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Spiced Chocolate-Orange Knots

Your handy muffin pan and some crafty shaping are key to these mesmerizing knots. Filled with an inviting mix of cocoa, orange zest, cinnamon, and clove, these sweet treats are the perfect edible adornment for any holiday table.

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Spiced Chocolate-Orange Knots Video Tutorial

Watch video above for a step-by-step tutorial. Scroll down for printable recipe.

Platinum Yeast enhances the strength of this soft dough. It’s better baking made easy! Watch the video for lots of tips and tricks.

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Knead dough until the gluten window is achieved. Cover and let rise.

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Make the delicious spiced chocolate-orange filling. (Taste testing before spreading over the dough is completely optional, but we highly recommend!)

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots
Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Fold dough in thirds, letter-style, over filling and cut in half. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Rolling chocolate dough

Now it’s time to shape the knots!

Baker rolling dough knots

After rising, it’s time to bake! Place on wire rack to cool; dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Enjoy eating these with family or friends. Perfect for a holiday breakfast, and easy enough for any day!

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Spiced Chocolate-Orange Knots

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots
Your handy muffin pan and some crafty shaping are key to these mesmerizing knots. Filled with an inviting mix of cocoa, orange zest, cinnamon, and clove, these sweet treats are the perfect edible adornment for any holiday table.
Yield 14 rolls




  • 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups (406 to 469g) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup (55g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (0.25oz) package (7g) Platinum Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240g) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) tightly packed orange zest
  • 1 (50g) large egg, room temperature


  • 6 tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature (see Note1)
  • 1/3 cup (73g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (6g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon packed orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Egg Wash

  • 1 (50g) large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) water


  • Confectioners' sugar


  • For dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (125g) flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt at low speed just until combined.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine milk, butter, and orange zest. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg; beat at medium-highspeed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 1/4 cups (281g) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  • Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, elastic dough forms, 6 to 12 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook; add up to remaining 1/2 cup (63g) flour, 1 tablespoon (8g) at a time, if dough is too sticky. (Dough may still stick slightly to bottom and sides of bowl. Dough should pass the windowpane test; see Notes2.) Turnout dough onto a clean surface, and shape into a ball.
  • Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Punch down dough; cover and let stand for10 minutes.
  • For filling: In a medium bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, and salt with a silicone spatula until well combined.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 24×12½-inch rectangle with one long side closest to you. Using a small offset spatula, dot filling on top of dough, and spread into an even layer. Fold dough in thirds lengthwise, wiping hands clean as needed; roll or shape dough into a 25×4-inch rectangle. Cut dough in half crosswise to create 2 (12½x4-inch) rectangles; wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough rectangle into a 12½x4-inch rectangle, if needed. Using a sharp knife, trim 2inches off cut sides (all from one side or 1 inch from each side; see Notes3) to yield an even rectangle with clean edges. Cut rectangle into 7 (4×1½-inch) strips; cut each strip in thirds lengthwise, leaving about ½ inch of dough intact at one end. Braid dough strands, and pinch ends together. Turn braid with prettiest, cleanest side facing downward. Starting at short side with dough intact, roll up dough braid, jelly roll style. Wipe hands and surface clean as needed. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Spray 14 wells of 2 standard muffin pans with baking spray with flour. Place rolled dough in wells with loose end tucked under; cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed and dough holds an indentation when poked, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg and water. Brush tops of rolls with egg wash. 
  • Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking and loosely covering with foil during last 2 minutes of baking to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes. Carefully remove from pans, and serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.


  1. Unlike softened butter, room temperature butter should provide no resistance when pressed with a finger. At this point, the butter is softened enough to easily mix into filling and spread over dough.
  2. To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a “windowpane.” If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat 1 minute more, and test again.
  3. Don’t toss any tasty trimmings! Instead, shape scraps into fun coils, twists, or braids, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, proof, and then bake as desired.
Recipe by Brian Hart Hoffman

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Brian Hart Hoffman
Editor-in-Chief, Bake from Scratch

Spiced Chocolate Orange Knots

Brian Hart Hoffman is the editor-in-chief of Bake from Scratch magazine and made his way to baking through his love for travel and a previous career as a flight attendant. After years of traveling, stopping in bakeries all over the world, and returning home with a mission to recreate the baked goods he fell in love with, he took that same passion and launched a brand dedicated to the celebration of the global baking community. Bake from Scratch has grown into one of the world’s largest baking platforms, with magazines and best-selling cookbooks, a podcast (The Crumb), in-person baking retreats, and @thebakefeed on Instagram, where there are hours of Brian’s baking video content. Brian is a frequent guest on television shows all over the country and has appeared on Today, Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family, and is currently hosting Williams Sonoma’s Baking School with weekly online classes. His mission to bake the world a better place brings frequent efforts to end childhood hunger in partnership with No Kid Hungry and other hunger relief organizations.

Review & Comments

Michelle | Reply

Absolutely delicious! Great video for shaping. Much appreciated

Skippy | Reply

Can these be hand kneaded?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Skippy – This can be mixed and kneaded by hand, although it is much easier to use a stand mixer with enriched doughs due to the long kneading time required.
Happy baking!

Olivia | Reply

Is there a stage where this dough can be frozen for baking at a later date? I’d love to make now & freeze for cold days ahead!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Olivia – We don’t recommend freezing during the process because it will damage the yeast and dough structure which will affect the quality of the final baked product. To break up some of the prep, you could make the dough the day before and refrigerate overnight. This will make for the best possible end product to enjoy with your loved ones. The knots also freeze well – simple let them cool completely after baking, then wrap air-tight in plastic wrap then place in a freezer zipper bag.
I hope you will find this information helpful.
Happy baking!

How to make Spiced Chocolate-Orange Twisted Loaves | Red Star® Yeast | Reply

[…] Spiced Chocolate-Orange Knots recipe and video for detailed dough-making step-by-step […]

breatrice goodman | Reply

Very yummy looking… will make it with chocolate or nutella.

Lynn Mertz | Reply

Sound so delicious. This is a must make recipe. YUM

Anne Auger | Reply

5 stars
Merci pour vos recettes appétissantes!

Catherine | Reply

Just wanted to say after using any of your yeasts a few years ago I definitely had to switch from my other one.
I’m definitely going to make these knots they look amazing.

Ioana | Reply

Will it work with Nutella and/or Pistachio spread?

Because they do look amazing

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Yes, that sounds delicious, Ioana! Let us know how it turns out.
Happy baking!

Kimberly Wood | Reply

These knots look different yet delicious. I wanna try these.

Jerri | Reply

These knots look amazing. I wonder how they would taste cooked over a bed of red hot coals? The touch of smoke will add a little something.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Sounds interesting! Let us know if you try it!


Are your gluten-free recipes in a single place? Would love to make some
of these recipes for my GF daughter-in-law.

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Carol,
Yes, we have a gluten-free category in our recipes
Happy baking!

Mengna | Reply

5 stars
I made this recipe, turned out great .. golden crispy outside, chewy and soft in the middle.

elisa springsteen | Reply

Looks like a lovely addition to my holiday baking!

Ronda Owens | Reply

I cannot wait to try these knots!!

cookies62 | Reply

Another recipe that I need to add to my “to make” list

Loraine w | Reply

I can not wait to try these. My mind is racing as to different fillings.
What other variations are there?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Loraine,
You can get creative with your favorite fillings – the sky is the limit! 🙂 Let us know what you decide to make.
Happy baking!

Laura | Reply

Would baking these be okay on a sheet pan? I haven’t had much luck baking bread in my 24-cup muffin pan. The bottoms brown much quicker than the tops. By the time tops are brown the bottoms are near burnt. Thank you!

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Laura,
Yes, just keep an eye on your knots as bake times may vary.
Happy baking!


I’m a baker so I know that this recipe will come out perfect. I also like the braiding of the knots, which I have done with my cinnamon rolls in the past.
Nice work!

Nadine Dunker | Reply

5 stars
Cannot wait to try the Cinnamon Orange Knots. The instructions are wonderful. Have a hunch this will be a neighbors gift for the holidays.

Mary A Tyler | Reply

Hi, Can I use the dough cycle in a bread machine to start these beautiful rolls? Mary

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Mary,
We developed using a stand mixer, but don’t see why not as long as ingredients can be added at appropriate increments. Mixing time may also vary. Make sure dough passes the window pane test.
Happy baking!

Belva Wallace | Reply

I love this yeast, it is so easy to work with and it works great on everything I have used it on. I haven’t made this but I am going to for Christmas it looks delicious.

Kristen | Reply

I couldn’t find the platinum yeast in store but did find red star organic instant yeast. Should I add the whole pack (9g) or use the 7g as listed?

Red Star Yeast | Reply

Hi Kristen – Yes, use the full packet of organic yeast. More information on this product can be found here.
Happy baking!

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