Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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!

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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?

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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 :)

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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.

Easy Healthier Cinnamon Rolls

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?!?!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 1 hr 30 min
Cook time: 25-30 min
Servings: 10 cinnamon rolls

The Players: 

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

The Rules: 

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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).
  6. 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 ;)
  7. Use the wax paper to help tightly roll the dough into a wheel.  (Note: Roll the longer side so you form a cylinder shape)
  8. 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)
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F and allow the cinnamon rolls to rise while the oven is preheating.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15 minutes.
  11. 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)
  12. 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.

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