Hey guys- I’m here with something really special today that I think you’re gonna love! If you’ve never made a babka before, it’s a bit of a project, and these smaller versions are a little easier to work with, plus you get more crispy crunchy edges!

The best thing about Babkas is that you can really change up the fillings and syrup to taste however you want it to. This is such a yummy combo, but I’ll give you some other options too! Let’s get to it!

How To Make Babka Muffins

We’re starting off with a super simple dough. It comes together quickly in a stand mixer, and you can knead it in the mixer until it becomes smooth and stretchy, about 10-15 minutes. It will look something like this:

Then give it a quick rise. Since we’re at a higher altitude, we only want the dough to rise up by about 1/3 in size, which for me only takes about 30 minutes. Now it’s time to roll out the dough and fill it. Then, you slice the dough into 12 long strips, fold each strip in half, and twist it into a spiral. Then, twist the spiral around itself, creating a little bun shape.

We’re giving the muffins another 20 minute rise while the oven preheats, and then popping them into the oven until golden brown, puffed, and bubbly! Brush the tops with your lemon cardamom syrup right away, and then enjoy the muffins warm. They are super yummy for breakfast literally anytime!

These babies look beautiful, and they taste SO yummy! Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks for Babka Muffins

These are baked in a muffin tin, but it’s more of a bread recipe. Here are my tips and tricks for lovely babka muffins every time!

  • Use a stand mixer if you have one. When you’re working with doughs that have butter and eggs in them, it can be tough to get through the long kneading process by hand. If you have a stand mixer, this is a great time to pull that baby out!
  • If you don’t like cardamom, swap in cinnamon. It will still be a wonderful combo, and an even more classic flavor!
  • Similarly, you can swap in other citrus. Orange and grapefruit would be my choice for swaps in this recipe, and both would work well with cardamom!
  • The pan will look super messy but don’t worry, it comes off very easily with hot water!
  • You can make this recipe into one loaf of babka if you prefer. Simply skip slicing the dough into strips, and instead roll the whole thing up like a cinnamon roll log, slice it length wise, and twist the whole thing together before baking in a loaf pan. It will take more like 55-60 minutes in the oven.
  • I am at about 5,000 ft above sea level and I typically find that people who live between about 3,000 ft and 7,000 ft above sea level do not need to make any adjustments to my recipes!

Enjoy!

Cardamom Lemon Babka Muffins

Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbs very soft butter
  • 3- 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 tbs melted. butter

For the syrup:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

For the dough:

  1. Heat your whole milk in the microwave until it reaches 115 degrees. Stir in the sugar, vanilla extract, and the yeast. Let the mixture sit and bloom for 5-10 minutes, or until it’s bubbly and frothy. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the eggs and soft butter- it will be a bit lumpy, but that’s ok!  Add the yeast mixture into the egg mixture, and stir to combine. Add in 3 cups of flour and the salt, and knead together until a dough forms, using the dough hook on a stand mixer. If the dough is super sticky and wet still, add a few more tablespoons of flour until it’s pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It should be very soft still, but won’t stick to your fingers. Knead the dough for 5-8 minutes, or until it’s very elastic and smooth. Place the dough back in your bowl and cover. Let the dough rise until it’s risen by about 1/3 in size, which takes about 30-45 minutes for me.

For the filling:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cardamom, lemon zest, salt, and melted butter until combined. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle that is about 1/4 inch thick. Spread your filling evenly all over the dough, all the way to the edges. Slice the dough into 12 long strips that are about 1 inch thick. Fold each strip in half with the filling on the inside, and twist it into a spiral. Then, twist the spiral into itself, creating a small roll shape. Place each roll into a muffin tin cup.  Cover it in plastic and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes while you preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the babka for 25-30 minutes, or until deep golden brown and bubbly. The filling will bubble out a little bit, but it washes off very easily so don’t worry! Give the muffins a little twist and lift when they come out of the oven to ensure they don’t stick to the pan.

For the syrup:

  1. In a small sauce pot, stir together the lemon juice, sugar, and salt, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat, and cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the cardamom and salt. When your babka muffins come out of the oven, immediately brush the tops generously with your syrup mixture. Cool the babka muffins for 10-15 minutes in the pan, and then place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling!

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