Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls

These last few weeks have been a blur of exhaustion and responsibilities. Time is lost in the small necessities of lifedays pass quickly, but each week drags on in a disorienting march. As the school year nears a close, I find myself in my classroom hours after the last bell rings, lesson planning and grading assignments while the nice weather mocks me through the windows. I swing by the gym on the way home, not because I want to, but because guilt delivers me to the door. Exhaustion claims me in the first few minutes of group classes, and I wonder if sitting on my couch to recharge would have been the better choice. I come home to a messy apartment, an empty refrigerator, and three days of dishes sitting in the sink. I look through bills, health benefit packages, and lease renewal forms in the evenings, too tired to make useful decisions.

Even though its foolish, I sometimes wish adulthood came with accolades. You made the responsible decision and went to the gym? You get to watch Fixer Upper on the couch for two consecutive hours without moving! You did all the dishes in the sink? You get a phone call from your mother telling you she's proud of you!

Some days are easy and some days are hard. I keep telling myself these waves of overwhelming responsibilities will fade and calmer waters will soon arrive.

This weekend I am carving out time to relax. A quiet morning of coffee drinking and pastry making sounds healing. This recipe for chocolate hazelnut rolls uses Quick Puff Pastry as the base. By removing the need for yeast and rising time, the rolls come together quickly. The puffy pastry can be made several days in advance or, if you are like me, you already have a batch stored in the freezer for pastry emergencies.

With a generous amount of chocolate hazelnut spread, a sprinkling of demerara sugar and cinnamon in the filling, and a topping of chopped hazelnuts, these flaky rolls will brighten any weekend morning. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls are a celebration of butter and chocolate in pastry form. With puff pastry as the base, the rolls become golden and flaky in the oven. The inside features a smooth layer of chocolate hazelnut and cinnamon, and the top emphasizes texture with toasted hazelnuts. These are rolls for special occasions, certainly, but should be served on the average weekend after a hard week of being an adult. Your own adult accolade, if you will.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Oat Bars (GF) 
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Pie 
Three Years Ago: Sunflower Seed Bread, Blackberry Fool, Lime Curd Tart, & Honey Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Four Years Ago: Homemade Mascarpone, Ladyfingers, Tiramisu Cake, & PB Cornmeal Cookies
Five Years Ago: Strawberry Milk, Vanilla Pear Muffins, Chocolate Filled Buns, & Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls
Inspired by Joy the Baker

Yields 12 rolls

1 recipe Quick Puff Pastry, chilled (or thawed, if previously frozen)
1 cup (300 grams) chocolate hazelnut spread
1/4 cup (50 grams) demerara or brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces (55 grams) hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled puffed pastry into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the chocolate hazelnut spread, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.

In a small bowl, stir together the demerara sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the chocolate hazelnut spread. From the longer end, roll the dough tightly until it forms a log. Cut off the ends of the dough and cut the log into 1 1/4-inch thick segments. Place the rolls individually into a muffin tin and sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top.

Bake for 28-35 minutes, or until the rolls are bubbling and golden. Serve warm.

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Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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