You Gotta Roll With It...

Overall, I am really very thankful to be gainfully employed once more. I was incredibly fortunate to be without a job for such a short period of time, and I like my new situation. I am learning all kinds of skills that will serve me well in the long-run, plus I work with great people who are positive and create a healthy work environment. That said, I am going through a bit of a stressful patch. I am juggling multiple projects, nearly all of them are in a highly active phase, and deadlines are flying at me at an alarmingly fast rate.

This weekend, I've been putting in extra hours from home trying to make some headway on a particularly large project with a looming deadline, and as a result, I felt a bit of a need to treat myself for my efforts. Baking has long been a source of stress-relief for me, and chocolate has always been a handy emotional salve for me, so I turned to my Pinterest board in search of a chocolate-focused baking project I could tackle to make myself feel better.

Inspiration came in the form of a chocolate-swirled breakfast roll from Smitten Kitchen, based on the chocolate babka that she had eaten growing up. Though babka is associated with Eastern European Jewish communities, and I was raised in a predominately Jewish suburb, babka was never really a part of my childhood. Still the concept was appealing -- rich, buttery, brioche-style yeast dough, swirled with sweet chocolate and cinnamon streusel. I love cinnamon buns, I love chocolate, and l love chocolate and cinnamon together, so the idea of combining all these elements and getting to call them breakfast was an undeniably attractive prospect.

The recipe turned out to be a bit more labor-intensive than I probably should have tried to attempt during a weekend when I was already so busy, but attending to the dough throughout its various stages also provided a welcome distraction. Though our apartment is generally on the chilly side during the coder months of the year (and a nightmare to air-condition sufficiently in the summer), the yeast did its job without incident.

As instructed, I rolled out the dough as thinly as possible to allow for maximum chocolate dispersion, but I do think that this strategy resulting in blurring the distinct striations between dough and filling that create a characteristic swirled bun. Chocolate was definitely the dominant flavor in the rolls, eclipsing the cinnamon, though I didn't much mind.

Overall, these babka-inspired buns were a decadent breakfast indulgence, and while I don't think they would be appropriate for regular consumption, from both a caloric and effort-expenditure perspective, I did enjoy the process of making them, and even more the chance to eat them when I was done.

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