The last week or so has been physically and emotionally exhausting. My nerves are frazzled, my energy is low, and my patience and good nature is wearing a bit thin. Even my wit and sarcasm are a little off. This usually happens during the holidays, but with the death of a loved one, fatigue has shown up a bit earlier than usual. So, after a week that has seemed like a bit of a blur, I found myself standing in the kitchen on this dreary Sunday morning needing a good dose of comfort.
Comfort for me, comes in pretty dishes full of carbs and calories and there is really is no better way to achieve ultimate comfort than in the soft, sweet folds of yeast bread. So this morning I hiked up my sweatpants and pulled back my unbrushed hair and dug out my big bag of flour. First, I started with a pretty standard yeast bread. A recipe that you can find some variation of pretty readily and then I went from there. Christmas morning will be here before you know it and cinnamon rolls are always a crowd favorite for that special morning, so I thought I should practice. And if cinnamon rolls are good, CHOCOLATE cinnamon rolls must be better! And with chocolate chips! And nuts! And chocolate sauce!
I was liking where this was headed…
Then, a knead, and a rise, and roll later and I had one very yummy dose of comfort on my kitchen counter.
- 2 c. milk
- 1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups of flour divided
- 2 packages of active dry yeast
- 2 t. salt
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 recipe basic yeast bread
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 T cocoa, divided
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 6 T melted butter
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup milk
- For the dough: Heat the milk and butter over low heat in a small saucepan until butter is melted. Set aside and let cool to about 120 degrees.
- Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk. Beat in the milk mixture and then the eggs (do the milk before the eggs so that the eggs won't cook). Continue to beat for another 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- For rolls: Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured board. Cut the dough in half and set one half aside. Roll the other half into about a 20x15 rectangle.
- Brush one side of the dough with melted butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border.In a bowl, mix together the sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over the melted butter. Top with half of the chocolate chips and nuts. Starting with the short edge, loosely roll the dough, jelly-roll style. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces and place, cut side up into a greased baking dish.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes ( or put them in the fridge to bake in the morning). Preheat the oven to 375 and bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Mix powdered sugar, remaining cocoa, and milk together until well combined. Drizzle over the top of the rolls and serve!