Low Calorie, Dairy Free Chocolate Babka

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Holla! Have you tried my low calorie challah recipe yet? If so, you’re already well versed in some of my non-mainstream substitutes to lower calories. If not, today’s a great day to learn the powers of the ripe banana in bread baking. LOL, not just any bread baking but sweet bread. This time in the form of a chocolate babka.

Babka is a really pretty twisted sweet bread that’s a lot more complicated to describe doing than to actually make. It takes a little time so prepare yourself for that, but 90% of the time spent is letting it rise and not doing any real work with it. True chocolate babka is filled with melted chocolate, sugar, butter, and other goodness to make a gooey paste for spreading.

I came up with a pretty genius alternate that’s dairy free, vegan and keeps the calories way down while still having the chocolate goodness. Crushed oreos are my magical ingredient there. Yes, oreos are vegan. You don’t have to get the brand name ones since store brand will do fine. If you want to get really wild, try a special edition flavor like red velvet.

With the modifications and substitutions to a traditional recipe, I was able to get calories down to 115 per slice. Not bad for a really pretty loaf of swirly bread. The trick to the swirls is in the twisting. I describe the process in the instructions, but check out the notes section if you need a picture tutorial.

Low Calorie, Dairy Free Chocolate Babka Chocolate Babka

  • 1 1/8 tsp yeast (1/2 packet)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, warm but not hot
  • 1 Tbsp (12g) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (35g) ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 Tbsp (28g) dairy free butter
  • 2 cups (210g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix the yeast, warm milk, sugar, mashed banana, and butter in a large bowl. Stir until combined and set aside for about 5 minutes. The sugars will activate the yeast and it will get foamy. Meanwhile measure out your flour and salt and toss to combine.

When the yeast is ready, slowly start adding in the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir with each addition to begin mixing it in. The dough will start to come together into a shaggy mess. You may not use all of the flour, but save it for kneading.

Once the dough begins to ball up, remove it from the bowl and knead by hand for about 5 minutes until it’s a smooth non-sticky ball. You can use some of the extra flour to flour your kneading surface if needed.

Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Place the ball in the bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Place in a warm area and let the dough rise for about an hour until doubled in size.

Spray a 9×4 in loaf pan with non-stick spray. When the dough has doubled, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a big rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Use a spatula to spread the filling (see below for recipe) evenly over the top of the dough, spreading close to the edges.

Beginning with the longer side of the rectangle on the far side of you, roll the dough towards you jelly roll style. Like you’d roll a carpet up. Press the seam to seal it. Twist the dough log a few times by grabbing the ends in each hand and twisting in opposite directions, like wringing a towel to dry.

Bend the twisted log in half to make a U-shape, and twist the U a couple times into a pretty braided shape. Place the twisted bread into the prepared loaf pan, and sit it in a warm place to rise for another hour or so. It will puff up nicely at this point.

When the hour is almost up, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the loaf at 375 for about 35 – 40 minutes until golden on the top. The loaf will sound hollow inside when you tap it once it’s done. Remove from oven and let it cool before slicing.

Makes 12 slices at approximately 115 calories each – 2g protein, 20g carbs, and 3g fat.

Filling

  • 6 oreos
  • 3 Tbsp (35g) ripe banana, mashed

Crush or chop the oreos into crumbs. You can just chop them with a knife like I did or even use a food processor. It doesn’t have to be perfect crumbs, lumps are fine. Mix the oreos with the ripe banana until they form a choco-nana “spread”. Set aside until the dough is ready for filling.

Notes

  • Due to The Kid’s dairy allergy, I used Smart Balance Original which is a dairy free butter. You can use real butter or other margarine if you like here. Similarly with the almond milk. Soy, rice, cow or other milk will work just as well.
  • I hope my twisting description is clear, but just in case here is a great tutorial from King Arthur Flour on how to twist your babka.

Have fun with your twisting and your filling flavors. Eat a slice or two spread with butter, peanut butter or cream cheese. Save a few leftovers for babka french toast. You won’t be disappointed with french toast.

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