Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chocolate Babka, or Two Degrees from Jerry Seinfeld

Editor's Note: The short history of the Wednesday blog is that I discuss food. I woke up this morning, suffering near insurmountable indifference toward my blog. That, and I had traveled a long road to recovery from last night's vegetable burrito. (Whoa, Nellie!) No WAY was I going to write about food. Until now ...

Dear readers, if you will kindly scroll down a couple of posts to "Do the Crime, Do the Time, Be Mine," you will see that I have one lone comment. If you were to compare only numbers, you would scoff and say, "Hrmmph! Pioneer Woman gets 4,000 a DAY!" Well, that may be so, but just look who left my one comment: Suzy Soro, the comedian who played the woman who bought the last chocolate babka on the 77th episode of Seinfeld! "The Dinner Party" was originally broadcast Feb. 3, 1994 and was written by Larry David. Her comment to ME was posted Feb. 20, 2008.

So, thank YOU, Suzy Soro for lifting my spirits today and giving me fodder for the blog. It even has a food element, which is just icing on the ... babka.

"Well, I'll be there ahead of you and I'll be telling them what a jerk YOU are. . . . I'll have the chocolate babka." -- Barbara, as played by Suzy Soro

Chocolate Babka
(from All Recipes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 10 inch tube pan. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
* In a medium bowl, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Change the mixer speed to medium, and beat in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat the flour mixture and sour cream into the creamed mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until just blended.
* For the topping: In a small bowl combine the chocolate, pecans, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to make a crumb mixture. Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the crumb mixture. Pour in the remaining batter, and sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture; press the crumbs in lightly so they adhere to the batter. Quickly, but gently cut through the batter and crumbs in an up and down motion with a knife. Lightly rap the pan once against a hard surface, to settle the batter.
* Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil. Continue baking until a skewer inserted halfway between the side of the pan and the tube comes out clean, about 20 minutes longer. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto rack, and cool completely.