Tuesday, June 28, 2011

German Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, so I wasn't going to post this recipe until I won the Tones Cinnamon Roll Competition with it at the Iowa State Fair.  I did enter them last summer in the Non-Traditional Cinnamon Roll class, and they went immediately to the reject table.  This is what the judge said on my comment card: "These are stunning.  This is an idea for a roll that I have never encountered in my life.  It looks so heavy but is so light.  However this reminds me more of a cake than a roll."  I think I literally screamed in my car when I read that comment card after the fair was over.  Seriously?  "more of a cake than a roll"?  It's a NON-TRADITIONAL cinnamon roll, for crying out loud!  I guess I'm still a little angry over it.
Actually, I was at Trader Joe's about a month later, and I SAW the judge there shopping alone.  I was so, so tempted to go ask her what business she had judging a non-traditional cinnamon roll competition if she was unable to think outside of a box.  I thought better of it, and didn't accost her.  I don't want to be banned from the competition.
At any rate, I don't know if I'll try entering this again next year, hoping for a better judge, but if there's any chance this woman will be on the panel, I don't think I could take it.
Oh, this roll gets rave reviews from everyone who tastes it.  You heard what the judge said, it's "stunning."
(For more on my Iowa State Fair food competition experiences, go to this post.)

German Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg plus one egg yolk, beaten
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten w/ 1 tsp. water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle yeast over warm water.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until soft and bubbly.  With the paddle attachment, stir in sugar, butter, cocoa, egg & yolk, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Switch to the dough hook attachment, and add milk and 3 cups flour.  Mix & kneed on medium low speed for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding additional ¼ cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time if it seems   7too sticky.
2. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.  Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, cinnamons, and salt and set aside.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch metal pan and set aside.
3. While dough rises, make the frosting.  In a large saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks w/ water, butter, and vanilla.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and reaches 180°F.  Pour into a separate bowl and allow to cool.  Then stir in toasted pecans and coconut.
4.  Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface to form rolls.  Roll dough out to a 16 x 20-inch rectangle.  Evenly spread butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1 inch area of the dough free on one of the short ends.  Spread sugar/cinnamon mixture over the butter lightly using your hand.  Press in gently with a flat hand.  Starting at the short end that has the filling, roll dough, brushing away extra flour with a dry pastry brush.  Wet the end and seal by pinching gently.
5.  Brush off excess flour.  Using a 2-ft. length of dental floss, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Place in buttered pan, cover, and let rise until puffy and almost doubled, about 1 hour. 
6.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake rolls at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of a roll registers 188-190°F on a probe thermometer.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before frosting.
7.  Frost rolls and serve.  Keep leftovers in an airtight container.
Makes 6 ridiculously large rolls

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