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Brown sugar and cinnamon babka makes an easy Hanukkah treat

Who doesn’t love a rich slice of sweet bread to go with coffee or milk? Try this brown sugar and cinnamon babka this holiday season for a special treat. It’s not difficult to make, but it will take some time, so keep that in mind before you gather your ingredients.

cinnamon sugar babka
Image: Patricia Conte/SheKnows

You’ll love the swirls of brown sugar and cinnamon wrapped up in this sweet treat, and don’t forget the streusel over the top too. The twisting method you use to shape the dough gives the bread a lovely swirl pattern. If your twisting isn’t perfect, never fear — it all works out in the end.

Serve up a slice or two of brown sugar and cinnamon babka this season.
Image: Patricia Conte/SheKnows

Brown sugar and cinnamon babka recipe

Yields 1 (9 x 5-inch) loaf

Prep time: 15 minutes | Rest time: 2 hours 45 minutes | Bake time: 30 minutes | Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes


For the filling

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the dough

  • 1/2 packet active dry yeast (about 1-1/8 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for the topping
  • 1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into pieces, for the topping
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Parchment paper


For the filling

  1. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Set aside.

For the dough

  1. To a large bowl, add the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast into the water. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. To a separate bowl, add the yogurt, sugar, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, egg and salt. Whisk the ingredients until well combined.
  3. Transfer the yogurt mixture into the water mixture.
  4. Add the flour to the mixture, about a third at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon.
  5. Knead the dough in the bowl just slightly, until all the flour is mixed into the dough. The dough will be soft.
  6. Spray a large bowl with the nonstick cooking spray, and transfer the dough to the bowl.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and let it sit in a warm spot for about an hour or until the dough rises to about double in size.
  8. Once the dough has risen, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.
  9. Lightly flour a flat work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  10. Stretch and roll the dough into the shape of a rectangle about 15 inches long by 10 inches wide.
  11. Brush the 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the rectangle, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges.
  12. Sprinkle 2/3 of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the dough, and reserve the remaining mixture to use as the topping.
  13. Starting from the shorter end, roll up the dough. Pinch the ends closed, along with the seam.
  14. Gently twist the dough (like you’re wringing clothes) a few times, and place it in the loaf pan lined with parchment paper. If the dough doesn’t seem to fit, you might need to gently push on it and move it back and forth to fit into the pan.
  15. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, and let it sit in a warm place for about an hour.
  16. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and the pieces of chilled butter to the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Use a fork to combine it until crumbly. Just before baking, sprinkle the mixture on top of the loaf.
  17. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the loaf is golden on top.
  18. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan, and remove the parchment paper. Allow the babka to cool further before slicing.

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