Completely decadent, yet still low fat and clean-eating friendly!
I really procrastinated on writing yesterday’s Sunday Funday post. I walked my neighbor’s golden retrievers, mixed up a new batch of cookie dough, strolled around the park with our own chihuahua (no scarecrows this time!), wandered around Trader Joe’s and Safeway, and cheered on the Sharks from my comfy couch until their nail-biting shootout. Around 10:30 pm, I finally sat down with a pen and paper to sift through my jumbled thoughts from the week.
An hour later, my fingers tap-danced across the keyboard as I typed up my scribbles. Armed with my favorite snack, I powered through uploading photos and proofreading each paragraph. But forever the perfectionist, I didn’t shut my laptop screen until 1:30 am.
PJs on, teeth brushed, and face washed, I finally slid between the sheets. I rolled over to turn off the alarm, then blinked. And rubbed my eyes. And blinked again.
Why was the clock glowing “1:00”??
This year, daylight savings time crept up and completely caught me by surprise! Although typically overjoyed by the extra hour to sleep in, I actually groaned in frustration last night. I now need to reschedule all of my recipe photo shoots an hour earlier to maintain the same natural lighting.
Oh, the life of a food blogger!
Just like the time change, these rolls might catch you off-guard. They look like ordinary wheat rolls, but as your teeth sink into the tender bread, you hit a surprise filling: smooth and rich dark chocolate! Its deep earthy flavor reminds me of the insides of a Parisian chocolate croissant, just without all of the messy flaky pastry clinging to your clothes after the final bite.
Many people find baking bread intimidating, but I promise this recipe is practically fail-proof! You probably have all of the ingredients hiding in your kitchen already: water, milk, honey, salt, a packet of yeast, and whole wheat flour.
I’m very particular about my whole wheat flour, and I almost exclusively buy bags of Gold Medal. When baking 100% whole wheat goods, many other brands fail to rise, turning out dense and rocklike, but every recipe I’ve made with Gold Medal whole wheat flour puffs up like all-purpose.
Begin by mixing everything but the flour in a medium bowl. Usually it’s really important to warm the water to exactly 100-110°F so you don’t harm the yeast. But in this recipe, you add hot water to cold milk, which results in the perfect temperature for the yeast. Now walk away for 10 minutes! Watch the news, read a magazine article, or browse through Pinterest. While the yeast sits undisturbed, it becomes frothy—that’s how you know it’s ready to go!
Start mixing in the wheat flour about ½ cup at a time. When the dough begins to pull away from the bowl and refuses to absorb more flour, you can stop. It should require between 1¾ to 2 cups to reach this point.
Tape down a sheet of wax paper, spread out a Silpat, or simply work directly on your clean dry countertop. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on the space, rub some on your hands, and plop down the dough to knead. I prefer the fold-and-press technique: fold the dough in half towards you, then press down firmly with the heel of your palm. Repeat going left to right, then away from you, then right to left, until the dough stops feeling sticky and springs back about halfway when you gently press your index finger into it.
Now it’s time to let the gluten relax and the yeast work its magic! Shape the dough into a ball, roll it around in a greased bowl, and let it sit for an hour with a tea towel on top. No peeking!
While you wait, mix up the chocolate filling. Add cocoa powder, applesauce, honey, and milk to a bowl. Stir. All done!
After the dough puffs up like a balloon, punch it down. (That’s fancy language for “knead it gently 4 or 5 times to knock out the air.”) Divide it into 10 segments, roll each into a ball, and carefully flatten to about ½” thick. Place a heaping tablespoon of chocolate in the center, and fold up the edges to hide the surprise filling inside. Pinch the dough together really well, and set the roll seam-side down in a 9” round pan.
The rolls look tiny now, but after an hour alone, they rise and spread to fill up the entire pan! After a quick 10 minutes in the hot oven, they’re all done.
Look at you! You just baked bread completely from scratch! (And your home now smells like a sweet flour-filled bakery.) Doesn’t it feel rewarding?
Just wait until your first mouthful of these Chocolate-Filled Wheat Rolls… You may never pay for store-bought bread again!