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Chocolate Babka

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter or margarine (plus extra for greasing)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups (to 6 cups) unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Place milk in a small saucepan and heat it just to the point where
it is ready to boil. Remove from heat, and add the butter or
margarine, and cool. Generously grease the bottom, middle, and
sides of a standard-sized tube or bundt pan.

Place water in a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Add the
milk mixture to the yeast when the milk mixture is definitely cool
to wrist temperature; then add sugar and salt. Add flour, one cup
at a time, mixing after each addition. After all the flour is
mixed in, knead for 5 to 10 minutes on a floured surface. Add
small amounts of flour, if necessary to keep the dough from getting
too sticky to handle.

Clean and grease the bowl. Add kneaded dough, and oil or butter
the top surface. Place it in a warm place to rise until doubled;
this will take approximately 2 hours.

Place chocolate chips in food processor with steel blade, or a
blender, and grind them until they resemble coarse meal. Transfer
to a small bowl and combine with the cocoa. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of
this mixture into bottom of the greased pan and then sprinkle in
the chopped nuts.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down and then knead
it for 5 to 10 minutes on the floured surface. Roll the dough into
a large oval with a rolling pin: 9-10 inches wide at the middle,
and 16-17 inches long.

Leaving a 1/2 inch rim around the outer edge, sprinkle the remaining
chocolate filling as evenly as possible over the dough. Roll it
tightly along the long edge, pinching the edges to seal them.
Carefully lift the babka and ease it into the pan, making as even
a circle as possible. Pat it firmly into place, and seal the two
ends together with a bit of water and a good pinch.

You can either let it rise at room temperature 45 minutes and then
bake it, or wrap airtight in a plastic bag and refrigerate (up to
two days) until you are ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until it
sounds hollow when thumped. Remove chocolate babka from the pan
and invert onto a plate, so the chocolate-nut coating ends up on
top. Cool at least 30 minutes.


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