Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls Save a Cookbook

chocolate_cinnamon_rolls_008.jpgI'm still rolling through my office, trying to organize every inch of it, with the help of my friend, the professional organizer. We're making great progress. Tops of my desks have stayed mostly clear. My files are filling up. I'm finally seeing blank space on the shelves in my storage closet, the result of some purging.

There is much more to do before the job is done. My organizer strongly suggests I get my cookbook collection all in one place and that place should be my office. Cookbooks live on shelves in the storage closet in my office, on shelves and in a bookcase in an extra bedroom, in a pile next to my bed and a few on the ottoman in the living room. I shudder when I think of consolidating this enormous number of books into one space in my office. I fear the "organizer" will tell me to start choosing cookbooks to put in a "give-away box."

I started looking through some of the cookbooks lined up on my shelves. I admit there are many church and community cookbooks I've collected over the years that I haven't cracked open in a long time. I started paging through a few. How can I get rid of a cookbook that has a recipe for Root Beer Caramel Rolls? I must keep the book with the recipe for Lemon Angel Halos. And then there is the book with a recipe for Rice Pudding. I added a note on that page when I prepared it on April 25, 1994 that says my husband thinks this is the best rice pudding he's ever had. And I don't think I've thought about that recipe since April 25, 1994. But now I've got the page marked with a sticky note. And then I came upon a recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls in a church cookbook from Tulsa, Oklahoma. It must be a book I picked up at a second=hand store or a garage sale. The recipe was contributed by Dolores Wilson. Thank you, Dolores, wherever you are.

I made the rolls the same day. I have a weakness for the combination of chocolate and cinnamon. Somewhere in my past, there was a deep dark chocolate cinnamon roll with a thick slather of chocolate frosting on the top. I've never forgotten that delicous sweet roll. The possibility of recreating that sweet treat using a recipe from this book that I'd ignored for years was enough to get me right into the kitchen.

The rolls were still warm from the oven when I drizzled them with sweet white glaze. The sugar-cinnamon filling was melted into the spirals of softness. Crunchy bits of pecans stuck to each chubby chocolate roll of dough. Delicious.

Don't let this yeast dough intimidate you. It's not difficult to mix up and almost no kneading is required. Just follow the directions Dolores shares with her recipe and you will wind up with nine beautiful Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls.

These Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls kept the church cookbook from Tulsa on my shelf. Who knows what other great recipes are held within its pages?

Oh, how am I ever going to get rid of any cookbooks?


Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

(contributed by Dolores Wilson to Madalene Cooks--50 Years of Good Taste)

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup cocoa 2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2½ tablespoons milk

Combine yeast and warm water in a 2-cup liquid measure. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Combine yeast mixture, 1/4 cup butter, salt, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, cocoa and 1 cup flour in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place free from drafts, 50 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly flourd surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Roll dough into a 12- x 9-inch rectangle, positioning a short side nearest you. Spread 1 tablespoon butter over dough. Combine cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle over butter. Sprinkle pecans over cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough, starting at short side, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seams to seal. Slice dough into 9 rolls. Place rolls on a greased baking sheet. Cover. Let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 15 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar and milk, stirring until blended. Drizzle hot rolls with powdered sugar glaze. (To make the glazing easy, simply place glaze in a heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag, and seal securely. Then snip off one tiny corner of the bag and pipe glaze over rolls. Makes 9 rolls.


Sue Doeden is a popular cooking instructor, food writer and integrative nutrition health coach. She is the host of Good Food, Good Life 365 on Lakeland Public Television. Her own hives full of hardworking bees and her love of honey led to the creation of her recently published cookbook, Homemade with Honey.