Monday, June 3, 2013

Chocolate Bear Claw Ring

I think it's par for the course for every food blogger to self deprecatingly point out their first blog post. I seriously don't get why we do that. I don't show you those embarrassing glasses that I had in third grade, now do I? I see how it's inspiring for bloggers who are starting out  now to see a before and after of your work, but still. Let's keep the dirty laundry in the hamper, shall we? That being said, it happens to be that bear claws were one of my first posts. Well definitely one of my first "hit" posts. And yes, I cringe every time I look at the pictures. But, that's not why I'm bringing this up. For some reason I feel like the recipe wasn't written clearly. It's even hard for me to follow it when I print it out to make it again. I was pretty new to blogging back then, and still standing on wobbly knees. Nowadays, I feel waaaay more confident (a little too confident, some may say) so I thought it would be a great time to bring back this baby and bump it up a notch.

Danish Rings: 
Gorgeous, round yeast dough cakes that dominate Pinterest right around the holiday season.  Every time I see one, I think "Wow, that would be beyond awesome using the bear claw recipe. Like mind blowingly awesome." So who can guess when is the best time to make mind blowingly awesome cake? Hmm? Any takers? When my sister comes to town! She really needs a nickname. I think I shall call her Our Newest Addition. She of the Lost in Brooklyn story. Maybe I should call her Lost in Brooklyn? No, that just sounds like a song. Ok, moving along. Yes, that is the perfect time to give it whirl, and lo and behold, I was correct (as usual.) Seriously, this stuff is crazy. There is a reason why I make bear claws once every two years- I EAT ALL OF THEM. And I'm really not embarrassed to tell you that. It's that good.
Chocolate Bear Claw Ring
This recipe does have a few steps, but don't let it scare you. I actually find it easier to make this than cinnamon buns. It can really be divided up over 2 days-you can even freeze the chocolate cake and make the ring two weeks later. It also helps that you can refrigerate the yeast dough overnight and assemble the next day.

Yeast dough
3/4 cup milk, rice or soy work fine
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup margarine or butter, sliced into 1/2'' cubes
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast (each package is 2 1/4 teaspoons, so here you would need 4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 eggs
4 3/4 cup flour

Heat milk until bubbles form around the edge, remove from heat. Add sugar, salt and margarine. Stir until margarine melts. Let cool. In a separate large bowl, add warm water and yeast. Let sit until yeast dissolves. Add the milk mixture, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat with electric mixture for two minutes. Add rest of the flour using a spoon, mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with foil and refrigerate for 2 hours. (Not terrible if you do not have time to refrigerate- it just makes the dough easier to work with because its a very soft dough.) Dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to three days.

Chocolate Filling
One recipe chocolate cake, baked and cooled. I use this one. Not just for this, I use it for everything.
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups milk (again, soy or rice works fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips- I actually forgot to put it in this time, and you really could not tell the difference.

Combine all the filling ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor fitted with the "s-blade" Process on high until it has a smooth, spreadable, paste-like consistency.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide dough in half. Roll out the first half on floured surface, into an approximate 9''x18'' rectangle. Spread filling over the dough as smoothly as possible. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down. Now, here you can roll it up a few different ways. I tried one on each ring, and they both came out beautiful. You can either roll it straight like cinnamon buns, just make sure to keep it nice and tight. You can also fold over about 2-3 inches of dough, and continue folding, so the roll is more flat than round. Both looked very nice.  Connect the ends of the roll, and pinch together as much as possible. Transfer to a lined baking sheet. Once it's on the baking sheet, you can fix up the shape to a more round circle. Now for the fun part: Using a sharp, serrated knife, slice "cuts" around the perimeter of the ring. You should cut down all the way to the bottom of the ring, but only about half way to the middle. Does that make sense? Please email me if you need that clarified, or leave a comment. To give the ring a little flare, I twisted each cut, so that the middle part, with the chocolate, is facing up.  Repeat with remaining dough. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool.

Chocolate Glaze (do not skip this step!)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup mini chocolate chips, for garnish (Yep, I forgot these too.)
Combine the glaze ingredients, except for the mini chocolate chips, in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir and transfer to a ziploc bag. Snip off the corner and drizzle over cooled ring. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. The rings freeze great, but there is absolutely nothing in the world like a bear claw fresh out of the oven. Well, I'm sure there are other things, but I'm trying not to think about it. I'm on a diet.

Ok, now because you guys are my friends (I hope?) or at least my husband,mother and sister-in-law,  I'd like to point out the difference between these pictures. :
Both pictures were snapped as the cakes were cooling on the counter: No natural light set up or anything, just my camera set on manual. As a matter of fact, the new picture was taken under our dining room light fixture, which is completely yellow, and at night. I think years of taking pictures helped improve my angle and composition, and learning more about white light and light balance has helped me edit the pictures better. Just an FYI for anyone wondering.

Keeping it real,
                   Have a great week!


  1. Yum! I actually don't like baking but this recipe might be worth it!

  2. WOW. i am drooling at my desk and now i am craving these! it is your moral obligation (being that i am one of your two friends) to send some over to this hungry lady ASAP!!

  3. I don't get how to roll it!!! I know the cinnamon roll type, but what is the other way?

    1. Ok, so it's more like folding than rolling. It's actually not rolling at all! Imagine if you take a paper, and fold it in three so you can put it in an envelope- it's the same idea, except you just fold it up as much as it goes- it might be more than three folds. So you won't end up with a tube of dough like with cinnamon buns, more like a flat rope. Does that help?

  4. Wow it'd been that long since the first blog post.

  5. YAY ! I finally was zoche to a name. Not bad :) I guess you can't be too sick of me then.... can't wait to see you again! love, your Newest Addition a.k.a lost in brooklyn
    ( though i hope we don't get lost this time :))
    btw- it tasted even better then it looks if thats even possible :)

  6. YUM!!!! That looks heavenly!! Could you make this with your cinnamon version as well? I think I am gaining weight just looking at it!

    1. Sure! I'm sure if you make this with basic cinnamon buns it would be great too!

    2. Is the "cake part suPposed to be flourless or did I miss something?

    3. Hi, I am not sure which part of the recipe you are referring to- the yeast dough has 4 3/4 cup flour listed, and the filling requires any recipe of chocolate cake. I posted a link in the list of ingredients. Other than the cake, there is no flour in the filling. Please let me know if you have any more questions!

  7. That looks delicious! Even the "old" bear claws, lol.

  8. yummmmm! i think i will try this! do you mix the paste filling with the chocolate cake and then you spread that on the yeast dough? or you first spread the paste and then lay the chocolate cake on top? How thick should that layer be?

  9. The chocolate cake is part of the filling ingredients: You mix everything together in the food processor. It should be about the consistency of peanut butter.

  10. THANKS TONS FOR THIS RECIPE! i made it this past Friday and it came out AMAZING! I can't remember what bear claws from Zemans taste like, but these really hit the spot! Thanks again for all your amazing recipes and of course fabulous photography!!

  11. This is so yummy and wanna grab some of this. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe♥
    cakes bakery in Brooklyn

  12. This sound delicious. I would like to try this definitely.

  13. I made this chocolate version-delish! I had some leftover lemon cake from a cut-out cake I made for someone. I used that with the other filling ingredients (and added a little extra lemon extract to the filling), left out the cocoa and it looks beautiful...I'll serve it at our oneg tonight and see how my kids like it!


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