Brown Sugar Pecan Babka

Let’s give the ‘lesser babka’ some love!  This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!

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Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!It’s babka season!  Well, to be fair, all seasons are babka seasons.  But our grocery store here in upstate New York is always overrun with babka in the spring…particularly the weeks leading up to Easter.

When we first moved up here, I remember seeing this babka party at the store and thinking Huh?  What is this babka thing?  Same goes for paczki…another recipe that I need to try out at home as I suspect homemade is way better than the grocery store version.

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!As I mentioned back when I posted this Chocolate Hazelnut Babka, my first and only experience with babka was from Seinfeld.  In one episode, Jerry and Elaine go to purchase a chocolate babka, only to see the last one sold to the lady in front of them in line.  They leave with a cinnamon babka, which Elaine calls “the lesser babka.”

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!Well, it’s time to embrace that lesser babka, my friends!  Except instead of cinnamon, I went with a Brown Sugar Pecan Babka.  Sure, there’s cinnamon in there.  But brown sugar + pecan are the predominant flavors.

If you’re not familiar with babka, then you need to be!  Babka is a yeasted bread that is somewhat similar to brioche.  And that means babka is perfect for french toast!  I enjoy a slice of warm babka right out of the oven, or on Day #2 I’ll top it with butter and give it a run through the toaster oven.  And then on the weekends, it’s leftover babka for the french toast win!

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!Oh, and another unique thing about babka?  The dough rises overnight.  Yes, that’s right.  Overnight.  The dough itself gets made the day before, and then it rests in the fridge overnight.  Sure, that sounds like a real pain.  But then the next day is a cinch as you just need to make the filling and roll/twist/braid that babka into it’s final shape.  And then you get to eat warm Brown Sugar Pecan Babka.  And lightly-toasted babka.  And babka french toast.  And babka ham sandwiches. Just kidding.  I had to make sure you were still paying attention there!  (Although if you want to make a ham sandwich with your Brown Sugar Pecan Babka, then knock yourself out.  I won’t judge.)

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!I hope you had a great week, friends!  And just think…wouldn’t this weekend be better with a warm slice of babka?  Cheers!

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!

Brown Sugar Pecan Babka

Let’s give the ‘lesser babka’ some love!  This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Rising Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 11 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 304kcal


For the Dough

For the Caramel Pecan Filling

For the Egg Wash


For the Dough

  • Using a small bowl, combine the melted butter, milk and sugar. (Note: The mixture should only be lukewarm. If it gets too hot, just let it cool off for a couple of minutes before proceeding.)
  • Add the instant yeast to the lukewarm butter mixture. Whisk together and set aside momentarily.
  • Meanwhile, using a countertop mixer, add the flour, egg, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and vegetable oil Add the melted butter mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes, or until well combined.
  • Increase speed to medium for another 1-2 minutes. (Note: The dough at this stage will be very soft and sticky.)
  • Flip dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and fold 3-4 times, rotating the dough 90° after each fold. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, begin preparing the Caramel Pecan Filling by toasting the pecans in a 350°F oven for 8-10 minutes. Finely chop the toasted pecans.
  • Using a small bowl, combine the chopped pecans with the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon; mix until well combined; set aside.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into a 10” by 15” rectangle. Spread Caramel Pecan Filling evenly across top of the dough, leaving a ½” border with no filling.
  • Beginning with a long edge, roll the dough up into a log, tucking the side edges in as you roll (see picture in post). Pinch seam together.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice the dough log down entire length. Place both halves layer-side up next to each other. Pinch the tops of two halves together and then carefully twist the halves around each other, keeping the layer-side up the whole time. Pinch the bottoms of the two halves together. Place twisted loaf into a greased 5" x 9" bread pan. Cover pan lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm location. Let dough rise for ~1-1½ hours, or until dough just begins to rise over top of the pan.
  • Make the egg wash by lightly beating the egg with the milk until well combined. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash.
  • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325°F and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until top of the bread is golden brown. (Note: If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil on top of the loaf after the first 30 minutes).
  • Let bread cool in pan for ~15 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack until fully cooled.

Let's give the 'lesser babka' some love! This Brown Sugar Pecan Babka makes for a delicious treat!

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    1. Hey there, Janice! Thank you so much for the kind words. I do indeed recommend using whole milk here. To be accurate, the recipe would work with either skim or whole. However, the additional fat in the whole milk will lead to a more tender and moist loaf once the babka is baked. Enjoy! (This one makes for some GREAT French toast!) 🙂

  1. Pinned, tweeted, google+, and printed out all to make sure I don’t forget to try this recipe! lol. Your photos are gorgeous and I am now very eager to try making this! Thank you for posting. 🙂

    1. Wow, thank you so much, Jo + Sue! 🙂 I agree with your method…if there’s a recipe I want to be sure to make, then I print it out. (Of course, now I have a pile of printed recipes to sort through…haha!) Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy this babka! It’s a bit of a process, although not very hard. But it’s so worth it!!

    1. HAHAHA! You can never go wrong with Seinfeld quotes. And you know what? He’s right! Cinnamon is the answer to everything! 🙂 You should totally try making your own babka. It really isn’t that hard…it just takes some time to let the dough rest. But it’s so tasty…and it makes really, really, ridiculously good French toast! 🙂 Thanks, Marissa!

  2. I’ve never met a babka I didn’t like, but this brown sugar pecan version looks especially enticing. I hadn’t thought of using babka for French toast, but that sounds amazing – although I doubt this would last long enough in my household to make it to that point!

    1. See, that’s the one problem about using babka for French toast…you’ve got to get the babka to last long enough. It’s really tasty with just a bit of butter warm out of the oven…but French toast is my favorite! Thanks, Mara…hope you’re doing well! 🙂

    1. Seinfeld is a classic, and the babka episode is one of my favorites! Of course, I didn’t even know what a babka actually was until we moved up here to the north. But they’re pretty darned tasty! 🙂 Thanks, Rachelle…hope you had an awesome weekend!

  3. Hi David. Peaches, pecans and brown sugar; what’s not to love. I’ve not been baking bread much lately, but I think I need to try this soon. I did make banana bread as we had company for a couple of days and it is always good with a cup of coffee in the morning.

    1. Oh, banana bread has always been one of my favorites…and always will be! I think it’s because I grew up with my mom making banana bread all the time. But I gotta say a good babka French toast certainly gives banana bread a run for it’s money…if banana bread actually had money, that is. Haha! Plan to make some homemade bread sometime soon, Dorothy…homemade bread always puts me in a good mood! 🙂 Thank you, my friend!

    1. Babka is such a fun word to say! It’s a funny one, too…it seems to really only be prevalent here in the northeast. I mean I saw the Seinfeld episode when I lived in the south, but I really didn’t know what a babka was. And they’re everywhere up here in the spring. They’re a fun brioche-esque bread to make, and babkas really make amazing French toast, too. Thanks, Kathy! Hope you guys had an awesome weekend! 🙂

  4. I am not familiar with babka but the recipe sounds and looks tasty. I think it’s worth trying so I would surely try it. 🙂 Thanks David!!!

    1. It’s definitely a regional recipe centered around the northeastern US (although I’m sure it has roots in other countries…). Babka is a really fun bread to make, and it’s mighty tasty too! Thanks, Puja!

  5. Another dessert I’ve never heard of David, but I do love brown super and pecans sooooooo I’m pretty sure I’ll devour this Babka in one sitting. So I’m not alone in never hearing of Babka before. Oh wait I remember that Seinfeld episode. I think I’ve seen every Seinfeld episode 3xs. Leave it to you to make this recipe look easy and delicious.

    1. So I had never seen a babka until we moved north. But they’re everywhere up here in the spring, Mary! The Seinfeld episode was my only experience with babka prior to moving up here. But homemade bread really is fun…and way too easy to eat! 🙂 I hope you had an awesome weekend, my friend! Thank you!

  6. Haha! I totally remember that episode of Seinfeld! Oh boy, does this look good, David! Love that the dough rises overnight and, you know what? I bet a ham sandwich would be freaking awesome with this! I do eat sandwiches with cinnamon raisin bread so it’s not that far a stretch. That pic with the butter on top – GIMME!! Pinned! Happy Monday, my friend!

    1. Seinfeld is amazing! We often turn on reruns on the afternoon while we’re playing with Robbie. 🙂 Ohhh…ham sammich on babka?! That’s sheer genius, Dawn! Now I want to go make another loaf just so I can make a ham sammich on it! Thank you so much!

  7. Ummmm, David, how is it possible that I’ve never thought to make French toast with babka? This seems like a serious lapse on my part. But seriously, I first heard of babka when I moved to the northeast, too, and I proceeded to eat half a loaf with butter. How has such a wondrous thing not made its way to the rest of the country? Your “lesser” babka looks divine and so perfect for spring. Have a great week!

    1. Oh man, Kelsie. You’ve got to get on the babka French toast train like today! It’s leaving the station…are you on board?? Babka really is a pretty awesome bread. Not sure why it hasn’t spread to the rest of the country yet, but it totally needs to! I would say that I hope your weather is warming up out there, but then I remembered that your weather is always warm. *grumbles* Haha. Have a great Tuesday, my friend!

  8. What are you doing to me, David? First Monkey Bread, then this babka (and the remaining cakes in between. Not to mention banana breads). You should stop posting these delicious dreamy things. It’s spring – time for something light, not so dangerous, and probably not so appealing:) I’ve never made a babka so this one is up on my list now too (Yes to the combo of pecans, sugar, and cinnamon), but I’ll try to be strong. The only one excuse for my weakness I’ll accept is if I make a lavender babka. Like lavender – honey – citrus babka. Sounds good?)

    1. Hey now! For the record, I didn’t include any banana breads in-between the monkey bread and the babka! Although wouldn’t a banana bread monkey bread be delicious? Or what about a banana bread babka? Is that even possible?? I think we need to figure it out! I think your idea of a lavender honey citrus babka sounds awesome…although babkas often have a layer of added ingredients rolled up in there and those flavors would be in the actual dough. What would you use? Maybe chopped walnuts? Either way, give homemade babka a try sometime. It’s a really fun bread to make! Thanks, Ben!

    1. Yes! You should totally try your hand at a babka, Manali. I’m guessing they aren’t terrible common out there in the northwest…but homemade is way better anyways! Go for it! 🙂

  9. Cinnamom babka might be “the lesser babka” but Brown Sugar Pecan Babka would give chocolate babka a run for it’s money! And, since you mentioned it… it actually might not be too bad with ham after all! I vaguely recall having a slice of brown sugar ham encrusted with pecans one year, I don’t think it had cinnamon in it tho, but it was jolly good – so a sandwich with this babaka and ham might not be too bad…eh? Only one way to know for sure – send me your babka and I will trial it for you! 🙂
    Happy Monday, my Upstate NYC friend – hope warmer weather made it’s trek up there this weekend!

    1. You know, I think the cinnamon “lesser babka” gives the chocolate one a run for it’s money! (But then again, I think cinnamon is pretty much the best spice ever, so very few things will top cinnamon for me!) I’m seriously thinking I need to make another loaf of this babka for ham sandwiches though. Those flavors would go so well together! How about this? I’ll bake two loaves and try to send you one. Deal? Thanks, Shashi…and yes, the weather is finally warm up here! (Although it’s going back to seasonably cool…upper 50’s…soon. But we’re soaking in all the sun we can these days!)

    1. Haha! What can I say? I just love making homemade bread. I feel like I don’t make bread that much, but I guess it’s just that I don’t make classic Italian bread (my all-time favorite!) that much. This babka is a really fun one, and I’m guessing you know all about babka from your time out here on the east coast? Thanks, Nicole! Hope you have an awesome Tuesday!

  10. Okay… I can’t. I just had to schedule time to watch the infamous Seinfeld episode. Oh man, you have me craving a warm slice of this- I can’t remember where exactly, but one of the Jewish bakeries in Astoria had the best babkas…until this! That one was cinnamon but the brown sugar/pecan combo is killing me!

    1. Haha! Scheduling time to watch Seinfeld is always a good move. Esp when it involves the babka episode! Oh man, I would love to live down in the city and have access to good babkas. All we get up here are the grocery store versions, and those are so disappointing. That’s why I had to just make my own! 🙂

  11. I’ve been so busy readying myself for a little vacation to Utah it’s been a while since I’ve had time to visit the Spiced kitchen and here is another killer bread treat. Wish I had a slice right now reading and catching up!

    1. Oh, this one was super tasty, Kevin! I wasn’t familiar with babka until we moved up here, but it’s essentially a good brioche style bread…and I’m always partial to brown sugar and pecans. Wish I could reach back in time and beam a slice of this one over to you, buddy!

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