Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Icing




picture of chocolate cinnamon buns on a grey cloth


These lovely chocolate cinnamon rolls give an unusual twist to one of my favourites, cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon buns (or kanelbullar) are practically holy here in Sweden. I absolutely adore them. There is something undeniably awesome about the combo of cinnamon and bread. Add chocolate to the mix (in the form of cocoa in the dough and chunks on top)? Then we have a whole new arena: enter, cinnamon chocolate rolls.

I wasn’t sure how the cocoa would work in the buns, if I am honest. Cinnamon and chocolate are glorious together, so I was also interested to see how well the flavours would mesh in this recipe. Wow. Yes, wow. I make sweet buns a lot, but so far, I think these have just nudged into the winner’s position.


a picture of chocolate cinnamon buns with a white frosting


I made the rolls in my bread machine. I’ve talked about how touching wet dough doesn’t make me weak at the knees in anticipation, so making dough this way will always be my preference. However, you could easily use a stand mixer, if you prefer. If you’ve ever wondered whether a bread machine was a good investment, have a read of what I think in my recipe for spelt hot dog buns.


a close up of a chocolate cinnamon bun with white icing


Making overnight bread

The great thing about this particular recipe is that the buns can be baked immediately or left overnight.

If you’ve never experienced the magic of wafting fresh bread in your kitchen at the weekend, you need to change that, now. The problem is that bread is a long process, and by the time you’ve had a lie in, then prepared bread, it’s invariably lunch time. Preparing your bread the evening before cuts out so much of the time, leaving you with ready made buns, pretty much ready to pop in the oven. 

There are a couple of things to be aware of, though. Firstly, it is perfectly okay to allow your bread to ferment (proof) overnight, but it needs to do so in the fridge. If you left the dough on the counter overnight, you might wake up to an oozing mess escaping the bowl. 

The overnight process is often used in no-knead bread recipes. This is because kneading the bread helps release the carbon dioxide bubbles (which cause the rising). Without this, the proofing time is much longer. That being said, I have proofed many of my kneaded bread recipes overnight. Good examples are my saffron and white chocolate buns and blackberry skillet buns


a close up of a chocolate cinnamon bun


What kind of flour can I use to make these chocolate buns?

This blog is called The Spelt Kitchen. Therefore, it is fairly obvious that the majority of my recipes will indeed be made with spelt flour. However, before I realised how wonderful spelt really is, my recipes were either gluten free or made with regular flour. A lot of the time, I adapt and recreate my older recipes to include spelt flour, such as this one for chocolate cinnamon rolls. So, feel free to use regular (plain) or spelt flour.


If you like sweet buns, you will probably love these:


Blackberry iced fingers

Sticky caramel buns

Belgian buns



Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Icing

Prep Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 buns


Dough (see note 1):

  • 1 egg
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 50g (3 tbsp + 2 tsp) butter
  • 400-450g (3⅓ -3¾ cups) spelt flour (see note 2)
  • 30g (4 tbs) cocoa
  • 40g (¼ cup) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar / extract
  • 7g (2 tsp) dried yeast (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 75g (⅓ cup) butter (room temperature)
  • 60g (⅓ cup) brown sugar
  • 20g (1½ tbsp) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Additional ingredients

  • 30g (1 ounce) milk chocolate (chopped into chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar / extract
  • icing sugar (enough to make a thick paste)



    Bread Machine:

    • Add the egg, milk and butter to your bread machine pan. Then add 400g (3¼ cups) of flour, and the remaining dough ingredients, taking care to keep the yeast and salt separate as much as possible. Set your machine to make dough.
    • On a very well-floured surface (the dough will be very sticky) work in just as much flour as you need to make a soft, pliable, but still a little tacky, dough.

    Stand Mixer:

    • Add the egg, milk and butter to your stand mixer bowl, and mix together. If the butter is straight out of the fridge, it won't combine with the other wet ingredients too much, but that's okay.
    • Add 450g (3¾ cups) of flour, and the remaining ingredients. The dough should be sticky, but if you need more flour, just add a little at a time. Be careful: too much flour will result in dry bread.
    • Switch to a dough hook (if you have one) and allow the mixer to knead the dough for around 10 minutes, just until soft. The dough will still feel a little tacky to the touch, but will be able to slowly drop off the hook.
    • Cover the dough and leave to proof (until it has doubled in size - usually about an hour).
    • When the dough is ready, knock it back, and on a floured surface, form into a rough ball.

    Both Methods:

    • Roll out the dough until you have a rectangle of around 37cm x 52cm (have the shorter side facing you).
    • Spread the butter evenly over the dough, leaving a narrow edge (around 1cm) all the way round.
    • Combine the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter, using your fingers to evenly distributed the mixture.
    • Carefully begin to roll up the dough, pulling it fairly taut as you roll.
    • Place the dough, seam side down, and cut into 12 rolls.
    • Pop the rolls on a lined baking tray or in a greased tin, allowing for a little space in between. Cover the dish or tray with a tea-towel.
    • If baking immediately: pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400℃. Cover the buns with a tea-towel, and leave them to rest for around 30 minutes.
    • Overnight buns:  cover the buns with clingfilm and place in the fridge. In the morning, pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400℃ and allow the buns to come up to room temperature (I usually sit the dish on top of my oven as it's heating up).
    • When ready to bake, sprinkle with the chocolate chunks.
    • Bake for around 20-25 minutes.


    • Allow the buns to cool for a while.
    • Prepare the frosting by mixing the milk and vanilla essence together, then add as much icing sugar as needed to make a thick paste.
    • Drizzle with a spoon, or pour over the buns and eat while still warm. Enjoy!


    1. I have made the dough using both a stand mixer and bread machine. Although I see no reason why you couldn't make the dough by hand, I have not personally tried it.
    2. You can use spelt or regular flour for this recipe (just use the same amount).
    3. In Sweden we have something called dried yeast. It is used both in warm liquid to proof and also added directly to flour. I am aware that the US has two options for dried yeast, and I believe dry active yeast is the most similar to our dried yeast.
    I have converted grams to cups/ounces/tablespoons using online converters. Although I have no reason to believe they are inaccurate, please be aware that I have not made the recipe with imperial measurements.
    In addition, many ingredients are different in Europe compared to North America. I do all I can to offer possible alternatives and to ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone. However, results cannot always be guaranteed if you have not used the same ingredients, measurements or methods as me.
    Lastly, I do everything I can to ensure that my recipes (and instructions) are accurate and easy to follow. However, I am human, and don't always get it right. If you notice anything strange, a mistake, or even a typo, please let me know in the comments.
    Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla IcingChocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla IcingChocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla IcingChocolate Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Icing

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