I wasn’t sure I would turn these chocolate cinnamon rolls into a post, but it turns out I successfully learned how to substitute for active dry yeast, so that’s worth remembering! You see, as I was proofing the yeast, which happened to be the last portion in the jar, it really wasn’t bubbling very much at all, and when I checked the expiration date, I realized that it was way dead. So I looked around online to see if there was any way to substitute and found this article, which led me to the difference between active dry yeast and instant yeast. In a nutshell, active dry yeast goes in with your liquid ingredients, then the dough needs a lot of time to rise; instant yeast, on the other hand, goes in with your dry ingredients and is much faster. So I added 1 teaspoon of instant yeast in the flour and reduced the rising time, and it worked out perfectly!
Note that I halved the amount of butter in the filling as well as the amount of icing, and I like things my way, but you do you.
For the rolls
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lactose-free milk, warmed
5 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, melted
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp.; see note above)
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
For the filling
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. ground cinnamon
6 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I used half)
For the icing (I halved the recipe)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla
3 Tbsp. lactose-free milk
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine warm milk, sugar, and butter. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand 2 min until yeast softens. With the bread hook attachment stir in the egg, salt and 3 cups of the flour. Mix well, then add remaining flour and mix until dough pulls away from the bowl edges, about 5 min.
With floured hands, form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides of ball. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a very warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.
Make filling by combining the sugars, cinnamon and chocolate. Butter two 8”x8” pans and set aside (I don’t have two of those, so I used a single 9”x13” pan).
Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 14”x24” rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Starting with one long end, roll dough tightly to form a long spiral. Pinch the seam together. Cut into 18 slices (I made 12 with a smaller rectangle), about 1¼” thick each, and place 9 in each prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (If you are making the rolls on the same day, there’s no need to refrigerate them; just let them rise a second time before baking.)
In the morning remove rolls from refrigerator and bring to room temperature in a warm place, 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375 °F and bake until rolls are golden and cooked through, 18 to 20 min.
Meanwhile, make the icing by whisking together the ingredients until smooth. Let rolls cool slightly before spooning on some icing. Serve warm, ideally.