I’ve been on a reading tear lately, and it’s just what I needed. Usually it feels like my mind never gets a chance to focus on one thing, or to just contemplate. I’m constantly jumping from topic to topic, and though technology certainly contributes to this, in the end the responsbility is mine. So I’ve slowed down a bit and decided to concentrate on a few good books. It’s the perfect cure for all of the multi-tasking that seems to take up my day. In the past, I’ve often had a hard time jumping into another book right after reaching the end of a good one. It was like I went through a period of mourning. I’m done doing that. I’m diving right back into the next one, and thankfully I’ve been getting some great recommendations with the help of friends. But, I’d like more! Please share with me any must-reads.
Why am I going off about books right now? Well actually, because these amazing chocolate cinnamon rolls were the result of one of my last reads. The book was ‘The Storyteller’ by Jodi Picoult. It takes place partially in present day and partially during World War II. It’s a wonderful read. The recipe is the one the father (a baker) would lovingly make for his daughter. After reading about the delicious description of the bittersweet chocolate and cinnamon twirled together into a soft roll, I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Luckily for me, there was a recipe at the end of the book. So I made them.
I’m so glad that I did, because my kids absolutely loved them. And chocolate and bread are a perfect combination. This has been a family favorite for some time. These rolls are about to earn the same title. These are a perfect chocolate cinnamon combination, with neither overpowering the other. You may be tempted to chop more chocolate, but don’t. This amount was spot on. I can already imagine snowy winter weekend mornings with the smell of these bittersweet cinnamon rolls wafting through the air, as I sip my coffee and read another incredible book. That is until my kids shout “Mommy!”, and need something. Hope you enjoy the rolls!
The Recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
1/2 cup warm milk, (I used whole) (110°F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus a pinch, granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces), plus extra
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, divided, plus more for pan
1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
coarse sugar (such as turbinado or demerara)
powdered sugar to sprinkle
Pour the milk into a small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Whisk. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Whisk the egg mixture and the yeast mixture together. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a bowl and wooden spoon), combine the flour and salt. Add the egg mixture and beat on low until most of the flour is incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low adding 1 tablespoon of butter at a time until 3 tablespoons of the butter are incorporated. You will knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You may need to stop the machine and remove the dough from around the hook to make sure everything is getting properly incorporated along the way. The dough will be sticky.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel. Set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until the dough doubles in size. About 1 hour. The length of time will depend upon how warm your area is.
Prepare the filling by using a fork to mix the chocolate, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoon of butter and use the fork to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Once the dough has double, roll it out into a 16 x 12 rectangle on a well-floured surface. Sprinkle filling over the dough and roll into a log. You may need to trim the jagged end of the log slightly. Cut the log into 9 equal pieces. Place into a 8 x 8 buttered pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for about 20 minutes.
When the rolls have risen slightly, remove the plastic wrap and mix the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Gently apply the egg wash to the rolls using a pastry brush then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon or more of coarse sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden brown and the center feels set. Cool on a wire rack and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar on top.
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