Nutella Espresso Rolls

I sat down to write this post a half dozen times, deleting the words once I recognized the meaning wasn't exactly what I wanted to express. The first rendition took on a serious tone, the second became an anecdote, the third a thoughtful observation. Yet, none of them communicated what I really wanted to say, which is you should make this recipe and soon. Though it is not usually in my nature to make bold statements, today I am making an exception. The truth is that these Nutella Espresso Rolls are easily one of the best dishes to come out of my kitchen. Ever.

I would never lie to you, dear friends.

As a recipe developer, there are often several iterations a recipe goes through before I deem it good enough to share with you. While two iterations seems to be standard (with three or more sliding into second place), a single iteration is a rarity. These recipes are the four leaf clovers of the recipe development world, where modifications and tweaks happen ad infinitum.

In my own kitchen, I stumble across these rare gems perhaps once or twice a year, reveling in the moment before taking a fork after the sweet treat.

Since my recent discovery of nutella, it has become a “banned” ingredient in the apartment because it has a tendency to disappear in a few blinks of the eye. However, the lack of nutella in the cupboards doesn't stop me from thinking about it. While recently browsing recipes online, I spotted a roll filled with chocolate. Running with the idea, I made the idea my own, filling the rolls with nutella and the subtle flavor of espresso.

After pulling the rolls out from the oven, piping hot and steaming, my boyfriend declared them one of the best things he's ever eaten. I agreed. I think you will, too.

Nutella Espresso Rolls will leave you scraping the plate clean and wishing for more. The dough is made with espresso powder, which lends a subtle coffee flavor to the finished product. Spread with nutella and brown sugar, the dough is rolled up, sliced, and baked. When hot from the oven, the nutella becomes melted and gooey, given a unique texture from the brown sugar. These rolls are easy to make and are sinfully delicious. Make these for holidays, for friends and family, or just because it’s Monday—you won’t be disappointed.

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Nutella Espresso Rolls

Yields 9 rolls

Espresso Dough
1/2 cup (118 ml) milk, barely warmed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons espresso powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), sprinkle the yeast over the barely warm milk and melted butter and allow to sit about 5-10 minutes until activated (looks frothy). Mix in the espresso powder, sugar, and egg. Gradually add in the flour, mixing until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. Conversely, if the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable; however, do not add too much flour or the bread will become dense.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, or until elastic. Alternatively, using the dough hook on a stand mixer, knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, or until elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 2 hours.

Nutella Filling
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup (150 grams) nutella

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and espresso powder.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 11 by 15 inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the nutella, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges Sprinkle on the brown sugar mixture. From the longer end, roll the dough very tightly until it forms a log. Cut off the ends of the dough and cut the log into 1 1/2-inch segments.

Place the rolls into a 10-inch round pan. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Alternatively, you can also make the rolls the night before and allow them to double in size in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 F). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Serve hot.