut into 1 1/2″ x 3″ squares. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Chef Brian Klauss

Strawberry Scones

Scones are a biscuit like pastry and are usually eaten at breakfast. We make several Scones flavors each day at the Bakery. This recipe I have added fresh strawberry and chopped them into 1/4″ pieces and glaze the scone with a vanilla icing.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a 1/2 sheet pan with vegetable spray

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed and cold
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup of fresh strawberry chopped into 1/4″ and frozen
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl add in the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix. Cut in the cold butter and form a crumble, add in the heavy whipping cream to form the batter. Fold in the frozen fresh strawberry and roll out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just to incorporated. Form a 10″ x 6″ square and place onto the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove the sheet pan and cut into the dough 3/4 through into your desired shapes and bake 25 – 35 minutes until the tops are a golden brown color. Remove from the oven and cut the remaining way through and allow them to cool. To make the drizzle, add the confectioners sugar with the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix well and when the scones are completely cooled coat with the drizzle.

Chef Brian Klauss

Chocolate? who doesn’t like chocolate. In this recipe I made chocolate Macaroons and sandwiched them with Nutella.

1 1/2 cup almond flour (King Arthur Flour)
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 egg whites
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons water
pinch of cream of tarter
pinch of salt
Chocolate Ganache or Nutella

Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1 1/2″ template draw 20 circles on the parchment paper (curve side up) Then flip over onto the cookie sheet

Place the almond flour, confectioners sugar and cocoa powder into a food processors and blend allowing the mixture to crumble finely about 30 seconds then sift into a medium bowl removing any lumps, set aside. In a sauce pan add the sugar, and water stirring over a medium heat allowing the sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil allowing the mixture to reach 235 degrees, then remove from the heat and set aside. In a stand mixer at high speed add the egg whites, cream of tarter and salt whip until it becomes somewhat stiff. Add in the sugar mixture at a steady stream developing a meringue with soft peaks. Fold the almond mixture into the meringue until incorporated, do not over fold. Place the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2″ opening and from the center of the circles dispense the batter allowing it to run to the outlined edge. Tap the cookie sheet on the counter several times to flatten the tops somewhat. Place the cookie sheets on the counter and allow them to rest for approximately 1 hour. Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees then bake in the center of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Once slightly cooled place onto a cooling rack. Once cooled apply your filling onto the flat surface of a cookie then apply a second cookie to form a sandwich. Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder.

Chef Brian Klauss

Brownie Bites

Today is the first day of spring and we are looking forward to opening mid-May in the beautiful Village of Port Sanilac, Michigan. Our first stop will be serving refreshments at the Concert “The Hackwells” located at the Sanilac County Historic Village & Museum. We have a lot of exciting and new products coming out this year, many of which you could sample at the Museum on May 5th by getting yourself a ticket to the concert. (sanilaccountymuseum.org)
Here is one of the great products “Brownie Bites” We made our favorite brownie mix by using a mini cupcake pan to create these wonderful brownies. They can be topped with frosting or mixed with nuts, they come 12 to a pack and are great for a little chocolate pick me up!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini cupcake pan with vegetable spray. (makes 28)

In the microwave melt the butter until very soft then with a hand mixer on low blend in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add in the cocoa, flour, salt and baking powder. Using a 1 oz scoop or a table spoon place the batter into the pan, 3/4 filled. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes in the center of your oven, do not over bake. Allow to cool 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack

Chef Brian Klauss