Tuesday 30 July 2019

Chocolate, Tahini & Honey Cashew Babka Buns

So first off, you'll probably be thinking what on earth is babka? Well I'll tell you... babka is a sweet yeasted bread, rich like a brioche but more dense in texture, usually with swirls of chocolate or cinnamon twisted in its ribbons of layering, a sweet and buttery cake-bread hybrid, perfect paired with a cuppa, for breakfast or a sweet dessert treat. 
This babka bun alter ego is an adaption of the traditional babka recipe, as usually they would be served in Jewish and Eastern European bakeries in loaf form, whereas the buns are more easy to eat and serve as they come, and almost crossing the bridge to the Swedish bun territory (Kardemummabullar). 
You may only be familiar with tahini used in savoury recipes, but the toasted seasame flavour from the tahini works so well in sweet things too. There's definitely a lot of adult flavour vibes going on here with the addition of dark chocolate and the caremelised sugary goodness with the honey roasted cashews.
It's been awhile since I've had the luxury of time to indulge in some bread baking. I've finsihed my undergraduate year work placement in food development now, meaning I have a whooooole summer of freedom to travel and spend some time doing blogging again (which I realise I have neglected a bit over the past year whilst I was working full time), before I head back to uni to complete my final year. 
Bread baking certainly requires more time than the average time to bake a cake or some biscuits but if you can, it's so satisfying and soothing to do every once in awhile, especially when it's a 'fancy' shaped bun like these bad boys. Something which I hadn't yet made before, so yes I did the google around for videos on how to shape these. 
I mean seriously, look how pretty they turn out and although they look complicated, once you've looked at my step by step images and video (as it's so much easier to show you than explain), you'll find the process of rolling them up really fun, right?! 

Chocolate, Tahini & Honey Cashew Babka Buns

Makes 15


For the buns
250ml (1 cup) milk
2 x 7g packets dried yeast
2 eggs
750g (5 + 1/2 cups) strong white bread flour
75g (5 tbsp) butter, softened
75g (1/3 cup) soft brown sugar
Tasteless oil spray for greasing

For the filling
150g (1/3 cup) tahini
140g (3/4 cup if choc chips) dark chocolate

For the topping
65g (just under 1/2 cup) cashew nuts
10g honey
1 egg, beaten to glaze


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. 

Bring the milk nearly to the boil and cool it to just warm, then stir in the yeast and the eggs. Put the flour in a stand mixer or large bowl and stir the liquid milk mixture in, then add in the butter and sugar. Knead with a dough hook or by hand until the dough is soft and springy, by hand this will take roughly 10 minutes, or about 6-7 minutes by machine. 

Place the dough back into the bowl and cover, leave to rise in a warm environment for an hour, or until doubled in size. 

Meanwhile, to prepare the nut topping, place the cashew nuts into a small bowl and drizzle over the honey. Toss the nuts with a spoon to coat the nuts in the honey all over. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spread out the nuts onto the tray. Bake the nuts in a preheated oven for 6 minutes until lightly toasted and golden brown, be sure to keep your eye on them as they will burn quickly. Once toasted, leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes, then chop up into small pieces for sprinkling on top of the buns. 

Prepare the chocolate for the filling, by finely chopping, it is ok to have some slightly larger chunks but these may fall out when shaping the babka buns. 

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the risen dough and roll into a 15x21 inch rectangle. Spread the tahini paste all over the rectangle, followed by an even covering of chopped chocolate. 

Starting on the short side of the dough rectangle, fold 1/3 of it into the center, then fold the other third over to the center too, covering the first flap. This can be called the business letter fold. Briefly roll out the folded dough just to stretch the width out to about 10-12 inches.

Using a knife, cut strips of dough starting from one long side to the other. The strips should be about 2 cm in thickness, I managed to get 15 strips out of mine to make 15 buns but you may get a less or more depending how much you rolled out the dough.

To assemble the rolls, take one strip, hold one end with your thumb and next two fingers. Wrap the strip around your fingers, covering the thumb as well, then  pull the dough under and slip it through the opening where your thumb is. Pull it upwards and let it cross over the bun and tuck it in the other side. Watch my little video on a visual guide how to do this. 

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease with oil spray. Place the shaped babka buns spaced well apart onto the trays and cover with plastic wrap, leave to rise again in a warm environment for about 30-45 minutes. 

Once ready to bake, brush each bun lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle over some chopped honey cashew nuts. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden in colour. These buns are best eaten warm and on the day of bake, however my recommendation would be that these can be eaten the next day, warmed up for about 20 seconds in the microwave first. You can also freeze the buns. 


  1. Tahini and chocolate sounds like an amazing filling and these babkas look absolutely delicious! I need one in my life right now!

    1. Thanks Katerina, the combo really does work and glad you like the recipe! Please do let me know if you try them out :)