I have to say that though it took some time, it was well worth it. The results were delicious and worth the effort and planning to make. My husband also liked these loaves and better than the babka because it wasn't quite as sweet as the babka.
Chocolate Krantz Cakes
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fast rising active dry yeast
lemon zest from 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
oil for greasing
Chocolate nut filling: Syrup:
1/2 powdered sugar 2/3 cup water
1/3 cup cocoa powder 1 1/2 cups sugar
5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
Place the flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed for a minute. Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for a couple of seconds. Then turn it up to medium and mix for a couple of minutes until the dough comes together. Add the salt and start adding the butter little at a time until it is incorporated into the dough. Mix for an additional 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If needed scrape down the sides and add additional flour. Place the dough in a bowl greased with oil. Leave in the refrigerator overnight.
Grease two loaf pans with oil (a mild one preferably) and line with waxed paper. Divide the dough in half (leaving the second half in the refrigerator while you work with the first half). Meanwhile make the filling by combing the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate and butter. Roll out the dough to 11x15 inches. Use a spatula to spread half of the chocolate paste over the dough with about a 2/3 inch border. Sprinkle half the pecans and then the sugar on top of the dough. Roll up the rectangle (start with the long side closest to you and roll it up). Seal the end with a bit of water and press to seal. Rest on the seam. Trim the edge. Then take a knife and cut the roll in half lengthwise. Leave the cut side up and lift one log over the other until you have a braid with the two logs. Squeeze the ends together and gently lift into a pan. Cover the pan with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. The dough will rise about 10-20 percent. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the cloth and bake for about 30 minutes. A skewer inserted in the bread should come out clean. When the bread is baking, make the syrup. Dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven brush with the syrup, using all the syrup. Leave the bread until they are warm and then remove from the pans. Let cool before serving.
Makes two loaves