Much like a cinnamon roll, but designed for the chocolate lover in your life, these cocoa rolls are yummy and pretty on a plate!
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup very warm water
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
1/2 cup warmed milk
1/3 cup melted butter (*I warm the milk & butter together)
1 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
approx. 4 cups flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
approx. 2 tablespoons milk (*I never measure my milk for glazes or frostings-- a little goes a very long way, so start small and add gradually...)
In small bowl, mix together warm water, yeast, and teaspoon of sugar and set aside to get foamy. In large mixing bowl, mix milk, 1/3 cup sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg; stir well, then add yeast mixture. Add flour gradually until dough is slightly stiff (it will still be a little sticky). You can either turn your dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or let a machine do the work for you... I rely on my KitchenAid stand mixer to do this job. After kneading, transfer to a buttered glass or plastic bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When doubled, punch down and allow to rest 5 minutes. Roll out on floured surface into a rectangle.
Spread dough with the majority (about 6-7 tablespoons) of the melted 1/2 cup filling butter. (Pour the remaining butter into the bottom of a 9"x13" pan to thinly coat.) Sprinkle the buttered dough rectangle with cocoa powder, sugar, and- if desired- nuts.
Roll up jelly-roll fashion and pinch together to seal. Cut into 12 slices (or do yourself a favor and take Amy's advice and FLOSS into 12 slices...) Lay rolls side-by-side in baking pan, cover, and let rise again for about 45 minutes.
Bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, until tops are golden, but rolls remain tender.
While rolls bake, prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients until you have a "thick drizzle" consistency. Transfer glaze to a pastry bag (or my version) and pipe zig-zagging lines over the entire pan of slightly cooled rolls.
*Let me keep it real here- if you have a beloved cinnamon roll recipe in your arsenal, then- by all means- use that one. All you need to do is change up your filling and your glaze.*