These Super Soft Chocolate Espresso Rolls are the version of cinnamon rolls made for chocolate lovers: unbelievably pillowy, moist bread filled with a decadent dark chocolate espresso filling and covered in espresso icing.
When I tried these rolls, I was spellbound for at least a minute (I have the video if anyone wants it). They are, hands down, one of the best desserts I have EVER eaten. And like most of my recipes, this recipe is simple and fuss free, and these rolls can be made without a mixer! And with that, I hope I have convinced you to give this recipe a go.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe (as always, I must remind you to please scroll down to the recipe card for the quantities):
- Warm whole milk; ideally between 100-110F. The temperature of the milk is important to activate the yeast
- Active dry yeast - you can also use instant yeast. In that case, skip the step of resting the milk, yeast and sugar and simply combine all ingredients and knead
- All purpose flour
- Unsalted butter, softened - I leave the butter outside for around 1 hour
Chocolate Espresso filling:
- Dark or semi sweet chocolate depending on how dark you like your chocolate. You can also use milk if you want, but in that case you may need to reduce the sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Heavy cream (use any kind of cream you have access to)
- Brown or white sugar
- Cocoa powder
- Instant coffee - you want the kind of coffee that dissolves in water; I recommend Nescafe
- Heavy cream - I love to drench any kind of rolls in heavy cream right before baking as it makes them ultra soft and moist!
- Icing sugar
- Instant coffee
- Cream or milk
HOW TO MAKE SUPER SOFT CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO ROLLS
First, watch this short video in which I show how to make these rolls:
Now, let's go through the steps one by one:
1. Knead the dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer (or regular bowl), add the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Whisk and wait for 10 minutes or until the mixture looks frothy. This step is not needed if you are using instant yeast.
Add the remaining ingredients for the dough, and knead until the dough is smooth, soft and stretchy. There are two ways you can do this:
Option 1: Kneading with a stand mixer
Use the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer (this is the one I use) and knead on medium high speed for 7-10 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl, becomes smooth to touch (instead of sticky), and is very stretchy. You should be able to pull it into a thin sheet without it breaking ("window pane test").
Option 2: Kneading by hand
First, use a large wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until they start to form a dough. Then, lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Using clean hands, start working the dough in a "push, pull" motion.
Now, here's the deal: this WILL be a sticky mess. The dough has a lot of liquid content (which is how the rolls become so soft), but don't be discouraged and don't add more flour. Turn on your favorite show / podcast, and keep kneading the dough for a good 8-10 minutes.
A scraper like this one will be very useful in pulling the dough off the surface and keeping things clean. As you knead, the flour will absorb more liquid, develop more gluten, and become stretchy and smooth.
You will know the dough is done when it doesn't stick to your hands anymore (you will have to clean your hands first), is very soft, and very stretchy.
2. Proof the dough
This is the first rise. Transfer the dough to a clean, oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and rest for ~60-90 minutes in a warm place. I like to place it in the oven with the oven light turned on (the oven is off, obviously). It should double in size, and, when poked gently, spring back part of the way.
3. Prepare the chocolate espresso filling
In the meanwhile, for the filling, add the butter, cream, coffee and sugar to a nonstick saucepan. Place on medium low heat and stir until everything is melted. Then add the chocolate (chips or chopped) and stir until the chocolate has melted. Be careful not to overheat this mixture as that can cause chocolate to seize up and split. Once you have a smooth mixture, let it rest and cool down.
Important note: the amount of sugar, coffee, and cream in this filling is flexible and dependent on your preference. Start with a smaller amount of sugar and coffee, taste and add more if you'd like. If the mixture looks too thick, add more cream. The ending result should be a thick sauce which will become spreadable once it cools down.
4. Shape the Chocolate Espresso Rolls
Once the dough has risen and the filling has cooled, it is time to assemble!
Prepare a baking pan or dish by brushing butter on it. I used a 7x11" ceramic dish, but this recipe also works well with an eighth sheet pan.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out into a 12x14" rectangle. The dough should be so soft that it should be really easy to roll it out and shape it with your hands so it is as neat of a rectangle as possible.
Spread the chocolate espresso filling as evenly as possible using an offset spatula.
Then, divide the rectangle into 6 strips, each strip 2x14". Roll each strip individually into rolls, and place them in the dish / pan you are using to bake.
I love to use this method of dividing into strips and rolling individually as opposed to rolling up the whole rectangle and then cutting into individual rolls using a knife or floss. It makes perfectly shaped rolls with little to no mess. Seriously, try it and you will be convinced!
5. Allow time for a second rise
Place the shaped rolls in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until they look puffed up. This is called the second proof.
In the last 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 375F (the rolls should not be in the oven, of course).
6. Time to bake!
Drench the chocolate espresso rolls in heavy cream, trying to pour it evenly on top of the rolls. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the rolls have a light golden color on them.
7. Ice them up!
Prepare the quick coffee icing by mixing the icing sugar, instant coffee and cream or milk until a smooth icing is formed. You can easily adjust the thickness to your liking by adjusting the amount of cream added.
Cover the rolls with icing while they are still warm.
8. Serve & enjoy!
It is time to serve the warm rolls, dive in, and go to chocolate heaven!
If you like this recipe, you should check out my other bread recipes too!!! Here are my favorites:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you don't consume eggs, you can replace the egg in the dough with ¼ cup of full fat yogurt.
Yes, you can. If using instant yeast, just combine all ingredients of the dough and knead.
If you don't like dark chocolate, you can use milk chocolate but then reduce the amount of sugar in the filling according to your taste.
No, you can also knead this dough by hand. Read my tips above in this blog post.
You can store these rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Any longer than that, store them in the fridge and microwave for 10-15 seconds before enjoying.
Yes! If you do, use a 9x13" pan to bake them.
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