I have a great standard cinnamon roll recipe that I love. It is so good and really easy to make. But I am never satisfied with making the same thing over and over. So I have been experimenting with different fillings, different icings, etc. And while I have been working on these cinnamon rolls, I had an amazing idea. What if instead of using cinnamon in the filling, I used cocoa powder? It seemed just crazy enough to be awesome. So I whipped up a few more batches of cinnamon roll dough in the name of experimenting (shucks!) and tried my hand at making chocolate rolls. And I have a winner!
In theory, this idea is pretty simple. I could have just used my normal filling recipe but replaced the cinnamon with cocoa powder. But I did have some concerns. Would the cocoa powder integrate with the filling like cinnamon does? Would it be gritty? Would it be too chocolaty? Not chocolaty enough? Would it work at all?
Fortunately (or unfortunately), it only took me two tries to find a ratio that was amazing! The first time I tried it, I melted the butter and stirred in the cocoa powder hoping to make a good mixture to ensure that the cocoa powder wouldn't stand out in the finished product. The only problem with that was that the melted butter/cocoa/sugar mixture just oozed out of the dough while I was rolling it. I think half of the filling ended up on my counter top. Not good!So the next time I made a similar filling, but just softened the butter and stirred in the cocoa and sugar. I also used a different mixture of sugars than I do in my regular cinnamon rolls. This time the filling stayed where I wanted it to, for the most part. And during baking, the butter melted anyway and the cocoa powder still dissolved in the filling. And these rolls were super delicious!
Now I just had to think about the icing. My regular cinnamon rolls have a yummy maple icing. This is great with cinnamon, but wasn't going to do it with chocolate. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that the only logical topping for a chocolate roll was peanut butter glaze. Duh! Luckily, I already have a recipe for peanut butter glaze that I have used to top my chocolate waffles (try these if you haven't!).
So in my final test, I whipped up some easy to make peanut butter glaze, drizzled it over a warm batch of chocolate rolls, and dug in. I found myself in chocolate/bread/peanut butter bliss! These are seriously good! I tested them on my husband. He loved them. I tested them on some friends. They loved them. I tested them on myself (multiple times). I loved them. The bottom line is that everyone loves these delicious chocolate rolls. You will too!
Chocolate Rolls with Peanut Butter Glaze
For the dough:
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Tbsp salt
To make the dough:
Heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a stockpot over medium heat and heat until mixture reaches 100-110 degrees (can also be done in microwave). Do not allow the mixture to boil.
Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute. Add 4 cups of flour. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.
Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.
For the filling:
2 Tbsp butter (for spreading)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter, softened
To make the filling, stir cocoa powder, sugars, and salt. Add vanilla and 2 Tbsp softened butter. Stir until well combined.
To assemble the rolls: On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 20x12 inches. Evenly spread 2 tablespoons margarine or butter over the surface of the dough. Spread chocolate filling evenly over surface.
Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. Cut into 1 inch slices (I like to use dental floss for this!). One log will make about 12 rolls.
Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sliced rolls into prepared pan.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the counter-top for 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 13-17 minutes, until golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.
For the glaze:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted.
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar
Microwave peanut butter until softened. Stir in melted butter until smooth. Whisk in powdered sugar until smooth and desired consistency is reached.
While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle glaze over the top.
Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cook's and Cook's Country
Yield: 12 rolls.