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Is there anything better than the smell of cinnamon wafting through your house on a cold, wintry morning? I think not! Oh wait…how about some ooey, gooey chocolate to go with it? If you’re like me, you can never get enough of either. And because nothing says love, joy and peace like cinnamon rolls (well almost nothing) I just had to put them all together in one celestial being!
Now I did get up pretty early to start this transcendent creation, around 5 a.m., but it was totally worth it! With a little trial and error, and fuzzy recollections of some chemistry lessons, I got there. So even at 5 a.m., after my precious, bigger than my head cup of coffee, I arrived at Cinnamon Chocolate Station….all aboard! Okay, maybe I need decaf.
You want to start with room temperature ingredients if you can. Butter usually takes at least a half hour to soften, depending on the temperature of our kitchen, and eggs take from 20 minutes, but never leave eggs out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.
So let’s put on our cocoa hats and get started!
First we put our milk in a pan with our butter and shortening to just get warm and cozy. No boiling please!! Just easy melting…adding the sugar.
Get your dry ingredients ( 2 cups flour, cocoa and salt) together in a large bowl. And “proof” your yeast! Which means sprinkle on top of your small bowl of warm water, add the teaspoon of sugar and think sweet thoughts while you wait five minutes for it to get all bubbly.
I like to add the yeast mixture to the cooled, but still warm milk mixture and add that to dry ingredients, giving it a good beat-down! Please DO NOT add your beaten eggs all at once, like I did the first time, just add them a little at a time!
It should look like this at this stage:
Don’t worry, I know it looks a little gooey, but you’ll be adding more flour later. Now here’s the recipe and by all that is holy, your cinnamon rolls will be warm and delicious and true chocolate love will be yours!
Celestial Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 3/4-3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 warm water (not over 80 degrees)
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. instant dry yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. salted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. milk
For the Dough:
Warm the milk , the 1/4 cup butter, and shortening in a small saucepan on very low heat, watching carefully, just until butter and shortening has melted. Off the heat, add the 1/2 cup sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
In small bowl put in warm water, then sprinkle on yeast and add the 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir once or twice, then let set (untouched) for 5 minutes until bubbly.
In large bowl combine 2 cups all purpose flour, the 1/3 cup cocoa and salt.
Making sure the milk mixture is just warm to the touch, add the yeast mixture to it and stir. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir vigorously.
In small bowl beat eggs just to combine, then add a little at a time to the dough beating after each addition. Don’t be afraid to stir the dickens out of your dough–you want to get a “rise” out of your gluten!
Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise, until doubled, about 1-2 hours. At this point, if you prefer to start the day before, you can cover with wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove plastic wrap and give your dough a punch in the face to release some air. Add about a 1/2 cup flour and stir it in—develop those arm muscles! Now you need to knead! Turn out your dough onto a floured board and knead with the heel of your hand, for about 5 minutes, adding just a little flour at a time, until it is just a little sticky. If you add too much flour, your rolls may be dry. Put your dough into a clean, slightly oiled bowl, cover again and let rise again until doubled, about 1-2 hours.
Remove your dough from the bowl and turn out onto a board and knead just a couple of minutes to get it back into shape.
Now, instead of flouring your board with flour, for the final rolling out stage, use a little cocoa powder on your board to keep the dough from sticking. (Cocoa because it’s chocolate dough!) Roll out with a rolling pin until you have a large rectangle, approximately 18″ x 8″.
For the filling:
Spread the 1/3 cup softened butter gently on the rolled out dough. Combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar with the 2 Tbls. of cinnamon and sprinkle generously over the butter. Starting with the long side of the rectangle , roll up the dough, then cut across, making 1″slices of cinnamon goodness, and placing your rolls on a small cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
And people, we must rise again!! Okay, just your rolls, but never fear, this is the last rising. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
Now take your rolls, don’t forget to remove the plastic wrap, and place rolls in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-2o minutes. Keep watch because it’s hard to see when chocolate is burning, so check the bottom of your buns!
For the Icing:
In small bowl mix together powdered sugar, the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and the 1 teaspoon cocoa powder. Stir in the 2 Tbls. softened butter (as best you can-will be lumpy). Stir in the vanilla and 2-3 Tbls. of milk, depending on how thick you like your icing. I used about 2 and 1/2 Tbls. for mine. Stir until smooth.
Spread icing on rolls while they are still warm, but not hot.
Makes 10-12 rolls.
Results may vary.