Did you know winter officially starts on December 21st? This means that I have permission to share one more pumpkin recipe with you before I bring on the mint and eggnog.
A few weeks ago I shared how stressful fall can be for me and how the transition from October to November is the toughest. Well, on the flip side, once we get to mid November time FLIES. Between reviewing for midterms, taking midterms, along with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and February break—winter feels all too brief.
This past Thanksgiving, I visited my husband’s family in North Carolina. My in-laws moved down to North Carolina this fall so it was our first time visiting their new home. Since a few other relatives also lived in the area, this break felt like a mini family reunion.
There are two main things that characterize our family reunions: an inordinate amount of food and board games. Although I wasn’t always a big fan of board games, Settlers of Catan holds a special place in my heart. The food, a good balance of Korean and American cuisine, is also amazing. This time around I had my mother-in-law’s classic salmon, Korean radish soup, and scallion seafood pancake! Aunt Kyung cooked—hands down the best Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever had: from the juicy turkey down to the crispy, creamy, bacony, green bean casserole.
One of the highlights of seeing John’s family is baking with his cousin Amy, also loves food as much as I do and is an avid baker. Amy and I baked the Mini London Fog Cakes last time we were together this summer. This time around we joked about baking an edible Settlers of Catan board but instead we opted for pumpkin challah and also…Pumpkin Babka Knots!
First, the pumpkin challah. The recipe below will yield two large challah braids or one braid and about one dozen large-ish pumpkin babka knots (or if you want to go all out, two dozen babka knots!). The pumpkin challah is subtly orange and only a little bit sweet. It was delicious fresh out of the oven and paired with butter, inspired by my food blogger friend Grace.
Now the pumpkin babka knots are a different level of amazing. The top egg-washed crispy layers are perfectly interrupted by layers of dark chocolate gooeyness. The cinnamon in both the bread base and the chocolate layer ties the knots together. These Pumpkin Babka Knots are delicious and I will definitely be making them again. I will say though that you should eat the knots fresh while the crispy to gooey contrast is at its greatest, after a day or two the knots simply begin to feel soggy. Feel free to re-heat in the oven to re-crisp.
Because we were travelling there are no process shots (I know! So sad) but luckily I was able to snap some photos of the knots before we devoured them.
All of my inspiration for this post is below:
(I was nervous about whether this challah would feel too much like bread but it didn’t at all, such an amazing recipe!)
Babka Knotting (w/ GIF)
Babka Knotting 2.0 (Gives you a sense of how to achieve those lovely knots with pictures)
Such pretty knotting (will definitely try this again with this method)
Pumpkin Babka Knots Recipe
Yields: 24 large knots
The recipe for the Pumpkin Challah is originally found here. I’ve also listed the ingredients below so that you can get a sense of what this recipe calls for.
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water, divided
- 3 tbsp white sugar
- 1 egg (white and yolk)
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- Pinch of cloves
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
- 7-9 cups all-purpose baking flour
Egg Wash Ingredients
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp water
Chocolate Layer Ingredients
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- ½ cup of butter
- ½ cup of powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup of cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- Pumpkin Challah: Make pumpkin challah dough according to Tor Avery’s recipe.
- Chocolate Paste: After your dough’s second rise, melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl and then add remaining ingredients in bowl. Mix together and add sugar until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Remember that as the butter cools, it will thicken.
- The Process: Roll out ¼ your dough into a large rectangle. Spread paste in thin uniform pattern up to about ½ inch from the side. Then fold in. Cut into even strips (about 6). Then twist and roll around your hand two times, tucking in remaining dough underneath the knot. Check out the Vanilla Bean Blog for further guidance.
- Place knots on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet with a good amount of space in between for spreading.
- Beat 2 egg yolks and water together in a bow and brush all knots individually, taking care not to brush the exposed chocolate paste portions. This will cause unsightly streaking.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until done.