In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in a ¼ cup of hot milk and set aside.
In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 2 to 3 hours.
To quick rise the dough:
Place an 8-ounce cup of hot water into the microwave and heat on high for 3 minutes to moisten the oven.
Remove the mug and place the bowl with the dough into the microwave and heat on its lowest setting (10% power) for 3 minutes.
Let the dough rest in the microwave for 3 minutes.
Heat the dough (still on it's lowest setting) for another 3 minutes and let the dough rest in the microwave for 5 minutes.
While the dough rests, prepare the caramel.
For the caramel:
Combine the sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until it becomes a light caramel color.
Add the butter, salt & cream stir until smooth. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla.
Set aside to cool slightly, then pour into a microwave-safe baking pan. (I used an 8-inch square).
Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle.
Spread melted butter all over the dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough and then scatter with chocolate chips.
Beginning at the 15-inch side, roll up the dough and pinch the edge together to seal. Cut into 10 - 12 slices.
Preheat the oven to 350f/175c
Place the buns on the pan with the caramel leaving a bit of room for the second rise (about 2 inches). Repeat the rising instructions with the buns in the pan until doubled in size.
Bake on 350f for 20 - 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before flipping onto a serving tray and serve warm.
If using the quick rise method please check your microwave owner’s manual to see if proofing is recommended. Or use the tips in the post to check yourself.
Using a bread maker: If youprefertouse a bread maker to make the dough, just add the yeast first, then the flour, the dry ingredients, and top with the wet ingredients. Use the dough function. When the cycle ends, punch the dough down and go to the rolling step. You’ll have to do the second rise in the traditional way.