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overhead image of baked and frosted cinnamon rolls in a round cake pan on a white wooden table with extra frosting set off to the side

Healthy-ish Cinnamon Rolls

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes + 2 hours proof time
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 9 rolls 1x
  • Category: Breakfast/Brunch
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Low Fat

Description

Tender and fluffy, these whole-wheat cinnamon rolls are naturally sweetened with coconut sugar and much lower in fat than classic cinnamon rolls. The best part—you’d never know they were healthier! 


Scale

Ingredients

Buns:

  • ¾ cup whole milk (185g), warmed (110ºF) + more for brushing 
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant- or rapid-rise yeast (one ¼-ounce package)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (57g), melted 
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk  (70g), beaten
  • 1 ½  cups unbleached all-purpose (187g; 6.6oz.)
  • 1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour (164g; 5.7oz.)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch (36g; 1.3oz)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Filling:

Frosting: 

  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (or confectioners’ sugar)
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

For the buns: add warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment; sprinkle yeast over top. Whisk together 4 tablespoons melted butter, honey, egg, and egg yolk; add to bowl with milk and yeast and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. 

Whisk together flours, cornstarch and salt; add to bowl with wet ingredients and mix on low until a dough comes together, 1–2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until a smooth, sticky dough comes together, about 8 minutes. 

(You can also use your hands by kneading the dough on a lightly-floured surface for 8–10 minutes.)

Transfer dough ball to an oiled bowl, cover bowl loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1–1½ hours, or until doubled in size. 

Meanwhile, grease a 9-inch round or square cake pan, line with parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper

Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out into a 14×9 inch rectangle with the long side parallel to the counter’s edge. 

Brush 1 tablespoon melted butter over dough, leaving ¼-inch border on farthest edge. 

For the filling, combine remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter with ¾ cup coconut sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Evenly sprinkle filling mixture over dough, leaving a ¼-inch border on farthest side. 

Using a bench scraper, loosen dough from counter and roll away from you into a tight log; pinch seam to seal. Roll log seam side down and cut into 9 equal; pieces using a serrated knife (or floss). 

Reshape rolls as needed. Place one roll in the center of the prepared cake pan, then place remaining rolls around perimeter of center roll, seam side facing in (if using a round cake pan). For a square cake pan, arrange rolls in rows. Cover pan loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise until dough springs back when gently pressed, 30–45 minutes 

Heat oven to 350ºF with rack set in middle position.

Brush rolls with milk and bake until buns are golden brown on the edges, 23–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile for the frosting, grind ¼ cup coconut sugar in a spice grinder to a powder. Beat together cream cheese, vanilla and salt, in stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add ground sugar and continue to beat until light and smooth.

Spread frosting over buns and serve.

 


Notes

If you want to take out the all-purpose flour to create 100% whole-wheat cinnamon rolls, go right ahead! Just make sure you are using whole-wheat pastry flour. Rolls made with 100% whole-wheat pastry flour will still be nice and fluffy, but they will be a bit more dense compared to the recipe as-written.

Storage: wrap leftovers in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Any longer, and store the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator.

Reheat cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 30 seconds or in a 300ºF oven until warmed through.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 roll
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 26g
  • Sodium: 312mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 59g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg

Keywords: cinnamon rolls, healthy cinnamon rolls, whole wheat cinnamon rolls