Super fluffy, soft and delicious cinnamon rolls topped with an irresistible chocolate frosting/icing. Making chocolate cinnamon rolls is a lot easier than you might think! All the hard work is done by the stand mixer so you can focus on the fun parts.
Just like my heavenly treat chocolate brioche babka, the simple yet key technique to fluffy and soft rolls is by kneading the dough for 10 minutes with a stand mixer!
Before we begin, just make sure you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. Without it, it'll be extremely hard to get the cinnamon scrolls perfectly light and fluffy!
- Ground coffee bean (or use instant coffee powder) a little coffee added to the chocolate flavoured frosting/icing just takes it up a notch! You can't really taste the coffee but it just enhances the flavour and somehow makes it richer. Of course, leave it out if caffeine is not part of your diet.
- Milk go for full fat/full cream milk.
- Vanilla essence aside from giving these cinnamon rolls a lovely vanilla aroma, it'll also help enhance the flavours of the other ingredients. Can use vanilla extract or beans (if you're feelin' fancy).
Step by step instructions
Like any yeasty dough type of recipes, you want to firstly, get the yeast going.
Simply combine warm milk, instant yeast and a little sugar. Mix it all up and set aside (covered or uncovered) for about 10 minutes and it'll get all bubbly like picture #1 below.
Once the yeast mixture is ready, whisk in an egg and oil. Then, pour it into the mixing bowl with the rest of the dough ingredients (flour, salt, sugar). Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes and it'll become super stretchy and sticky to the touch. But as you can see in image #4 below, it shouldn't be sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl.
This is the secret technique to fluffy and soft cinnamon rolls! Kneading the dough for 10 minutes with the stand mixer. What this does is helping the gluten in the flour to develop and form structure. Which is what's needed for the rolls to puff up nicely. So don't stop once the dough is formed, keep kneading!
Once the dough has had 1.5 hours to rise, roll it out on a lightly floured (clean!) surface with a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 30cm/12inches by 45cm/18inches. The longer the dough is, the more layers the cinnamon rolls will have.
Evenly spread the cinnamon butter (cinnamon, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla essence) all over, making sure the edges are covered too. Gently but firmly roll the dough up with both hands into one large scroll. Like image #9.
With a dough scraper or a knife, divide the long scroll into 8 equal pieces. An easy trick is by cutting down the middle first and repeat for each half until you've got 8 pieces.
Place the cinnamon rolls inside a lined tray, cover, proof for 30 minutes. It'll puff up and increase by about 50% in size. Bake at 180°/360°C for 23 minutes. The scrolls will puff even bigger in the oven, just like the pictures!
And voila! Big, fluffy, golden and super soft cinnamon rolls! At this stage, they'll taste and smell heavenly. So good.
I don't know about you, but I find watching the dough transform super fascinating. Like, what is this magic?
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the image we all want to see when tearing apart a cinnamon roll. SOOO fluffyyyyyy!
Tips for making this perfect every time
- Use warm milk when adding yeast to it. Not straight out of the fridge! Warm means no hotter than about 43°C/110°F. Warm milk will help activate the yeast and bubbly yeast mixture means easy rising of the dough.
- Bring butter up to room temperature before making the cinnamon butter. Room temperature butter is soft and much easier to mix with. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes beforehand will do the trick!
- Turn the tray of cinnamon rolls after 18 minutes in the oven to help with even browning. This is dependent on your oven (each oven's different) - I find I need to do this with my oven.
- Only spread the cinnamon rolls with icing/frosting once they are cool, at room temperature. Spreading chocolate frosting whilst it is still hot/warm will pretty much 'melt' the frosting and it'll just thin out and drip everywhere.
Good to know (FAQs)
As soon as the cinnamon rolls are iced with the chocolate frosting, pop them straight into an airtight container (or zip lock bags) to keep them from going dry and hard.
They last about 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature. About a week in the fridge and about 6 months in the freezer.
This is because it's nicely hydrated! The dough needs to be well hydrated as this will help make the cinnamon scrolls light, fluffy and soft! Just like my chocolate brioche babka where the dough is well hydrated, making it delicious and soft.
Best way to eat leftovers (if any!)
Like doughnuts, these chocolate cinnamon rolls will start going a little stale after a day or two. Especially because they're homemade. Here's a little tip: when eating the next day or beyond that, microwave them for about 10 seconds (depending on your microwave), uncovered. They'll turn soft again (what stale?), perfect with a cup of tea or coffee!
Aside from watching these golden scrolls transform from dough to perfect deliciousness, I find it equally enjoyable spreading the luxurious chocolate frosting on these babies.
The perfect icing on the top! So easy to make, simple ingredients aaaaand, all the hard work is, once again, done by the stand mixer. Simply put icing sugar, cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and ground coffee powder (or instant coffee powder) into a mixing bowl attached to the stand mixer. Mix on medium speed and add milk, a little at a time, until frosting reaches a thick but spreadable consistency.
Made this Chocolate cinnamon rolls recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Happy baking and eating! - Gen
More yummy baking recipes
Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- Stand mixer
- Rolling pin
- 2¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk warm
- 1 tbsp neutral tasting oil sunflower or canola
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 2½ tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg lightly whisked
- ¼ cup /½ stick unsalted butter soft, at room temperature
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp vanilla essence or vanilla extract
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp ground coffee powder or instant coffee
- 3 tbsp milk
- pinch of salt
Making the dough
- Combine warm milk, instant yeast and ½ tbsp of caster sugar in a measuring jug or bowl. Lightly mix with a spoon, set aside for 10 minutes. (note 1)
- Meanwhile, combine flour, salt and the remaining 2 tbsp of caster sugar in the mixing bowl attached to the stand mixer. Using the dough hook, mix on low for about 30 seconds.
- The yeast mixture should be all bubbly by now. Add egg and oil and whisk with a fork until combined. Pour into the mixing bowl, with the dry ingredients.
- Mix on medium speed until a wet dough has formed. Then, continue to mix for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the dough should be stretchy and sticky to the touch but not sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Place dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic/cling wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm area for about 1.5 hours. (note 2)
Making the cinnamon butter
- Combine all cinnamon butter ingredients and mix with a fork until a smooth paste is formed.
Making the chocolate icing/frosting
- Combine all ingredients except for the milk into the mixing bowl attached to the stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 30 seconds so the ingredients can get to know each other.
- Add milk, 1 tbsp at a time, to the icing mixture whilst mixing on medium speed. Only adding the next tbsp after about 30 seconds of mixing.
- Once all milk has been added, mix for a further 2 minutes. If you find the icing/frosting too thick, add another tbsp of milk to loosen it up. It should be thick but spreadable, not as thick as frosting for cakes.
Baking the cinnamon rolls
- Once the dough has doubled in size, place the dough onto a lightly floured workbench. Roll out into a rectangular shape, about about 30cm/12inches by 45cm/18inches in size.
- Evenly spread cinnamon butter with the back of a spoon all over the dough, including the edges.
- Gently roll dough into a large scroll, starting from the short end.
- Evenly divide the scroll into 8 pieces with a knife or a dough scraper.
- Place onto a lined baking tray, cut side up, cover with a damp towel or cling wrap/plastic. Allow the dough to proof for 30 minutes. It should increase by about 50% in size.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F. Bake for 23 minutes, in the middle rack of the oven, turning the tray with 5 minutes left in baking time for even browning. The cinnamon rolls will puff up even more in the oven.
Icing/frosting the cinnamon rolls
- Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool down to room temperature then generously spread each roll with the chocolate icing/frosting.
- Serve immediately!