These rolls are a spin-off of a recipe from 2012 Chocolate Cinnamon Babka that I originally made for a neighbor who was convalescing from an injury. When that same neighbor’s mother passed away, I revisited the recipe, simplified it a bit and made them into rolls for easier sharing and consuming. Food can’t heal such deep wounds, but sharing homemade goodness made with love let’s the grieving know that others are thinking of them during challenging times.
Don’t “wait” for a sad occasion to make these rolls. They are wonderful for breakfast or in the afternoon with a cup of tea or coffee. I used Lily’s Sweets stevia-sweetened (and vegan, of course) chocolate chips. My Whole Foods no longer carries them (what?!), so I have to order them via Amazon.
A note on the photographs: these were taken right after the first iteration of this recipe and I guess I was feeling overconfident that I’d nailed the recipe on the first try. Well, I didn’t. The rolls needed more oomph tucked into the swirls which meant reworking the filling. The recipe below will yield gooier (in a good way!) and messier (also in a good way!) rolls. Like this:
But I was just too damn lazy to do a complete reshooting of the revamped rolls. Please forgive!
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 4 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk, warmed slightly
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 5 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil, plus more for oiling bowl and pans
- 4 Tbsp. aquafaba (liquid from canned NO-SALT chickpeas or navy beans)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped Medjool dates soaked in 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Lily's Sweets brand)
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer add all of the dough ingredients. Start processing using the paddle attachment. When the dough starts coming together, change to the dough hook and knead for 10-12 minutes, checking the consistency occasionally. Add water a little at a time if the dough seems dry; more flour if it's too wet. It should feel slightly tacky but not stick to your finger when pressed.
- While the dough is being "kneaded," put the dates, the soaking water, maple syrup, cacao powder and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
- Lightly oil a large bowl with coconut oil and place the dough ball in it, swirling it around so that it's coated completely. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F and lightly coat 24 muffin cups with coconut oil (or cooking spray). Punch down the dough, divide it in two equal parts and working with one piece at a time, roll out to a 12" x 15" rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
- Spread half of the filling nearly to the edges of the dough rectangle and sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Tightly roll the dough from the short side. It could get messy! Using a length of dental floss or a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces and place into the prepared muffin cups. Repeat for the second half of the dough. Cover the pans and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Bake the rolls for about 30 minutes. They should be slightly browned on top and firm to the touch. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan and placing on a cooling rack. Eat warm or wrap tightly and store in the freezer.
- Using dental floss instead of a knife assures that the rolls don't get flattened on one side.
- You can make this into two loaves instead. Follow the instructions on my Vegan Chocolate Cinnamon Babka here: http://www.anunrefinedvegan.com/2012/05/21/bread-to-convalesce-by-chocolate-cinnamon-babka/