No-yeast chocolate rolls a quick and tasty twist on an old favorite
Jessica Webster | AnnArbor.com
Good question. Perhaps no one ever talks about chocolate rolls because no one ever thought of them. Or at least I hadn’t until that letter arrived. But once the thought was in my head, I could think of little else.
I decided to take a classic cinnamon roll recipe and replace the luscious cinnamon-butter-brown sugar filling with chocolate. Just using cocoa powder seemed kind of anticlimactic, however. I mean, if you’re going to go chocolate, you might as well go full-throttle, in your face, over-the-top chocolate. So I scaled back the sugar and grabbed a bag of bittersweet chocolate chips. This was going to be good.
After a comically miserable very long night misadventure with some bad yeast (I made two batches, each with 90 minutes of “rising” that never happened before I gave up), I discovered that you could make a nice and quick yeast-free sweet roll. And it’s really good!
If you’ve got a spring form pan, use it. It makes it much easier to free the buns from their cake pan captivity when you’re ready to serve them.
The recipe as written makes a lot of filling. If you want a slightly less chocolatey roll, cut it back to maybe 8 ounces.
I’m giving you a recipe for cream cheese frosting, but the rolls are really very good even without it. I served the rolls with and without the frosting, and got rave reviews each way.
Chocolate Rolls (adapted from momswhothink.com):
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
- 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons, unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan or (even better!) a spring form pan.
Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour; 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter together.
Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until absorbed, about 30 seconds. The dough will look shaggy.
Turn the dough out onto a generously floured counter and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.
Press the dough out into a 9- by 12-inch rectangle using your hands.
Sprinkle the dough evenly with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Press the filling firmly into the dough.
Loosen the dough from the counter using a bench scraper or a metal spatula.
Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. I had to stop a few times to work the dough loose from the cutting board and sprinkle a little more flour.
Pinch the seam to seal. Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice the dough into 1-inch slices.
Nestle the slices in the greased pan.
Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes before frosting with optional cream cheese icing.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 10-ounce bag of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pulse the chocolate, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until the chocolate is finely chopped. Add the butter and continue to pulse until it has been distributed throughout the chocolate mixture. Set aside.
Optional Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon milk
Mix all ingredients until smooth.