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Chocolate Rolls

2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup brewed coffee (90 degrees F)
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

Place the yeast and warm water in a large bowl. Stir with a fork
to dissolve the yeast and allow it to stand for about 3 minutes.
Whisk the unbleached flour, cocoa powder, the remaining 1/3 cup
sugar and the salt together in a medium bowl. Set them aside. Using
your hand, stir the coffee, the egg yolk, and the butter into the
dissolved yeast. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until
a shaggy mass forms and all of the flour is moistened. Move the
dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 7 to 8
minutes, until it is silky smooth and elastic. This dough should
be nice and moist, so add flour sparingly as you work. Shape the
dough into a loose ball cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest
for about 10 minutes to relax the gluten strands. Flatten the dough
and stretch it gently with your fingers to form a rectangle about
an inch thick. Spread the peanut butter chips evenly over the
rectangle. Fold the dough into an envelope and knead gently for 2
to 3 minutes, until the chips are well distributed. The dough should
be soft, smooth, and springy. If the dough resists, let it rest
for 5 minutes and then continue kneading it. Some of the chips may
pop out of the dough, but they can easily be incorporated again
after the first rise when the dough has softened. Shape the dough
into a loose ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to
coat the top of the dough with oil, and cover the bowl tightly with
plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature (75 to 77 degrees F)
until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

Line two 12 by 17-inch baking sheets with parchment paper. Gently
pour the dough onto the floured work surface pressing any loose
chocolate chips into dough. Flour your hands lightly divide the
dough into 12 equal pieces (each weighing about 2 1/2 ounces).
Shape the pieces into rolls and place 6 on each prepared baking
sheet leaving several inches between the rolls so they won't grow
together as they rise. Cover them loosely with oiled plastic wrap
and let them rise at room temperature until doubled in volume,
about 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the bread is proofing make a
cornstarch wash: Put the cold water in a small saucepan and whisk
in the cornstarch. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until it
thickens. Remove from the heat and cover to keep a skin from forming.
Set aside to cool.

About 15 minutes before you're ready to bake, place one oven rack
in the top third of the oven, and another in the bottom third, and
preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. When the buns have doubled, use
a pastry brush to paint them with a thin coating of the cornstarch
wash. Brush gently so you don't deflate them. Place one pan on
each oven rack. Using a plant sprayer, immediately mist the top
and sides of the oven 6 to 8 times and quickly close the oven door.
Repeat this misting procedure two more times at 1-minute intervals.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees
F and rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back to ensure
even baking. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the tops
of the buns feel firm but not hard when you press them slightly,
and the bottoms are very lightly browned. These rolls should have
a thin soft covering, not a hard crunchy crust. Remove from the
oven and use the pastry brush to paint the top of each bun quickly
and evenly with the cornstarch wash. Transfer the rolls to a rack
and allow them to cool before serving.

NOTES: These are best eaten the day they are baked.


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