February 6, 2014

everything is going to be all right gooey chocolate pull apart rolls


2014 has started off on a good note. I can see great possibilities and changes for this new year - and hopefully a bit of luck coming my way! For me and many others, this year started off with the fiercest cold snap that I have felt in years. Due to excessive snow and a lack of competence in the Toronto airport, I was forced to pull out all of my patience and humor in life's silly and unforeseen circumstances. Once I got past all of the delays and weather scares, and was actually able to get on a flight back home, I arrived in Seattle, where the air is as pure as it gets.

Brent and I have spent many nights this year curled up on the couch, trying to process plans for the future, which is so hard when typically we can't see past today. We feel as though the next stage of our life, where we want to call home, is here in Seattle. Despite our current green card uncertainties and the long commute to our families, we have weighed the pros and cons and have decided that Seattle is is where we'll stay. We are excited to make that next step in our life. One that involves cutting grass, patching holes, furniture shopping, and creating a little space that is for us. Last week we were approved for a mortgage (which is an utterly terrifying experience). It involved dealing with a smarmy business banker trying to get us to over extend into our retirement savings, to actually writing numbers down on paper. It seemed all so real and overwhelming. It was, however, somewhat reassuring to know that interest rates are at the lowest they've been in a while, and tax benefits do sound like a good thing. We are a little terrified after meeting with our real estate agent, who tells us that many other people here in Seattle all have the same ideas as we do for 2014. I'm thinking that this year will be filled with a lot of uncertainties, and a true test of our patience and determination, but utterly exciting at the same time.

So when the day ends with a frenzied bidding war, and that dream house goes to another bidder for well over asking price, I will need to find solace and reassurance in life's little beauties, and it will likely be done through a hefty supply of butter and flour. I call this recipe the 'everything is going to be all right gooey chocolate pull apart rolls'. There is nothing serious about it, nor should there be. Sweet dough is one of the most satisfyingly easy doughs to make. The whole process is as relaxed as they come.  You mix a few ingredients, then you let it rise. You roll and press, and then another rise. It gives you a forced opportunity to takes things easy in between each step.

I've made this recipe with both dark and milk chocolate. Each is unique in flavor, and really, it's up to you to choose your favorite. Once you've rolled out the dough into a tight tube, and carefully sliced it into perfectly beautiful rounds, your natural instinct is going to be to place them neatly and tightly into a large pan, where they can rise and puff into each other. Resist this urge, and surrender to chaos. It's cathartic to layer the rounds into the pan in a messy fashion. They pile on top of one another, defying the rules of tradition. Once the dough has a second rise, the messy rounds all form into one another, and as they bake they'll further expand to fill the empty spaces in the pan. As soon as you smell the sugars browning, you'll know that magic is happening inside that tiny oven.





One of my favorite things about this dish is the messiness in it all. We tend to be so proper around food here in North America. All of the proper etiquette, the fancy cutlery, the different forks for each stage of the meal. It just seems so unnecessary. The most exhilarating food related experience I can remember was in Malaysia, at a small family owned restaurant with just a few tables and chairs, and only a handful of Malaysian and Indian dishes on the menu. Lacking the ability to speak the local language, I walked in with a nervousness so obvious that the owner grabbed my hand, sat me at a table, and signed that everything would be okay. He laid a giant banana leaf on the table, followed by scoops from three different curries and a dosa, with plenty of dipping sauces. I looked around at the locals, and they looked back with curiosity. They were all eating with their right hand, and I quickly realized that there was no cutlery. This was something out of my comfort level. I reached down to tear off some dosa and scoop up some curry, and it was one of the most liberating feelings ever. This recipe was half inspired by my fond memories of eating with my hands, and half inspired by the need and desire to comfort myself in sweet baked goods, as we are in the thick of winter.





CHOCOLATE PULL APART ROLLS 
recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine
makes 1 loaf 

1 cup whole milk
1 packet or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup + 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
4 oz unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 oz butter, room temperature
6 oz chocolate (dark or milk), chopped

icing
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 cup heavy cream
zest from 1 orange (optional)




In a small saucepan, heat the milk to 100ºF on low heat. Remove from the stove and sprinkle in the yeast and 1/4 tsp sugar (do not stir). Let it sit until the yeast foams (5 minutes). Whisk in the melted butter and egg yolk.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and stir. Make a well in the flour and add the wet ingredients. With the dough hook set to low, combine the ingredients, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture becomes sticky. Turn the speed to medium and kneed for 6 minutes until the dough forms a ball around the dough hook. If this does not happen by 5 minutes, add 1 - 2 tbsp of flour until it does. Remove the dough from the bowl, and form it into a ball. Rub the inside of a large bowl with butter and then roll the dough in the bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1 hour and 15 minutes to let the dough double in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it into a large rectangle. Spread 3 oz of butter on the dough leaving a half inch border on all four sides. Sprinkle the chocolate onto the dough, making sure to leave the half inch border. With the dough in front of you, the longest side placed horizontally, begin by rolling the dough tightly from the bottom to the top. Once you have reached the top, spread a small dap of water on the top 1/2 inch border and then seal. Pinch the ends tight, and then with a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 1 inch rounds.

Grease a loaf pan and then place the dough rounds into the pan in a messy fashion. The messier they are, the prettier it will look once baked. Cover with a cloth and let double in size for 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Place the chocolate rolls into the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until they are brown on top and soft on the inside. Remove from the oven.

With a hand mixer, beat 1/4 cup of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar until combined. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 - 1 cup of heavy cream, until the icing has reached a pourable consistency. Stir in the zest from one orange.

Remove the chocolate rolls from the loaf pan and drizzle with the icing. Serve warm.



36 comments:

  1. OMG OMG OMG these rolls. OMG OMG OMG. - Michelle @ Hummingbird High

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  2. Wow, these look insane! I really need to make some this weekend for brunch. Thanks for sharing.

    FoodNerd x

    www.foodnerd4life.com

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  3. gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I love it all! Your words were so candid and beautiful (and your photos - jaw dropping). Hoping everything works out in your favor in the coming year. Hugs from the Midwest.

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  4. Saw this on instagram and just had to rush over. It looks incredible!!

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  5. Stunning pictures and a great recipe! Pinning this and can't wait to give the recipe a go at my next brunch gathering!

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  6. TWO CHEERS FOR HOUSE BUYING! We're in the same boat and I have to say, I'm loving the process of searching for a place we'll call home for the next couple of years (when we leave Denver, we'll rent it out.. and maybe come back to it one day). These rolls look insanely delectable and just like the sort of thing I'd like to curl up with on the couch.

    Big love to you, lady.

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  7. Just saw these pics on Pinterest and had to see what these were all about. Yum!

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  8. Ack! I want one now. Right now. Yum!

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  9. Ack I want one of these now. Like, RIGHT now. Yum!

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  10. oh my god, this looks so amazing! I have to make this for my family! Thank you for sharing :D

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  11. Ugh I feel you on the pre-approval for mortgages and bidding war anticipation. I got my dream home in the fall and still need plenty of assurance that it'll all be alright. Once you're in it, there's aaaaaalways something to aspire towards or fix. And it's wonderful because it's all yours and it pushes and stretches you into places and postures you never thought were in your repertoire. So much to look forward to! Happy for you, miss. And these rolls! This weekend they will be in my life/face.

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  12. I feel like I say this every time I come to your site, but really, these are just stunning. I am torn between wanting to just go at these with a fork or just faceplant. I guess either would be fine, as long as I get a taste of these rolls.

    I hope this year brings you what you're searching for. Hang in there! xo

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  13. I love the way this looks! (and I bet it tastes amazing) Here's to a lucky 2014.

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  14. I want this forever and for always. Sweet goodness!!!

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  15. We started off 2013 in a similar way. It was scary at times and the whole process was so stressful but being the other side of it makes all the frenzy seem so worthwhile. Good luck with the house search and may you have good property juju the whole way through. Or just enough of these stunners to keep you going!

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  16. Your living in a beautiful city, good luck finding the right home. Lovely story and pics!

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  17. Wow!!!!!! I loveee absolutely EVERYTHING about this pull apart roll! It's the most comforting warm sweet dough ever created! :) All the best with your new home buying! :)

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  18. These rolls looks deeelish. I'm a sucker for any food requiring dismantling with one's fingers, and these fit the bill. And congratuations Heather! House buying seems so overwhelming (especially the mortgage bit, eep) but having your very own place will be wonderful. And getting to settle in the Pacific Northwest, lucky you! I miss the West Coast dearly, and am looking forward to the day Chris and I get to move back.

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  19. I adore everything about this post. It's not just the food speaking for itself - in all its messiness and rustic charm - but it's also that I feel as if I'm reading about my own life. I even have my own darling Brent. No joke.

    Thank you for reminding me that as hard as things get. we will always have each other. Everything is going to be ok.

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  20. these look so good. so so cool! thanks for sharing. will give them a go x

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  21. My fiancé and I have been looking for an apartment in Brooklyn for the past six months. In fact, this morning we went to an open house that felt like a night club--15 couples waiting outside in the cold to see it! We have offered asking price a couple of times, only to be outbid. Here's to 2014 being the year we can all move forward in the ways we'd like.

    The pull apart rolls look lovely, perfect for a winter weekend morning.

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  22. I actually can't ever remember being as overwhelmed and terrified as I was when we did the paperwork for our first mortgage... but surely these lovely rolls helped! I can't wait to try the chaos method... simply brilliant! Good luck with all your transitions... I adore this blog :)

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  23. So happy to have found your lovely blog :) Inspired ...

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  24. Making these for the second time in 8 days! Cannot get enough. I did mess up the icing the first time around as it came out more of something to use as a spread than an icing but was still good and could put as much or as little on as people wanted. Thank you for the recipe, along with all the others as I have made several many times!

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    1. So glad you enjoyed then Sarah.

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  25. Beautifully written. What an exciting big major time for you guys. This life, this journey is amazing. Most particularly when you have goods like this to flavour the way - looks unreal! Thanks for the recipe.
    Heidi xo

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  26. Seriously. OH MY WORD. You are amazing.

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  27. I love this! Food is best when it´s a little messy ;) And eaten with your hands...

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  28. Saved, these look too good to pass up. My partner and I have just bought our first house, good luck with the search.

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  29. I want to make these for easter.....wonder if I can make them the night before and keep in the fridge and bake in the a.m.....

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    1. I would recommend baking them the night before, storing them covered on the counter overnight, and then give them a quick reheat in the oven or microwave the nest day, before icing. I have done this many times, and they are still delicious the next day.

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  30. This dough is amazing! I'm already dreaming up additional ways to use it. Thanks for a lovely recipe!

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  31. Oh my gosh this looks amazing! Will for sure have to give it a try! Can't wait! H - fromfussytofoodie.com x

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