You might not think that chocolate and cranberry would get along, but this variation of chocolate brioche will dispel any doubts you may have. The tart, orange-scented cranberry filling is the perfect partner to the rich, chocolate bread. A little cream cheese frosting adds the finishing touch, with a balance of rich and sweet. These would make a very special addition to a holiday breakfast or brunch; and fresh cranberries are starting to appear in the supermarkets now. So indulge yourself with sweet, tart, delicious cranberry-chocolate rolls.
Cranberry-Filled Chocolate Brioche Rolls
(makes 8 large rolls)
1/2 recipe Chocolate Brioche dough (*divide the dough after the second rise)
10 ounces fresh cranberries (or thawed, frozen cranberries)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
To make the cranberry filling combine all the ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the cranberry skins have popped and the sauce is thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool (the filling will thicken further upon cooling). If the chocolate dough has been refrigerated allow it to come to room temperature. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Spread the cooled cranberry filling over the dough, leaving a small border at the edges. Roll up the dough from a 12-inch edge, tucking in any filling that may want to escape from the ends of the roll. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces and place, cut sides up, in a well-greased or parchment-lined 8 x 11-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the temperature of the dough and your kitchen. While the rolls are proofing, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, reducing the oven temperature to 350°F about halfway through (rolls are done when the internal temperature is 180°F). Remove to a rack to cool somewhat while you make the frosting. In a medium bowl, combine the soft cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add enough milk to make a thick glaze consistency. Slather the frosting over the warm rolls. You can wrap the cooled rolls tightly in plastic or foil and store at room temperature for a day or two (if they last that long).
(filling and frosting recipes adapted from “Roxana’s Home Baking”)