I first developed this recipe back in 2011. I was craving one of those gooey buns I remembered from back in the day. I thought I had mastered this recipe and then went ahead and included a variation of it in my first book, UnDiet. I had made them a few times since and, shamefully, never had amazing results. I feared this may have been the case for many of you, so I spent some time recently playing with the recipe because, well, aren't we all baking these days?
Below I have provided my updated recipe, and here is an update to the whole post.
My cinnamon obsession began back around 1994 or 1995. High school. (Yeah, go ahead and do the math. I'm 40, proud and letting the greys fly.) When I took the bus to and from my high school, I had to pass through Toronto's Yonge & Eglinton subway station. Inside the station was a Cinnabon bakery. It still might be there. I'm pretty sure it's been about 20 years since I went through there. For those of you who live outside the 48 countries where Cinnabons are now located (note: when I first wrote this, they were just topping 30 countries. I slowly shake my head), or managed to avoid shopping malls your whole life (and for that I would envy you); Cinnabon is the sweetest smelling cinnamon bun bakery there ever was. They are steamy hot, oooey, gooey, chewy, sugary and dripping in the sweetest icing.
Passing through the subway station, smelling these at 3:30pm, feeling extremely fatigued after a day under the fluorescent school lights, was torture.
Cinnamon buns have always been a weak point for me but gluten and white sugar (and whatever else is likely in them aside from actual cinnamon) is on my non-negotiable never-ever list. I highly recommend, by the way, making a never-ever list and sticking to it. By doing that, you're instantly removing any and all should you or shouldn't you negotiations with yourself, and simultaneously eliminating loads of decision-making.
For example, if you decide that you are not touching processed sugar (white, cane, brown, etc.), then just like that you're wiping out most of the foods that we all know we'd be better off with less of or none.
Anyway, we've gone off track a little.
I am not a fan of nutrition labels as for the most part, ingredients mean way more, but I thought I'd share the nutritional profile of a Cinnabon:
Nutrition Profile of a Cinnabon
- Calories: 880
- Total Fat: 36g
- Total Carbohydrates: 127g
- Dietary Fiber: 2g
Now, you're probably looking at that total fat and thinking nasty thoughts about those smart Cinnabon people for blowing the sweet cinnamon and sugar into the air as you walk by. But check out the calories from carbohydrates. In a single classic Cinnabon, there are 58 grams of straight-up sugar. That's the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of sugar, or a little over a quarter of a cup.
Needless to say, the smell has long since become nauseating and chemical to me, and my search for something easy to make and delicious without making me want to barf and take a nap from sugar overload is what inspired me to take a look at my own cinnamon roll recipe- and give her the old one-two update to make it more moist and easier to roll.
Keep in mind that as a gluten-free and yeast-free roll, you won't see the thick, cakey, gooeyness that you might be accustomed to from the processed variety, but this will absolutely hit that cinnamon roll craving.
I wanted this treat to be free of any other garbage vegan ingredients like vegan-margarine, shortening, or other oil cocktails. Of course, I also wanted the rolls to be made with unprocessed flours, unprocessed sweetener, and a bonus would be a recipe that is egg-free so my son could enjoy too. I also worked out a super easy and creamy icing that is the perfect addition.
These fibre-rich, just sweet enough, whole food-based cinnamon buns are amazing. Really, very, very amazing. You might be the type to go for icing, but I go for some organic butter or a few slices of sheep cheese.
Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- I cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup arrowroot starch
- ¾ cup oat flour
- 3 Tbsp psyllium
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sweet potato, coarsely chopped and steamed (should make about ¾ cup puréed)
- 1 cup applesauce
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, softened to the consistency of room temperature butter
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- ⅓ cup raisins and/or chocolate chips (optional)
- ½ cup coconut butter
- 2 Tbsp (more or less) maple syrup to taste
- In a large bowl, sift together chickpea flour, rice flour, arrowroot starch, oat flour, psyllium, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In your blender or food processor, combine steamed sweet potato, applesauce, maple syrup, and coconut oil and blend until very smooth. Wipe down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix with a fork, scraping the sides.
- Pop dough in the fridge for an hour.
- Mix your cinnamon, sugar and coconut oil together in a small bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease an 11- x 9-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle with brown rice flour. Set aside.
- Cover your work surface with parchment paper.
- Place the dough onto the work surface. If the dough is still too sticky, sprinkle with a little more flour. Note that too much flour will make the rolls dense and dry.
- Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough, and use a rolling pin to form a rectangular shape about ⅓ inch thick, with the longer edge parallel to the counter.
- Spread the filling mixture generously over entire surface of the dough rectangle.
- Grasp the edge of the parchment paper farthest from you and roll the dough inwards to create a long snake of cinnamon roll. Use the parchment to help roll, as grasping at the dough could cause tearing.
- With a sharp knife, cut slices about 2–3 inches (5–8 cm) thick. (Wetting the knife in hot water can help it slide through easier)
- Place slices close together in the glass baking dish. The closer they are packed, the more moist the rolls will be. Bake for 20–30 minutes.
- Serve warm or allow to cool, and store airtight in the freezer for one month.
- Over low heat, melt the coconut butter until creamy and smooth. Stir in maple syrup a little at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.
- Pour over cinnamon rolls before serving.
Enjoy these Cinnamon Buns with: