Quick Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls

Mornings are about to get a whole lot brighter!

It's a testament to just how far into adulthood I am, that I'm actually excited about the end of Daylight Saving Time. Normally I mourn the loss of the sun in the evening hours, but this year, I'm excited to wake up to a bit more sunshine.

To add another brightness to your morning, try making these delicious chocolate cinnamon rolls! They are yeasted dough buns, that you can make in under an hour. Magic? Possibly, as only Joy the Baker could. Packed with espresso powder and chocolate chips, then covered in coffee icing, these are basically all my favorite things rolled into one.

These little guys came out kind of small, due to some dubious yeast I had stashed away somewhere. The first time I made these, almost two years ago, they came out absolutely perfect. Fluffy, light, like I bought them at an airport Cinnabon. So you can trust the recipe, if not this baker.


For the Dough:
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups AP flour (might not use all of it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk

For the Filling:
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons strong coffee


  1. In a small saucepan combine the milk, butter, and sugar. Stir until the sugar has just dissolved and the butter melted. Take off the heat and allow the mixture to cool, about to room temperature. Sprinkle the milk/butter mixture with the yeast. Stir to incorporate. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to activate and bubble.
  2. Place in a large stand mixer bowl. Add the 1 1/2 cup flour, salt, and the egg yolk. mix until completely incorporated, either with a spatula or with a dough hook attachment.
  3. Bring the dough together into a ball and knead a few times. If the dough feels too sticky, add extra flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it is the right consistency.
  4. Cover in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. When the dough has rested, roll onto a lightly floured surface until it forms a 12' by 9' rectangle.
  6. Spread 1/2 the melted butter onto the surface. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, sugar, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the surface, making sure to get all the way to the edges. The roll into a tight log.
  7. Carefully slice into 6 pieces with a serrated knife (5 cuts, if you're like me a horrible at math). 
  8. Lightly grease an 8'x8' baking pan with the remaining butter. Nestle the buns carefully into the pan, with 1/2 inch in between for growth. Cover again with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  10. When the rolls have puffed up to 1/3 third size, bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden.
  11. Take out of the oven, and allow to cool slightly. 
  12. While they cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and coffee. If needed, add another 1 tablespoon of coffee. Pour over the warm cinnamon rolls, and enjoy!

I know what you're thinking. "Man that's a lot to do first thing in the morning." While these are no weekday morning treat, I would highly recommend them for a Sunday. What better way to use the extra hour?

Happy baking!


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