Minka's Rolls (Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls)

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I finished reading "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult on my way to San Francisco. This is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time. It's so easy get consumed in the story and start developing a relationship with the characters. The story begins with a baker (Sage) who befriends Josef Weber (a camp supervisor at Auschwitz) and later reveals a startling connection with a lady named Minka (Sage's grandmother) who survives Auschwitz and tells the horrors she endured during the Holocaust.

“If you've lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it, and if you didn't - you will never understand.”

It's a historical fiction exploring the Holocaust, not a new topic to most of us, nevertheless it was a thought provoking book with so many layers of events and people. It's a story about forgiveness, identity, and justice. I won't spoil the story for you but instead I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

At the very end, I am also sharing a recipe from this book called "Minka's Rolls". Minka's father baked these special chocolate-cinnamon rolls for her. These rolls are pivotal throughout the book..her father's love and secrets are expressed through the rising, shaping, and baking of loaves. Please read the notes section before making these rolls. 

 
“If you had to pack your whole life into a suitcase-not just the practical things, like clothing, but the memories of the people you had lost and the girl you had once been-what would you take?”
 
"Not all Jews were victims and not all Germans were murderers".
 
“I realize I do believe in people. In their strength to help each other, and to thrive in spite of the odds. I believe that the extraordinary trumps the ordinary,any day. I believe that having something to hope for-even if its just a better tomorrow-is the most powerful drug on this planet.”

Minka’s Rolls (From Jodi Picoult's book-The Story Teller)

Ingredients
1/2 cups warm milk (110 degrees F) 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1/2 cup sugar*, plus a pinch 1 large egg, room temperature 1 large egg yolk 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter**  plus more for bowl and muffin tin ¼ pound bittersweet chocolate***, finely chopped 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions - Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Mix in yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

- In a bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. - In the bowl combine flour and salt then pour it over the egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated. - Change to the dough hook. Add 3 tablespoons butter, and knead on low speed until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, about 8-10 minutes. 
Butter a large bowl and place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Set aside in a warm place to rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
- For the filling, combine butter, cinnamon, and chocolate in a food processor and pulse to together. Set it aside. - Once dough has doubled, turn on to a well floured surface and deflate. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. - With a rolling pin, roll dough into large rectangle shape. Sprinkle filling over dough; roll the dough into a log and slice into 2’ pieces.
- Place each slice in muffin cup. Cover muffin tin with plastic and let sit for 15-20 minutes or until dough rises slightly. - Pre-heat oven to 350 and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
Notes: * In the books, it directs you to add 1/2 cup sugar to be incorporated in the batter and later again asks to add the remaining 1/2 cup in the filling. This was a typo I think because it I saw in another recipe online (later obviously) that it should have been 1/4 cup with the batter and the remaining 1/4 cup in the filling. That could be a reason for my overly sticky, hard to handle dough. The rolls weren't overly sweet though.   **The recipe does not specify melted or soft butter. I used melted butter and I think soft butter would have been better. *** I added two more ounces of chocolate and additional a teaspoon of cinnamon because I felt like it needed more.   I would have preferred to bake it in a baking sheet rather than a muffin tray because it didn't bake evenly hence you can see the bottom is little dark but actually the final rolls turned out pretty good..Simply pop it in the toaster oven next day and it will be soft as fresh. I shared it with my co-worker and both she and her boyfriend really enjoyed it too. 

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Have you guys read "The Storyteller"? What are you guys reading lately?