Friday, June 20, 2008

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls!

My son, his wife, and my two adorable granddaughters are visiting for the weekend. Sometimes they wake up pretty early. That means everyone is ready for breakfast before grandma has even opened her eyes. So I usually bake an assortment of breakfast breads to have available. Of course, I'll make my usual bran muffins and scones. And I'll add a banana bread. But my big treat, that I only make when they're visiting, is cinnamon rolls.

Lately I've been using Ann T.'s recipe; she's a member of the Cooking Forum. The recipe makes eight jumbo size rolls, but I usually make 12 rolls. I like the filling because it has flour in it and it seems a bit more substantial and less sweet than just the butter and cinnamon sugar fillings. I've never liked the gooey, sickeningly sweet white icing on cinnamon rolls, so my unique twist is to sprinkle the rolls with a crumb topping. But this time I think I may have outdone myself.

A few weeks ago I noticed an ad in the newspaper for Cost Plus World Market chocolate spreads. I figured they were similar to Nutella. I'm not crazy about Nutella; it's too sweet and milky, and I can't really taste the chocolate. The thing that caught my eye about the World Market spreads is that one of them was dark chocolate. Perhaps that spread would actually taste chocolaty. So, of course, I had to get some, and I wasn't disappointed. The spread has a pretty decent dark chocolate taste, and it is not overly sweet. After devouring a couple of spoonfuls, I stuck it in a hidden place in the fridge so neither my husband nor I would be tempted to snitch tastes.

Fast forward to the cinnamon rolls. I remembered the dark chocolate spread and decided to add a layer along with the cinnamon filling. Since there was no neat way to spread the chocolate on the soft unbaked dough, I just stuck my fingers in the jar and smeared the dough with the spread. Boy, was that fun! Just like finger painting. The only difference was that I got to lick my fingers when I was finally all done.

This batch of rolls turned out to be a big hit. I'm sure glad the recipe didn't make more than 12, though. We certainly didn't need to eat more! Here is Ann's original recipe and my notes:

Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
Ann T from GardenWeb's Cooking Forum/Joy of Baking
(Printable Recipe)

4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2-1/2 cups all purpose and 2 cups white whole wheat)
1 Package active dry yeast (I used only 1-1/2 tsp.)
1 Cup milk
1/3 Cup butter (I used unsalted butter)
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt (I used 1/4 tsp.)
3 eggs
(I added a tsp. of vanilla extract)

3/4 Cup packed brown sugar (I used closer to 1/2 cup)
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter (I used unsalted butter)
1/2 Cup light raisins (optional) 
Heavy cream or half-and-half

Cream Cheese Icing: (I did not use)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup cream cheese

Cream together and add enough icing/powder sugar to make a creamy icing.

Powdered Sugar Glaze: (I did not use)
In a bowl stir together 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and enough half and half (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make the glaze thin enough to drizzle over cinnamon rolls.

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour and the yeast.

In a small saucepan heat the milk, the 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt just till warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees) and butter is almost melted, stirring constantly. Add to flour mixture. Add eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups flour as you can.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning once. Cover; let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours).

For filling, combine brown sugar, the 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 inch square ( I rolled it into an 18 x 12 inch rectangle). Sprinkle filling over dough square (I smeared the dark chocolate spread onto the dough before sprinkling on the filling); top with raisins (if desired) . Roll up jelly-roll style; pinch edges to seal. Slice roll into eight 1 1/2 inch pieces (I cut 12 pieces). Arrange dough pieces, cut side up, in a greased 12 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Cover dough loosely with clear plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise. (I brushed the roll tops with cream and then sprinkled them generously with the crumb mixture, pressing down slightly)

Refrigerate dough for 2 to 24 hours. Uncover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (If you are making the cinnamon rolls immediately, don’t chill dough. Instead, cover loosely, let dough rise in a warm place till nearly double, about 45 minutes.) Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Brush dough with a half-and-half.

Bake in a 375 degree oven to 25 to 30 minutes or till light brown. If necessary to prevent overbrowning, cover rolls loosely with foil the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking.

Remove rolls from oven. Brush again with half-and-half. Cool 5 minutes. Invert onto a baking rack and invert again onto a plate. Drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze or frost with cream cheese frosting. (I just left the baked rolls in the pan) Serve warm. Makes 8 rolls.

Crumb Topping
1 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar (I only used 3/4 cup)
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I omitted)


OhioMom said...

WAHHHH ... I didn't bake today, and these look so good, like the idea of a crumb topping.

Hope you have fun with your grandbabies :)

shambo said...

We had a really good visit, but this "old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be." I've had a really hard time getting my energy back -- the sheets from the guests rooms are washed but still not on the beds!

OhioMom said...

LOL Sue we had that energy once, when our kids were little we were .. ahem .. a wee bit younger :)