In a large bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), yeast, and salt.
Then, add in water and brown sugar. Using a spatula, fold until mostly combined. Sprinkle a little more flour if needed to not be sticky and form a ball.
Once ball is formed, grease the same bowl mixed in and place the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes in a warm, draft free place and then transfer to fridge and let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Dough should be doubled in size when done. If not, continue to let sit in fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling (make while rising)
In a small saucepan, combine butter and coconut cream. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture is steaming. Add the chocolate and stir until melted, then remove from the heat.
Whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until thickened to a spreadable consistency, about 1 hour.
Once risen, preheat oven for 350 degrees.Lightly flour a surface and roll dough out until approximately 12×15 rectangle.
Brush the filling across the entire surface. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top if desired.
Starting on one long side, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log length wise carefully so there are two long pieces.
Starting at one end, pinch the ends together and then braid the two pieces together and pinch together again at the end.
Carefully place in a well greased loaf pan.*If your babka is not at the top of your pan, cover it and let it rise until it is. If it is, proceed with baking.
Place in oven for 35-40 minutes or until done.
For Simple Syrup
While baking, add sugar and water to a small pot and bring to a boil.
Stir and let boil until all sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
When the bread is done, brush the simple sugar syrup onto the bread. Let cool and serve.
*See post for notes about Top 8 Allergy Free variation**Nutritional facts are just estimates. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates.