Chocolate Orange Cinnamon Rolls

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Chocolate / Fruit

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It’s been well documented that fruit and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations.  And this past weekend, I was in dire need of something to lift my spirits.  Because, guys, this weather.  I can’t.  I am SO over it.  So, since the weather continue to refuses to cooperate I dedicated this weekends baking project to me, from me.  It’s almost like when you get to buy yourself a birthday present for yourself (every year, without fail).  It always ends up being your favorite.  And these, these are full of orange zest, dark chocolate, cream cheese and just the right amount of indulgence.

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Cinnamon rolls are one of those great things we’ve somehow tricked ourselves into somehow making socially acceptable for breakfast.  And, I’m not mad about it.  And these  are really just the perfect combination of chocolate, orange and cinnamon-gooey goodness.  Also, for those of you that are a bit wary to bake with yeast, cinnamon rolls are the perfect introduction.  The dough comes together easily in your mixer, it can be refrigerated after rolled out and simply popped in the oven come morning.  Haven’t I said enough?  Go forth and bake, I promise you won’t regret and I challenge you to eat just one.

*recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (to be used in dough and filling, below)
3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon oil for bowl

Filling:
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) butter
3/4 cup (190 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup (or more) dark chocolate chips
Orange zest leftover from above
Pinch of salt

Icing:
2 tablespoons (55 ml) orange juice
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
1/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) cream cheese

Make the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling). Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl (I usually scrape my dough briefly onto the counter, oil the mixing bowl, and scrape the dough back into it) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours  (if it’s still cold, like in my house I put the bowl in the oven on ‘warm’ with the oven door cracked for the last hour)

[Don’t have a stand mixer? Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring and beating it about in a large bowl for several minutes, until it comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead it for another 5 minutes. It will stick, but don’t worry. Just scrape everything up and into the oiled bowl when it’s time to let it rise.]

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set it aside.  Combine the cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.

Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. (It’s okay if it goes longer/thinner.) Brush the dough with the melted butter. Combine the Sprinkle it with the brown sugar/cinnamon/salt mixture. Scatter the chocolate chips over it, then the remaining orange zest.

Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours.  Or, if you want them for dessert that evening let rise for another 45 minutes.

The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 190 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the orange juice, milk, cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Spread a little on each bun, or drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately.

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