If you are not drooling right now looking at that cinnamon bun, we can no longer be friends. Ok I’m kidding, but seriously who doesn’t love a giant, gooey, warm, cinnamon bun slathered in icing?
I made these last weekend for breakfast, and if I didn’t stash some away they would have been gone within an hour of making them! As delicious as cinnamon rolls are, I have been on a quest to find the perfect one. A cinnamon roll to put all others to shame. After three months of trials and many failures, I finally made the ultimate cinnamon bun. Fluffy, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness that is packed with a thick, sweet, cinnamon swirl and topped with creamy icing. Oh so delicious!
Part of the guidelines on my quest for the perfect cinnamon roll was they had to be made with all whole wheat flour and refined sugar free, while tasting just as good as their white flour and sugar counterparts. I have to admit after a few failed attempts I thought it was impossible. After many sickly looking, rock-hard rolls, I finally found the magical balance of ingredients that made my dream cinnamon roll a reality!
The addition of vital wheat gluten played a huge part in the successful texture of these rolls. What is vital wheat gluten? It is concentrated wheat protein that helps give elasticity and a higher rise to breads and baked goods. The reason this helps is that whole wheat flour contains the germ and bran of the wheat seed, both of which have sharp edges that slash the natural gluten in the flour while kneading. This is why it is hard to get whole wheat flour to rise as high as white flour. I recently began experimenting with vital wheat gluten and it is a game changer if you want to bake with whole wheat flour.
To make these divine cinnamon rolls refined sugar free I used maple syrup to sweeten the dough and the cashew-based icing. I wanted to make a more substantial filling than just sprinkling the dough with cinnamon and sugar, so I soaked and blended dates with almond butter and cinnamon to make a cinnamon paste that I liberally spread on the dough. I love how the filling is so simple and healthy, yet decedent!
These make a great lazy weekend breakfast. Actually, they are a great idea to make just about any time of the day or night. I will leave you on this fine Friday morning with these cinnamon buns and a hope that I just made your weekend breakfast 🙂
Vanishing Cinnamon Rolls
yield: 10-11 large rolls
For the dough:
3 cups spelt flour
2 Tbsps vital wheat gluten
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed
2 Tbsps maple syrup
2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 egg (I used a flax-egg)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
15 dates, pitted and soaked for 15 minutes
1/3 cup almond butter
2 Tbsps cinnamon
2 tsps vanilla extract
For the Icing:
1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
6 Tbsps maple syrup, or to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbsp water, as needed for desired thickness
To make the dough: Add yeast and maple syrup to the warm almond milk and let proof for 10 minutes. While waiting for the yeast to proof, add flour, wheat gluten, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to the base of a food processor and whisk together. Add yeast mixture, egg, vanilla extract, and coconut oil and mix until a dough forms. Using dough hook, or hands, knead dough for 5-7 minutes. This dough does not require time to rise; you can roll it out and bake it directly after kneading.
To make the filling: Drain the dates and add them to the base of a food processor or high speed blender. Process dates until they begin to form a paste (about 15-20 seconds), scraping down the sides as necessary. Add almond butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Process until a thick, smooth paste forms.
To make icing: Drain cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with the maple syrup and vanilla. Blend until smooth, adding more maple syrup to taste. If the icing is too thick, add water in teaspoon increments until desired consistency is reached.
To assemble the cinnamon rolls: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Generously spread the filling over the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch plain around the edges. Starting from one of the long sides, roll the dough into a log and gently pinch along the seam to secure the dough. Slice the dough about 2 inches thick and place them spiral up in a greased pan right next to each other (even if you can fit them spread out).
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the rolls are nice and puffy. Pour icing on and serve warm.
If you are not eating them all immediately, keep the icing off the ones you are going to store and once completely cool, store them in the fridge for up to a week. The icing keeps well in the refrigerator as well, just stir before using because it will begin to separate.