Chocolate and orange is a match made in heaven, and they work perfectly with a soft dough and cinnamon, too. Despite how indulgent that might all sound, these chocolate orange cinnamon rolls are actually healthier than you might expect. And delicious too.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Ever since I made and shared my pumpkin cinnamon rolls, I have been meaning to make another version. Not only did they break any fear I might have had about making cinnamon rolls, but they were so good.
I have been working on the idea of some chocolate orange cinnamon rolls and eventually took the plunge in making them. Everyone instantly loved them. In fact I had to limit my son (and me) to save finishing them all immediately. And best of all, they're really not that unhealthy.
In actual fact, I was originally just thinking of these as orange sweet rolls with a chocolate filling, since chocolate and orange are such natural partners. But then I figured since chocolate and cinnamon also go well, why not add that in too.
After all, it worked in my sweet potato brownies and is typical of Mexican chocolate. I didn't go for a lot of cinnamon here, but it all works so well, I'm not messing with this one. Well, maybe in the next batch when I find another excuse.
These make such a delicious treat, but they're actually nowhere near as unhealthy as you might think. They're made partly with wholewheat flour (in fact the only reason is part is to help them rise a bit better) and there's no refined sugar. Yet they're still moist and gently sweet.
How to make chocolate orange cinnamon rolls
These follow very much the same process as most cinnamon rolls.
- First, you make your dough - the main difference is this is made with orange juice rather than milk.
- Knead the dough then leave it to rise before rolling out.
- Make up the filling and spread it on the dough.
- Roll it up into a log and slice.
- Put the slices in a dish and leave to rise again. You can chill them overnight if this suits better, just allow them some time to come back to room temperature and rise.
- Bake then enjoy.
Chocolate and orange are such a delicious mix and these chocolate orange cinnamon rolls combine them perfectly. Soft, gently sweet and with that touch of citrus. They make such a delicious snack or brunch treat, but one that's relatively healthy, so you don't have to feel bad about coming back for another.
Try these other sweet rolls:
- Eggnog cinnamon rolls
- Golfeados (Venezuelan cheese sticky buns)
- Swedish cardamom buns
- Sourdough cinnamon rolls
- Plus get more breakfast and brunch recipes in the archives.
Chocolate orange cinnamon rolls
- ¼ oz instant yeast 1 small packet- ¼oz/7g also called fast acting yeast
- 3 tbsp water warm
- ½ cup orange juice 120ml
- 1 orange zest
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp coconut oil melted and allowed to cool
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 140g
- 1 cup all purpose flour 140g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 25g
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
To top (optional)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil melted and cooled
- ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tbsp maple syrup can use honey but it doesn't blend in as well
- Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and mix together. Set aside to start to activate while you prepare everything else.
- Whisk together the orange juice, zest, honey, egg and coconut oil in a small bowl or jug.
- In a larger bowl, mix together the wholewheat flour, AP/plain flour and salt. Add the orange-egg mixture and the yeast mixture. Mix it all well- it will be relatively sticky but come together.
- Turn the mixture out onto a well floured surface and knead for around 5 min, adding a little flour if needed. You want to stretch out the gluten and get it so it's no longer really sticky. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise for approx 1 hour until it has roughly doubled in size.
- As it's almost ready, make the filling by melting the butter and mixing in the cocoa powder, honey and cinnamon. Line a baking dish around 9x9in (23x23cm) - you can also use a cake pan.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough to approx 10x15in (25x38cm).
- Spread the filling evenly over the dough leaving a slight gap (around ½in/1cm) around the edge.
- Carefully roll the dough relatively tightly from one of the shorter edges and smooth the end into the roll.
- With a serrated knife, carefully slice the dough into slices, cleaning the knife between slices to save getting the filling over all the dough. You can make the slices as thick as you like, but I tend to make around ⅔in/2cm. You will get around 12-16 slices. Place the slices into the lined dish as you cut them with a slight gap between the slices. Note - you can also cut the roll with dental floss. If the dough is too soft to cut, wrap it in cling and chill it for 20 min or so before cutting.
- Once you have cut all of the dough, cover the dish with the rolls and leave to rise another approx 30 min. As you near the end of the time, preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Note - you can refrigerate overnight instead of giving them the second rise immediately, just allow approx 30 min to come back to room temp before baking.
- Bake for approx 25 min until the rolls are just browning. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
- Mix together the topping (coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup) and drizzle over the top. Best enjoyed warm but they will keep a couple days in an airtight container.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Try these other breakfast and brunch ideas using citrus:
- Easy Japanese Lemon Yuzu Bars by The Ninja Baker
- Pink Grapefruit Meringue Tart by Baking Sense
- Orange Chocolate Chip Muffins by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Lemon Donut Holes by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Starbucks Lemon Loaf Recipe by Life Tastes Good
- Lemon Poppy Seed Quick Bread by Pies and Plots
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Muffins by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Lemon & Blueberry Skillet Cake by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Pink Grapefruit Meringue Tart by Baking Sense
- Tiny Batch Blood Orange Marmalade by What Smells So Good?
Remember to pin for later!