Everyone has a cooking hero… or at least, I know I do. I have several of them actually. My mother and grandmother, of course, and several amazing food bloggers like Pioneer Woman, BrownEyedBaker, PinkKitchen, Kitchen La Boheme to mention a few. But I have to admit, Deb at Smitten Kitchen is someone I look up to like a little kid might a magician. For those of you who confess to drooling over the things I post here, I confess to doing the same while looking at her site… and then I do whatever I can to make some for me to eat.
She is the genius behind these chocolate buns. I’m just the docile student here, and tried it egg-less.
That said, this is a bit of work for those of you who do not find the morning as pleasant as I do. I recommend doing these the evening before, refrigerating the raw rolls over-night, and baking them in the morning.
And what a happy morning it will become!
Makes 12 chocolate twirls
1/2 cup milk – try not to use skim
1/4 cup plus a pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 rounded tablespoon sour cream (or yogurt)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly melted
Heat milk and pinch of sugar to lukewarm (about 112ºF). If you don’t have a thermometer, just make sure milk isn’t hot to touch.
Add in yeast and let it foam for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together sour cream (or yogurt) and sugar.
Add in milk and yeast. Whisk until well combined.
In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.
Gently add in milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir until well combined.
Add in melted butter, and stir with a wooden spoon for at least 8 minutes until all the butter is well incorporated into dough. If you have a KitchenAid (oh, you’re SO LUCKY), just use the dough hook for this part.
Dough will be sticky. Leave in bowl, cover it with a towel and let it rise at room temperature for one hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound (225 grams) semisweet (or dark) chocolate
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
Break chocolate (if using bars) into large pieces and place in food processor with sugar, cinnamon (if using) and salt.
Pulse until chocolate is fine, almost powdery.
Add butter and pulse until well combined.
12 cup muffin pan
Butter the muffin pan well. Don’t skimp… you don’t want the buns sticking to the pan!
Flour the counter well. This is important. Uncover the dough and deflate it gently with floured fingers. Let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes.
Start rolling out a rectangle, sprinkling flour on top as necessary.
Make a rectangle that is at least 12 inches across, and as long as you can get it to be length-wise. I think mine was 24 inches. It should also be at least 1/8 inch thick.
Sprinkle chocolate filling evenly over dough.
Carefully start rolling the rectangle with floured fingers. I rolled away from me, but you can roll it towards you if it’s easier.
Seal well at the end by gently pressing at the seam.
Using a serrated knife and ruler, cut 1-inch rolls.
Place them in buttered muffin cups.
Cover loosely with saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. (At this point you can leave them over-night and bake in the morning.) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350ºF.
Bake on middle rack for 20 -25 minutes, or until tops are browned.
Cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove them with a knife… if you can wait that long!