These buns are:
In other words, Perfection!
Looking for something with chocolate? Here it is, two of America’s favorite complementary flavors happily married in a tender, buttery dough that’s smeared with a decadent chocolate filling with a hint of orange, and drizzled with more rich chocolate and sweet caramel. Perfection!
This sweet dough is very quick to put together and mimics the flakiness of a pastry. The secret to these soft, moist buns is cream cheese, butter, and milk giving this dough a tender texture. The dark chocolate filling is quick and easy using chocolate chips with a bit of citrus zest mixed in. Before baking, a brush with an egg wash and a sprinkle with sugar for a caramelized look.
Warm from the oven, a caramel, and chocolate drizzle, both so easy to make. For a quick caramel sauce, using caramel candy squares, or better yet, store-bought will do as well. The chocolate drizzle is even easier, melting chocolate in the microwave for a few seconds and stir. That’s it!
Meet ya in the kitchen
For the Dough:
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons yeast
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
3 1/4 -3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Egg wash for brushing the buns
Sugar for sprinkling on buns
For the Chocolate Filling
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg white
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
Mix the sugar and flour into the egg white until smooth. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat till just simmering. Add the cocoa powder into the milk and stir till cocoa powder is incorporated into the milk. Add the egg white mixture into the cocoa mixture and stir over low heat until it thickens. Add the butter and melted chocolate and stir until incorporated. Let cool, then refrigerated before using.
10 soft caramel candy squares
3 tablespoons heavy cream
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together caramel candies and heavy cream, stirring constantly until melted and smooth. About 10 minutes. While still warm, drizzle using a spoon or fork to drizzle until buns are covered.
To Make the Dough:
Proof the yeast by warming the milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, heat for about 40 seconds or until lukewarm, about 110-115 degrees. Add the yeast, stir and let it sit until yeast foams, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, eggs, zest, salt, and flour. Mix and knead to make a soft dough that bounces back when you give it a poke.
Cover the dough and let it rise 45 to 60 minutes, or until it is puffy-looking and doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the filling: Mix the sugar and flour into the egg white until smooth. Place the milk in a saucepan and heat until just simmering. Add the cocoa powder into the milk and stir till cocoa powder is incorporated into the milk. Add the egg white mixture into the cocoa mixture and stir over low heat until it thickens. Add the butter and melted chocolate and stir until incorporated. Let cool, then refrigerated before using.
Deflate the risen dough and pat it into an 18″ x 13″ rectangle. Spread a thin layer of the chocolate filling (microwaving it briefly if necessary to achieve a spreadable consistency) over the dough leaving a 1/2″ strip all around. Fold the dough lengthwise. Cut into 1″-inch wide strips in the width direction preferably using a pastry cutter or a large sharp knife. Stretch slightly each band, rolling both ends in opposite directions to give the dough a twisted look, and knot or wrap it on itself and end by wedging the tips below. Working the same way with the rest of the strips, let rise about 30 minutes, covering with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.
Uncover the buns and brush with the egg wash (one egg beaten lightly, 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt) and lightly sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake 15-17 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Remove from oven to cool slightly before drizzling the chocolate and caramel on top.
Chocolate Drizzle: In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and stir until combined. Pour into a resealable sandwich bag, snip the tip off one corner of the bag to make a very small opening. Holding the bag about 5 inches above the buns, drizzle the chocolate in a zigzag motion until buns are covered.
- For the dough: Place the milk, cream cheese, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 90 seconds, or until lukewarm. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar, egg, yeast, salt, and flour. Mix and knead to make a soft dough that bounces back when you give it a poke.
- Cover the dough and let rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until almost doubled and puffy-looking.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- To make the filling: Wash and hull the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Spread the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes for fresh, or 40 to 45 minutes if baking from frozen. The berries will collapse somewhat and give up their juices. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on the pan.
- Scrape the berries and any liquid from the pan into a medium bowl. With a fork or potato masher, break up the berries until they’re in 1/4″ to 1/2″ chunks. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar with the ClearJel and cinnamon and sprinkle over the roasted berries. Stir well. Add the orange zest and stir. Set aside.
- To assemble: Turn the risen dough out and pat it into an 18″ x 13″ rectangle. Spread the strawberry filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ strip along one long edge uncovered.
- Starting with the filling-covered long edge, roll the dough into a log, pinching the seam to seal it. If you have time, refrigerate the log for 30 minutes; this will help set the filling, making the log easier to slice.
- Slice the log into 12 equal pieces; a piece of dental floss, looped around the log and ends pulled in opposite directions, makes a nice clean cut. Place the rolls, cut side up, in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
- Cover the pan with plastic and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until puffy-looking. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Uncover the rolls and bake them for 28 to 30 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool to lukewarm on a rack.
- To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth, with no lumps remaining. Add the vanilla, then the milk (or cream) 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the frosting is spreadable but still thick. Spread or pipe over the rolls while they’re still slightly warm.
- Store any leftover rolls, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Freeze for longer storage.