The responses are beginning to come in and one of the questions was, what is the proper spelling? Both are correct, actually, and even bobka has been used in some places. Babka seems to prevail, though, in terms of the number of citings. Regardless of spelling, though, the feedback has been good and also very helpful to me. The good news is that the recipe seems to mostly work and is fairly easy to do. Here are a few new tips provided by various readers that you might want to try if you do this bread for the holidays:
--Look up Kranz Cake on Google--it uses a fabulous shaping method that really takes advantage of the chocolate veins in the dough. I love how it looks! I understand from one of our testers that this is commonly found in Israel, where he lives.
--A few testers suggested warming and melting the chocolate, cinnamon, and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler, and then letting it cool somewhat so that it is spreadable (some even suggested pouring and spreading the melted mixture onto a big sheet of plastic wrap to make a pliable chocolate sheet, as it cools, that can then be placed on top of the rolled dough. All good suggestions. For those using the food processor method as written in the recipe, the one change I'd now suggest is to leave it out of the refrigerator rather than chilling it. This should make it easier to spread.
--As for shaping, other than the Kranz method, mentioned above, I am grateful for all the methods that have been sent in. I've never seen my coil and press method described anywhere else--I made it up to try to get lots of veins--but if you go to the web and look up babka shaping methods you will see more traditional, and easier, methods. I'd love to know which technique you all decide is your favorite (not just easiest, but also the prettiest).
No new recipes until after Thanksgiving--so keep playing with the ones you have and have a wonderful, and safe, Thanksgiving.