Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls, Take Two {and the Blizzard of 2015}

So once upon a time, I made chocolate espresso orange cinnamon blobs.  And I vowed that someday I'd make actual rolls out of them.  Enter Joy the Baker posting a recipe for 1-hour chocolate espresso cinnamon rolls this week, and I was sold.
Now enter the "blizzard of 2015."  First of all, I have no idea if it qualified as an actual blizzard right here, but it was a really intense storm.  I'm pretty sure that there is at least 30 inches of snow (from this storm, and it's still snowing!) out on our back deck.  NES and I went snowshoeing downtown and to the river, and we were still sinking past our knees with snowshoes on!  It was completely exhausting!  It was pretty amazing being out in the storm though.
Second, the blizzard of 2015 was absolutely cause for snow days!  Both NES's job and school were closed today, so we had a {somewhat rare} real joint snow day!

And you know what snow days call for: baking!  So all this goes back to my original statement about cinnamon buns/blobs.

Today I tried Joy the Baker's recipe, because it made fewer, was a little less involved and came together much quicker!
First of all, these were really quick for a yeast bread, and it was awesome.  They turned into dessert cinnamon buns, but they are cinnamon buns I could actually imagine making in the morning for breakfast.  I've never found another recipe I've said that about.

The dough went together pretty easily, and being 5 months wiser, I knew how to test the dough to see if there was enough flour.  NES actually taught me this: bread dough has enough flour when you can pinch a bit between two fingers and roll it around without it sticking much.  It was so nice to be able to roll the dough out without it sticking to everything!

The filling was also easy.  I was a little worried about pouring all the melted butter on the dough, but the filling was more than sufficient to soak it up!

Then, don't forget the chocolate chips like I did!

Joy used a glaze made with extra espresso for the top, but I knew it needed cream cheese frosting.  I mean, what's a cinnamon bun without a slightly tangy, sweet frosting?!

So I used a recipe from Mug Cakes for a small batch of cream cheese frosting, added a little milk and got a glaze.

I finished up the frosting part while NES, JI and MI were outside shoveling, and left some out for them as post-shoveling fuel.  One of the comments was "you should be a doctor of cinnamon buns," so I guess they hit the spot after shoveling through 3 foot + drifts!

So, tomorrow's my next snow day.  I'll have to restrain myself from making them again!

Quick Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Buns
buns from Joy the Baker
frosting adapted from Mug Cakes

1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/2 - 2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk

6 tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
3/4 tsp. cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 chocolate chips

2 tbsp. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. butter, at room temperature
dash of vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
approx. 2 tbsp. milk

Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a small saucepan.  Stir until the butter is completely melted and the sugar dissolves.  Allow the mixture to cool until warm, not hot.

Pour the milk mixture into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top.  Stir, and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until yeast is foamy.

Add 1 1/2 cups of flour to start, salt and egg yolk to the milk and yeast.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until incorporated.  Add extra flour, a tablespoon or two at at time until the dough is no longer sticky.  You may need to use your hands to bring the dough together.  Knead several times.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 10 minutes.

Press the dough onto a lightly floured surface until it is an approximately 9x12 inch rectangle.

Pour about 4 tbsp. of melted butter onto the dough and spread across the dough.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, espresso powder and salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over the melted butter.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, and roll starting with the longer edge into a coil.

Slice the coil into 6 even pieces and place into a 9 inch pie plate greased with the remaining 2 tbsp. of butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the rolls are puffy and golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Allow to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, using a fork, mix the cream cheese and butter together in a small bowl.  Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add the milk, and mix until it reaches a glaze consistency.

Drizzle over the warm rolls and serve.


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