Chocolate Sticky Buns

I made these chocolate sticky buns just thinking about Christmas morning, as that’s a great time to have such a decadent breakfast. Ha! But really, any holiday or special brunch potluck event would be a perfect place to bring these. I had a hard time deciding what to name these as they’re kind of a hybrid of chocolate croissants meets cinnamon rolls topped with a chocolate donut glaze. Are they as rich as they look? YES. If you don’t like chocolate, do not make these chocolate sticky buns. You have been warned.

Feeling festive, I topped this batch with crushed candy canes. But you could skip this, or add a number of other toppings you might prefer. I think toasted coconut flakes, sliced almonds, or just a big sprinkle of flaky sea salt would be amazing.

The recipe below will make plenty of chocolate glaze, enough to fully coat these sticky buns. But if you prefer to just drizzle the sauce on so that you can still see that pretty cinnamon roll look, don’t worry—they are filled with butter, chocolate, sugar, and chopped dark chocolate, so you won’t be missing out on any chocolatey flavor if you choose to go lighter on the glaze.

If you need to travel with these, I would keep the glaze separate then rewarm the buns once you get to where you’re going, and then drizzle on the glaze before serving. But these are pretty darn tasty cold too if you ask me. Happy baking! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
5 from 1 vote
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Chocolate Sticky Buns

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons one packet active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate chopped

Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, melt the 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup whole milk. Whisk in the sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow that to sit for 8 to 10 minutes. The yeast should appear to foam some on the surface as the mixture cools.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and egg. Pour the milk-yeast mixture into the bowl and stir until a dough ball forms. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Place back in the bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  3. Once the dough has risen, punch down and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle. Smear the softened 1/4 cup butter all over the rectangle. Combine the sugar and cocoa and then sprinkle over the butter. Sprinkle on the chopped chocolate. Roll up into a long cylinder. Cut in about 8-10 rolls (if you cut slightly more or less, that's OK too). Place in a buttered pie pan or square pan.

  4. Bake at 325°F for 30-32 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Allow to cool while you make the glaze.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons milk. If the mixture seems too thick, add another tablespoon of milk until you get an Elmer's Glue-like consistency (like chocolate donut glaze). Drizzle over the rolls and topped with crushed candy canes if using.

  • When I was little, my step grandmother used to make biscuits with chocolate gravy. Everytime I ate one, I knew my mother would be apalled but I loved them anyway:) These remind me of that! I bet they are fantastic!

  • Do you think these would translate well to Dairy Free and Gluten free substitutes? Almond milk, vegan “butter” and “chocolate” chips, GF flour?

    • I think subbing the butter, milk, and chocolate for a vegan substitute would very likely work just as well (although I must admit, I am just guessing based on past experiences. I have not tested this).

      I am unsure about making it GF. I am not super familiar with all gluten free flours, and I am unsure how they would work with the yeast in this recipe. If anyone is more experienced GF baker than me and would like to let us all know if that could potentially be substituted feel free! But I am not experience enough in that area to know without testing.

  • This looks amazingly decadent! It’s moved to the top of my list for holiday baking. Thank you!

  • Do you think I could do the first rise and then stick them in the fridge for the next morning? Would be delicious for Christmas morning!

    • Yes! I would let them sit out and re-warm up in the morning before baking though. Like if you can remove them from the refrigerator and set on the counter for 30 minutes or more before baking I think that would work best.

  • Hi Emma & Elsie,

    Well these just look incredible! They look like a lovely treat for the holidays. I’ve made something similar with sugar and cinnamon before, but the chocolate looks amazing, can’t wait to try these… 🙂

    Thank you for the recipe!
    Sal

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