October 13, 2011

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sweet Rolls

Ghirardelli Chocolate sent me some of their new Intense Dark chocolate to try and ever since my carefully wrapped package arrived I've been dreaming about the perfect recipe to use them for. The bars themselves are beautiful and gold wrapped- seriously tempting. They've got sexy names like "Evening Dream" and "Twilight Delight" to go along with the perfect packaging and high cacoa content. This was a big decision! I finally settled on my favorite ever Tuesdays with Dorie recipe- the Brioche Raisin Snails. Brioche is rich dough made with eggs and butter, rolled up with a homemade vanilla pudding and fancy raisins (or in my case, chocolate). I used my Bosch mixer but a KitchenAid or even a big bowl with a wooden spoon will work just fine.

I love that the recipe is made of several components- it's kind of therapeutic to assemble basic things into something extra special and each piece isn't too much work. The bread dough improves with a little stay in the fridge, so I made it the other night. Last night I made the pastry cream and let it chill until this morning. Each step only takes 15 minutes or so but this morning I whipped up a fabulous French pastry that takes me right back to Paris with each bite. The assembly is just like a regular cinnamon roll but uses different components- roll out the dough, spread the cream, sprinkle with chopped Ghirardelli chocolate (I used the Midnight Reverie 86% Cacao bar) and a little sugar. Roll it up, slice, and try to be patient while they rise. It's not that different than cinnamon rolls, really, but SO much better.

You could easily fake this recipe with a regular dough (or even thawed Rhodes rolls if your that terrified of yeast) and chocolate chips, but the Intense dark chocolate with it's luxurious texture and flavor and the silky pastry cream baked together with the rich brioche makes a treat that's extra special. You can even roll up the logs before you slice them and freeze them for a perfectly decadent treat anytime.

I absolutely loved this recipe before but now that I've had it all fancied up, I'm pretty sure a delicious cinnamon roll is going to pale in comparison. I'm going try my favorite brownies next with some more of the Ghirardelli Intense Dark and I'll be back later in the week to let you know how they turn out. Stop by their website and check out their line-up. Ghiradelli will donate $1 from each package up to $100000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation when you enter the code found inside your bar. You can even print out a coupon here. Deliciousness and an important cause- this is a win win for me!

PS Don't tell but when my mom had a bite of these she totally moaned. They're that good. There are two left on my counter. Let's see if they make it until dinner time (with Baby Strawberry, sporting her dad's super metabolism and roving the house yelling "Chockit! Chockit!" it doesn't seem likely!)

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Sweet Rolls
from Anne Strawberry

6 squares Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate (I used the 86% Cacao Midnight Revelrie), or 3/4 of a package, chopped finely
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)

1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (see below)
Shiny Sugar Coating (see below)
Powdered Sugar Glaze (see below)

Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the chopped chocolate over the pastry cream and sprinkle the cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months.)

Cut the log into rounds a 1 inch thick using a chef's knife, bench cutter, or dental floss. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them (half of the brioche yielded 12 rolls for me so I put them in a 3 x 4 pattern on my baking sheet).

Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume--they'll be puffy and soft--about an hour or two depending on the temperature of the kitchen.

When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you're using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. After they've been out of the oven for a minute or two, brush them with the shiny sugar coating. Allow to cool for a couple minutes then drizzle with the optional glaze (recipe below).

Shiny Sugar Coating
Note- This is optional but only takes a minute or two and helps keep your rolls shiny and moist. Ever since I read about it on this wonderful blog I use it for all my cinnamon rolls. I don't think these would last long enough to need it but I wouldn't skip it! Check out her cinnamon twist post for gorgeous pictures on shaping and glazing sweet rolls.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, take off heat and set aside to brush the bread when it comes out of the oven.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

Put the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.

Golden Brioche Loaves
2 packets active dry yeast (or 5 teaspoons yeast)
2/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch 2% milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt (or 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm (cut into 1 Tablespoon pieces while cold and let sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften)

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces.

Anne Strawerry's Favorite "Slightly Lighted" Pastry Cream
adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

2 1/2 cups 2% milk
4 large egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan (I usually multitask this step and warm it in my Pyrex liquid measuring cup in the microwave).

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and egg together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-- this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking to be sure the bottom doesn't burn, for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.


  1. this is the best looking recipe I've seen all day! These look amazing!

  2. I agree with Carrie...the outstanding post of the day...delish!

  3. These look so amazing Anne! Two of my favorite things in one treat :)

  4. Now this is a treat I would like to taste. They are just beautiful. Only a foodie would talk like that!

  5. Wow, what an intense (hehe) combination! Love the idea of combining chocolate and cinnamon rolls...

  6. A few years back there was a recipe floating around for a cake that claimed to be "better than ---." Forget about the cake, it wasn't that great, but these fresh and delicious sweet rolls with dark chocolate, warm from the oven are definitely worth moaning about.

  7. INcredible - these looks so amazing - and a wonderful picture!
    Mary x

  8. These look so unbelievable decadent. I love it and can only imagine how they taste!

  9. These look and sound wonderful. The dark chocolate certainly is a very nice addition. I can't wait to give them a try for myself. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh good grief! These look so amazingly delicious, Anne. Being from SF, I am partial to ghiradelli chocolate anyway :) for the record--you were close enough to the giveaway contest to be entered! Hope all is well; i'm finally getting back into the blogging routine, which is nice, because it means I am checking out friends' blogs (e.g., yours again)--very inspiring, you are so talented! :)

  11. When you make the brioche- it says to add the milk, water and yeast together. Water, however, isn't on the ingredients list. How much is there supposed to be?