Let me just say that I love 3-day weekends! Today is President’s Day and one of the many perks of working at a Federal Hospital is getting to take those Federal Holidays off. Everyone deserves a little personal time. Part of me feels guilty that Andrew had to work, but the other part is doing a celebratory dance because I was able to spend an entire day doing what I wanted. I slept-in, cleaned, did laundry, made dinner, went on a 9 mile run, walked Teek, and blogged :) I think the world would be a better place if there were more 3-day weekends…just saying!
Okay now for the fun stuff –recipe time. Cinnabon® cinnamon rolls are a treat that I used to enjoy when I had long layovers at airports or during a particularly difficult work shift, when I worked at the mall in high school. Let’s be honest…those cinnamon rolls are finger-licking good. They are so rich, fluffy, and gooey. But they definitely come with a high-calorie price tag.
Don’t get me wrong, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too. I am one of those individuals that works out religiously so I can eat whatever I want. I am a lover of all foods and definitely indulge; however, I try to eat fairly healthy throughout the work week so I can splurge on the weekends.
Due to this philosophy I am constantly trying to create a healthier version of a not-so-healthy recipe. I work in the Digestive Disease Center and am constantly impressed by the patients that adapt their diet due to food intolerances. So I decided to create a dairy-free cinnamon roll recipe. I know…what was I thinking?
But they turned out pretty great! I actually even brought some of the cinnamon rolls out to the bar with me (yep, I am that girl). My girlfriend saw the picture and told me I was not allowed to leave the house without a roll or two for her. Her husband was shocked when he realized he was eating a healthier version of a cinnamon roll. I’d say with a response like that, this a successful twist on a recipe :)
I use whole wheat flour for my recipe and almond milk, but you can substitute white flour and any non-dairy milk (or regular milk if dairy is not an issue for you). I stuck with the healthy coconut theme that was in the dough and filling and carried it through for the icing too. I used coconut cream sweetened with honey. It was a great substitute for the usual sugar-packed icing other cinnamon roll recipes provide. Also don’t limit yourself by the filling ingredients below. You can get creative and add minced dates, raisins, orange zest…the possibilities are endless. I love nuts and pecans are so great in desserts so I went with pecans in half the rolls and plain for the remainder —next time I’m going all pecan.
If you need anymore convincing that these cinnamon rolls are thebomb.com I leave you with this: Andrew splurged and inhaled 4 cinnamon rolls after work one day. I seriously do not understand where he packs it in?!?!
Prep time: 1 hr 30 min
Cook time: 25-30 min
Servings: 10 cinnamon rolls
For the dough
2 3/4 C + extra whole wheat flour (alternatively use all purpose or cake flour)
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 packet instant yeast
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk (alternatively use soy or regular milk)
1/3 C coconut oil
For the filling:
2 T coconut oil, melted
1-2 T ground cinnamon
1/3 C granulated sugar
optional: 1/2 to 3/4 C pecans, roughly chopped
For the glaze:
1/4 C coconut cream
1 t honey
1 t ground cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 C flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, yeast. In a microwave heat coconut oil and almond milk for 1-2 minute, whisk to combine. (Note: temperature should be similar to bath water, not too hot or yeast may inactivate and not too cold or yeast won’t activate)
- Pour almond milk and coconut oil over dry ingredients and mix to form dough. Add remaining extra 1/4 C flour if needed; the dough should form a ball and be sticky. (Note: I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the bread dough hook attachment)
- Sprinkle flour on a flat surface and transfer dough to surface. Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, adding additional flour as needed. Form a ball with the dough. Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick cooking spray and place dough in the mixing bowl.
- Cover the bowl and place in a warm area for 1 hour. Allow the dough to double in size. (Note: I preheated the oven to 225 F and turned it off, then I placed the dough in the oven)
- Line a flat surface with wax paper, punch down on the dough and place on wax paper, using a rolling pin flatten dough and shape into a rectangle ~1/4 inch thick (~9 x 12 inch).
- Brush the surface of the dough with melted coconut oil. Sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and optional pecans evenly over surface. Be as generous as you would like with the filling ;)
- Use the wax paper to help tightly roll the dough into a wheel. (Note: Roll the longer side so you form a cylinder shape)
- Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 10 pieces. Transfer the cinnamon rolls to a greased 9-inch cake pan. (Note: I used coconut oil non-stick cooking spray)
- Preheat oven to 350 F and allow the cinnamon rolls to rise while the oven is preheating.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes.
- While your cinnamon rolls are cooling, prepare the icing. Place all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for ~5-10 seconds and stir to combine, adjust seasonings to desired sweetness. (Note: just microwave to soften coconut cream, you don’t want it to liquify)
- Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls and enjoy warm. Store in an air tight container and reheat cinnamon rolls in microwave for ~30 seconds to enjoy throughout the week.