As I discovered last week, when you have sore tummy muscles following an appendix operation each day’s activities are planned around what can be done with minimal body movement and, ideally, whilst remaining horizontal. In practice, this means sleeping, reading and watching lots of TV on the internet. In my case, that lots of TV took the very specific form of cooking and food-related shows, including a very interesting Channel 4 series named Willie’s Chocolate Revolution. If you’re anything like me, you can’t watch nearly three hours of programming about chocolate and not think of something chocolatey to try making. And these rolls are what I thought of (although where the orange part came from I’m not sure as I don’t remember seeing anything involving oranges in any of the programmes!). Today, finally, I had the tummy strength to try making these rolls and I am very pleased with the results (though haven’t yet had the change to get J’s opinion – something I usually do before blogging a recipe). To me, these would be best freshly baked and still warm, with lots of butter and accompanied by strong coffee, for a lazy Saturday morning brunch.
Whilst my tummy muscles may be up to baking as a general activity, they are not yet at kneading strength, so this was a great opportunity to try out the dough hooks that came with my electric hand mixer, and I’m pleased to say that they worked very well. Feel free to kneed by hand if you prefer though. This mixture is very sticky so if you do kneed by hand you may be tempted to use a lot of flour – try to resist the temptation to add too much flour and don’t worry if a bit of dough sticks to your hand during the kneading process – it will wash off! I used chocolate with 85% cocoa solids for these rolls. If you’re not a fan of very dark chocolate, feel free to use chocolate with a lower percentage of cocoa solids. The orange flavour isn’t very strong in these rolls, so if you prefer a strong chocolate orange flavour, I’d suggest swopping the hot water for more orange juice (but make sure that it is warm to help the yeast get started) and grating orange zest into the mixture when you add the chopped chocolate. All the measurements below are based on a 250 ml mug equalling 1 cup.
What you’ll need:
150 grams dark chocolate
2 1/2 cups plain flour
A 7 gram package of fast action yeast
2 dessertspoons sugar
1 dessertspoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup boiling water
What to do:
1. Roughly chop the chocolate (don’t make the individual pieces too small).
2. Mix together thoroughly in a bowl the flour, salt, yeast, sugar and chopped chocolate.
3. Add the boiling water to the orange juice.
4. Add the olive oil and orange juice/water to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
5. Kneed the dough with an electric dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured, clean surface for about 10 minutes.
6. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes to an hour until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
7. When the dough has risen, kneed it again with an electric dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured, clean surface for about 10 minutes. When the dough has been kneaded, generously flour the surface, divide the dough into 12 roughly equal portions and shape each portion into a roll.
8. Brush a baking tray with oil or melted butter and place each roll on the baking tray, spaced well apart.
9. Cover the rolls with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again in a warm place for 40 minutes to an hour until each roll is roughly double in size.
10. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5 (190º C or 375º F) and bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes in the middle of the pre-heated oven. When done the rolls will be lightly brown on top but still soft when pressed.
11. Place the rolls on a cooling rack to cool before eating, or be like me and tuck in as soon as the melted chocolate has settled enough to make picking up each roll not too messy an affair.