In a small bowl mix 2 TBSP sugar, half of the milk and yeast. Cover and wait for it to activate and start foaming.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, vanilla seeds (or extract), ground cardamom and sugar at low speed to combine all the ingredients. Add the rest of the milk and melted butter and mix until the dough comes together. Lastly, add activated yeast. Continue mixing until a soft smooth dough forms. You can do this by hand, as well. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes or until double the size.
Melt both milk and semi-sweet chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
Add almond butter, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
Roll out the dough to about 20x50cm (4x10inch) or 2-3 mm thick.
Spread over the filling. Sprinkle cranberries on top if you wish. Roll along the ling edge and cut in half to get two rolls of the same length.
Cut each roll in half lengthwise and swirl one half over the other (see photos above).
Place the two babkas into two bread tins lined with baking paper and lightly brush with milk (or butter or egg wash). Bake in the preheated oven until deeply golden and puffy, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Recipe by Anja Burgar | Use your Noodles | www.useyournoodles.eu