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Red Velvet Chocolate Rolls

Are you red-velveted out yet? My family is. They'll be just fine not seeing another red velvet dessert for the next year. My mom in particular is grossed out by the bright, bloody color and annoyed by how it stains everything within a five mile radius. I promised her that this would be the last red velvet recipe for a while. Well, I went out with a bang, because my dear mama LOVED these rolls.

I had her taste them when I took them out the oven, and before I could ask her if she liked them, she was helping herself to seconds...and then thirds. Her favorite part: the cream cheese frosting. I don't blame her, it is pretty fabulous. I use it on my classic Cinnabon cinnamon rolls too. But let's take a look at what makes up the rest of these rolls.

The rolls themselves are made out of...wait for it....cake mix! Yes, not only can you make cookies out of cake mix, but you can also make cinnamon rolls. #MINDBLOWN. I discovered this after seeing Shelly make her caramel apple cinnamon rolls a few months ago. Since then, I've had the idea in my head to create another awesome flavor. It wasn't long before I pronounced that awesome flavor as red velvet.

But I didn't want to do a traditional cinnamon filling. I thought outside the box AKA took a poll on Facebook, and decided that they would be even better with a chocolate filling. Oh yes. People don't really give chocolate and red velvet that much credit, but let me tell you, it is a stellar combination.

So, in conclusion, what you have here is a super fluffy, red velvet roll with a sweet chocolate filling and a crazy addictive cream cheese frosting. Put those stretchy pants on and get ready to indulge!

Red Velvet Chocolate Rolls

Yield: 24 rolls
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For the dough:
4 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 and 1/2 cups warm water
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 16.5oz box red velvet cake mix
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cream cheese frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons butter), softened
pinch of vanilla powder (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast and water, and stir together to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow yeast to rise. Once yeast is foamy, add vanilla, salt, cake mix, and 3 cups of flour. Stir together on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and gradually pour in the rest of the flour, kneading until a soft dough forms. You may need to turn the dough out on a work surface and knead it with your hands to gather it up into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, cover tightly, and set aside in a warm place to rise. After 1 hour, punch down the dough. Then let it rise again, for about 45 minutes.

Butter two 13x9-inch baking dishes. In a medium sized bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter.  Set aside.

Turn dough out onto a large, generously floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 24x17 inches in size. Evenly spread sugar mixture over the surface of the dough.

Starting from the edge of the dough closest to you, gently roll the dough up into a tight log. Score the dough at every inch, then use those marks to evenly slice your dough into 24 rolls. (This is the best method of slicing cinnamon rolls).

Place rolls into prepared baking dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the rolls comes out clean.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a medium-sized bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually pour in powdered sugar, beating until just incorporated. Then, increase speed to high, and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until frosting gets lighter in color.

Once you remove the rolls from the oven, immediately drizzle with frosting. Serve warm, or reheat before serving.

Note: My rolls look rather large because I cut them thicker than normal. If you choose to do this, you will have to bake them for longer.

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