Are you in the market for the most rich and decadent cinnamon roll ever? Then these chocolate cherry cinnamon rolls might be just the thing! Chocolate brioche dough with a chocolate cherry and cinnamon filling, topped with chocolate ganache and fresh cherries. Serve warm and gooey with melting chocolate in every bite.
What are Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Rolls Like?
These super rich cinnamon rolls are basically a chocolate cherry paradise. If you like Black Forest cake, then these rolls may be the perfect treat for you!
Inside this chocolate bread is an incredibly decadent chocolate, cherry and cinnamon filling. When fresh baked, the chocolate stays melty and gooey with the cherry and spice of the ground cinnamon.
To serve, these rolls are then topped off with a shiny chocolate ganache, spiked with a touch of cherry kirsch liqueur and then decorated with a few fresh large dark sweet cherries.
Ingredient Notes for Chocolate Brioche Dough
To make this chocolate brioche dough, you'll need:
- Milk - full fat or whole milk, warmed to to 104°F (40C). The temperature here needs to be warm, but not boiling. The temperature doesn't need to be exact, but aim for between 104°F and 120°F.
- Dry active yeast - you can substitute fresh yeast for dry active in most recipes. I have not, however, tested this recipe using fresh yeast.
- Sugar - superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar. You'll use a teaspoon of this in your milk to help encourage the yeast to activate. The rest will go into the dry ingredients.
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour.
- Bread flour - sometimes called strong bread flour. This helps with the gluten and the overall structure of your bread.
- Cocoa powder - I like to use a dutch processed cocoa powder.
- Eggs - large eggs at room temperature.
- Butter - unsalted butter, softened at room temperature and cut into small chunks (about half an inch cubes). You can use salted butter here instead, but it will add salt to the overall recipe. If making this substitute, you may wish to halve the amount of additional salt added.
Ingredient Notes for Chocolate Cherry Filling
The filling here is four ingredients:
- Butter - more unsalted butter, softened at room temperature. Just like the butter for the dough, you can substitute using salted butter here, but it will add salt to the overall recipe and may leave a slightly salty taste.
- Ground cinnamon
- Cherry jam - you can either make your own or buy store bought. My recipe for Small Batch Cherry Jam makes enough for this recipe, plus a couple of tablespoons. The jam will have an impact on the overall cherry flavour in this recipe.
- Chocolate chips - I like to use dark chocolate chocolate chips in this recipe for a super rich flavour. You can also substitute with finely chopped solid chocolate for this recipe.
How to Make these AMAZING Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Rolls
Chocolate Brioche Dough
These rolls follow the same basic process as my Brioche Cinnamon Rolls.
- Start with activating the yeast in the milk - sprinkle this over the warm milk, add a teaspoon of sugar and stir. Leave this to become frothy for about 10 minutes.
- Stir the flours, cocoa powder, remaining sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add the yeast, immediately followed by 2 eggs and an egg white. Knead for 15 minutes until the dough has come together and is starting to pull itself away from the sides of the bowl.
- Add the butter pieces a bit at a time, continuing to knead. Once fully incorporated knead for another 15 minutes until the dough is again starting to pull itself away from the sides of the bowl.
- Scrape into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for its slow proof - 8 hours or overnight.
Rolling and Cutting
- Prepare your filling. I find it easiest to mash the cinnamon into the butter - this will help ensure your butter is at a spreadable consistency while also better ensuring even coverage of the cinnamon in the filling.
- Line your baking tray with parchment paper to make the rolls easier to handle once they're baked.
- Once the dough is ready, turn this out onto a floured work surface and roll out to a large rectangle - about 12" wide by 15" long.
- Spread the cinnamon butter over the surface, then spread the cherry jam and finally sprinkle the chocolate chips.
- Roll from the bottom to the top into a log.
- Use a thin kitchen twine or flavorless dental floss to cut the uneven ends off the dough log and then divide into 9 rolls.
- Place the rolls in the lined baking pan, cover with a kitchen towel and leave to proof at room temperature for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan).
- Make a quick egg wash using your reserved egg yolk and a splash of milk. Brush this over your rolls.
- Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until well risen.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before frosting and serving.
Tips and Troubleshooting
A couple of top tips for this recipe:
- If your yeast doesn't become foamy after 10 minutes in the warm milk then something has gone wrong here. It could be that the milk was too cold, but if you don't think this is the issue, it is either that the yeast has already expired or that the milk was actually too hot. If your milk is too hot, it can kill the yeast. It is best to start over at this stage instead of risking things not turning out later!
- This is a sticky dough, just like my other brioche doughs. That said, it should still hold itself together. It is unlikely to pull itself cleanly away from the sides or base of the bowl. But, once you've added the butter and kneaded for the further 15 minutes, if it still seems too wet, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, increase the speed of the kneading slightly and knead for another 5 minutes. If this continues to seem overly sticky, add another tablespoon of bread flour, knead for a few minutes.
- Avoid rushing here - brioche is a very soft enriched dough and needs a good long knead. I set a timer for each 15 minute interval, to avoid stopping too soon!
- Using flavorless dental floss is a quick and easy way to cut your dough into rolls. By wrapping the floss around the log and pulling tight, you'll cut using equal pressure around the roll, meaning the roundness is better preserved than when using a sharp knife or dough cutter.
- Baking chocolate doughs can be difficult to judge - they do darken while baking, but they won't turn golden like a traditional brioche. I recommend baking these for 30 minutes, this is a little longer than many of my cinnamon roll recipes. This is because the chocolate chips will make these super gooey and weights down the bread dough. They tend to need a few more minutes in the oven to bake through.
While the rolls bake, make your frosting! For these chocolate cherry rolls, I recommend this ganache topping. You'll need the following:
- Chocolate chips - I use dark chocolate chips here, the same as for the filling. You can also substitute with finely chopped solid chocolate or with semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
- Heavy cream - or double cream.
- Kirsch liqueur (optional) - or another cherry liqueur. This is optional, but adds a little extra hit to these rolls.
To make this frosting, add the cream and kirsch (if using) to a small saucepan and warm over a medium heat until simmering. Let simmer for about 2 minutes, but avoid boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and let sit for 2 minutes. Then stir until silky smooth.
Drizzle over your rolls and top off with some fresh dark sweet cherries.
Just like any classic cinnamon roll, these are best served fresh - warm cinnamon rolls, melty chocolate and dripping ganache. You can't beat eating them straight out of the oven for brunch.
Leftovers do keep for a few days though - especially if wrapped well and kept on the counter in a cool place. I don't recommend refrigerating as this will stale the rolls more quickly and the ganache will set more firm.
Yes! This recipe uses a soft chocolate brioche dough made with cocoa powder. Inside, the rolls use a softened cinnamon butter, cherry jam and chocolate chips.
These cherry chocolate rolls are a great make ahead brunch! Most of the work in kneading is done the day before. This means that all that will be left to the morning is rolling, filling and baking. This might sound like a lot, but you can have everything prepped in advance to make this a quick, smooth process.
It is possible to make the rolls on the same day with a quicker first proof, but I don't recommend this. Brioche dough including this cocoa brioche dough benefits from the overnight slow proof. Chilling it makes it easier to handle and roll out. If proofed for a shorter time at room temperature, it will be difficult to handle, more likely to tear and hard to spread butter on (no matter how softened).
Are you a Chocolate Cherry lover? Try:
Or some of my cherry favorites!
Chocolate Cherry Cinnamon Rolls
- 8" square baking tray
Ingredients for Chocolate Brioche Dough
- ¼ cup full fat milk or whole milk, warmed to 104°F (40C)
- 2¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
- 2 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup all purpose flour or plain flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder dutch processed
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
Ingredients for Filling
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup cherry jam store bought or make your own using my Small Batch Cherry Jam recipe
- 2 oz dark chocolate chips or solid chocolate, finely chopped
Ingredients for Topping
- 5 tablespoon heavy cream or double cream
- 1 teaspoon kirsch cherry liqueur optional
- 2 oz dark chocolate chips or solid chocolate, finely chopped
- 9 cherries fresh large cherries with their stems for decoration (optional)
Instructions for Chocolate Brioche Dough
- Begin by sprinkling the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar over the warm milk. Stir this and set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, stir together the flour, bread flour, cocoa powder, salt and remaining sugar.
- When the yeast is ready add this to the flour mixture, immediately followed by 2 eggs and one egg white. Reserve the remaining egg yolk for an egg wash later.
- Knead on a low setting until a dough forms and continue kneading for 15 minutes until it begins to pull itself away from the sides of the bowl (it will stay sticky, but should be slapping the sides and holding itself together).
- Begin adding the butter bit by bit, while continuing to knead. Once the butter is fully incorporated, knead for 15 minutes until the dough has again come together and is starting to pull itself from the sides of the bowl.
- Scrape the dough into a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to proof for 8 hours (overnight).
Instructions for Rolling and Cutting
- Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper.
- When the dough has finished its first proof, turn it out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a large rectangle, about 12" wide by 15" long.
- Cream together the cinnamon and butter with a spatula to form a spreadable cinnamon butter. Spread this over the surface of your dough. Then spread the cherry jam and finally sprinkle the chocolate chips.
- Roll the dough from the bottom to the top, forming a log.
- Use flavorless dental floss or a thin kitchen twine to trim the uneven ends off the dough. Then divide into 9 rolls and place these in the lined baking pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and proof at room temperature for 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Instructions for Baking and Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and make a quick egg wash using your reserved egg yolk and a splash of milk beaten together.
- Brush the egg wash over your rolls and bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until well risen.
- While the rolls are baking, heat your cream with the kirsch (if using) in a small saucepan until simmering. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes and then pour over top of the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Let this sit for 2 minutes before stirring smooth.
- When the rolls are baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before drizzling with your ganache and adding some fresh cherries for decoration.