Chocolate Krantz Cake

Still trying to figure out the difference between this and a Chocolate Babka, but I’m not too worried because they are both delish. This recipe is a little less sweet.

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Ingredients:

Dough-

– 4.5 cups flour

– .5 cup sugar

– 2 tsp fast-rising yeast

– grated zest of one small lemon

– 3 eggs

– .5 cup water

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 2/3 cup butter at room temperature, cut into small cubes

– vegetable oil for greasing

 Chocolate Filling-

– 4.5 oz dark chocolate, melted

– 1/2 cup butter, melted

– 1/3 cup cocoa powder

– 1/2 cup powdered sugar

– 1 cup chopped pecans

– 2 tbsp sugar

Syrup-

– 2/3 cup water

– 1 1/4 cup sugar

1. Make the dough. Put the flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix on low speed. Add the eggs and water and increase speed to medium. Mix until the dough comes together. Add salt and then butter a few cubes at a time. Continue mixing on medium for 10 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with oil, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

2. Grease two loaf pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper

3.  Make the filling. Mix the melted chocolate and melted butter with powdered sugar and cocoa powder. You will get a thick paste.

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4. Split the dough in half. Roll out one half onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 11 x 15. Trim the sides with a sharp un-serrated knife to make sure they are even. Position one of the long edges closest to you.

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5. Rub half of the mixture evenly across the dough, leaving a 1.5 inch border of just dough.

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6. Sprinkle half of the nuts on top of the dough and half of the sugar.

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7. Brush a little bit of water along the edge farthest from you. Use both hands to roll tightly, press to seal the damp end. Use your hands to make an even pipe and lay on its seam.

8. Trim an inch off of each end and now use a serrated knife to cut lengthwise.

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9. Press together two ends and gently fold the left over right, with the filling facing up, until you reach the end. Press the ends together to seal.  Place the cake in a prepared loaf pan, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for two hours. Repeat this entire process for the second cake.

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10. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes and make the syrup while they are baking. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil on medium and then decrease the heat. Brush the syrup on top as soon as the cakes come out of the oven. Leave cakes until they are just warm and then remove from the pans. Let cool before serving!


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Holiday Peppermint Bark

This recipe feels like cheating because it’s THAT easy. Everyone I know loves it so much that it has earned the nickname “holiday crack”. I’ve also included tips and tricks for the uber-lazy holiday baker.

– 6 blocks white and 6 blocks normal chocolate bark (Make it easy: melt a bag of andes mints for the bottom layer of the bark. If you do this, do not use the peppermint extract in the recipe.)
– 1 bag starlight peppermints, red and green if you can find (Make it easy: go to Michael’s, Target, or a local bake shop and buy pre-crushed peppermint mix.)
-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil [optional]
– 1/4 tsp peppermint extract

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1) Melt chocolate. You can use a double boiler or a microwave at half power. Do not microwave at full power!

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2) Quickly spread the chocolate in a thin layer onto an ungreased 9×13 tray. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

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3) Use a rolling pin + plastic bag, a chopping device or a blender to chop the peppermints. Sift the chopped peppermints into a bowl and save the bigger candy pieces for the topping. The extra peppermint powder makes a great addition to hot chocolate or ice cream, so I save that too.

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4) Melt the white chocolate and spread it quickly over the bottom layer. The time is important so that the white chocolate doesn’t dry. If you find the white chocolate hard to spread, add the 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil now.

*Use a flat spatula or icing spatula so as not to melt and mix the bottom layer. Immediately sprinkle peppermint topping.

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5) Drizzle leftover melted chocolate with an icing bag or Ziploc bag. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

6) Remove from freezer and poke with a knife to break apart into small pieces. If you want clean squares of bark instead of the random pieces, let bark come to room temperature and cut with a cold, sharp knife. Totally up to you!

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Enjoy!