by Kelley Herring
I love every season of the year. Each one has its own special memories and activities to look forward to. But there is no season more nostalgic than the fall.
As the air begins to cool and the nights grow crisp… as the leaves turn brilliant shades of orange and red and yellow… as the logs crackle and burn in the fireplace… we can’t help but to be transported to times gone by.
We think of the Holidays spent with family… parties with friends… playing in the leaves… and the familiar smells and flavors wafting from the kitchen.
And there is probably no smell more reminiscent of fall than the warm and spicy aroma of cinnamon. Folded into pastry and drizzled with icing, it makes a delicious complement to a hot cup of coffee on a cold morning.
Unfortunately, cinnamon rolls and pastries are not the healthiest fare. And if you spend all winter eating them, you’ll need to loosen your waistband come spring.
Take a Cinnabon cinnamon roll for example. Those tasty treats that always seem to tempt our senses at the mall (I swear they must pump that smell through the vents!) can seriously harm your efforts to stay lean and healthy. At 880 calories apiece, they are loaded with white flour, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings.
Fortunately, there is a way to make delicious, moist and buttery cinnamon rolls with good-for-you ingredients like almond flour and coconut oil. And we’ve included a recipe below that you absolutely MUST try!
The recipe you’ll find below is also light on sugar, but has a bold, sweet cinnamon flavor… and the extra goodness of crunchy pecans and chewy raisins.
And while this recipe takes a little bit of time to prepare, it’s worth the trouble if you’re looking for a warm and spicy treat to serve for a holiday breakfast or weekend brunch. Topped with a delicious low-glycemic icing instead of the high sugar glaze you’ll normally find on a cinnamon roll, these will warm your heart all winter long. So, without further adieu, here’s how to make delicious (and healthy!)…
Making Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls (that are Low in Sugar Too!)
Before you begin, gather your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In addition the ingredients pictured below, you’ll need a few staples like salt and baking powder.
To start, put 3 cups of almond flour in a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar and two large eggs (at room temperature). It’s important that the eggs are room temperature, or you may get clumps in your coconut oil.
Next, add the egg mixture to the almond flour. Stir with a spatula until the dough is smooth. If it seems too wet, add more almond flour a tablespoon at a time.
Lay a sheet of parchment paper on your countertop and put the dough on top. Now, lay another sheet of parchment over the top.
Flatten the dough with your hands and then roll out until you have a rectangle that is about 9×13 inches and ½ inch thick.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raisins (chopped if you prefer), 2 tablespoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons coconut sugar. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over your rectangle of dough.
Now comes the tough part — rolling up your cinnamon rolls. The best way to do it is to very gently roll the short edge of the dough away from you, trying to keep your log as tight as you can without tearing the dough. Use the parchment paper to help you roll it. But be careful not to roll the parchment into the dough!
Once dough is rolled into a log, use your hands to ensure that the roll is a uniform in size and thickness. Your ends will probably be narrow, but that’s okay.
Using a sharp knife (serrated works too), slice the log into slices 2 inches thick. Lay them down on a parchment lined cookie sheet a few inches apart. Some of your filling might come out a bit, but that’s okay.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes, checking for the first time around 8 minutes or so. They should be lightly browned with soft centers. Be careful not to over bake. When they are done, let them cool on the pan to avoid breaking.
While the cinnamon rolls are in the oven, make the frosting by heating 1/4 cup canned, full fat coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Add your Frosting Starter Mix and stir until any crystals are dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir and remove from heat. The icing will thicken nicely as it cools and you’ll be able to drizzle it over the warmed cinnamon rolls.
One bite and you’ll agree that these will pair perfectly with a cup of coffee on a crisp fall weekend morning. And you won’t have to expand your waistband when it’s time to hit the beach or the lake in the spring!
- For the rolls:
- 3 cups blanched almond flour (plus 2 Tbs more if needed)
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
- 2 large room temperature pastured eggs
- For the filling:
- 2 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
- ½ cup organic raisins
- 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- For the icing
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Frosting Starter Mix
- Preheat heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda
- In a separate bowl, gently beat together the coconut oil, 2 T coconut sugar, and room temperature eggs. If the eggs are too cold, they might cause the coconut oil to harden.
- Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture, gently mixing to form a smooth dough.
- On a large piece of parchment paper, place the dough. Place another piece of parchment on top of the dough. Flatten a bit with your hands. Now roll the dough out into about a 9×13 rectangle with approximately ½-3/4 inch thickness.
- In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, raisins, nuts and remaining coconut sugar.
- Remove the top layer of parchment covering the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-nut mixture evenly over the dough to cover the whole surface. Be gentle not to tear the dough.
- Now roll up the dough. Begin with the short end of the rectangle; start to roll the edge of the dough away from you, making a tight roll. Continue rolling to create a uniform log, using the parchment paper to help you roll. Take your time! Keep it tight but be gentle. Almond flour dough is not as flexible as grain-based dough.
- One you have rolled the dough up, it is time to lengthen it. Gently roll the whole log of dough to make it longer and uniform in thickness. (The ends will ne narrow)
- With a sharp knife, slice the roll into 2 inch thick slices (that is approx. the width of two fingers).
- Lay the slices cut side down onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Space them a few inches apart.
- Transfer to oven and bake for 10-15 min. Stay close to the oven and start checking around 8 minutes. They should be golden with slight browning at the top. The center of the rolls should be soft but not mushy. Do NOT overbake.
- When done, remove from the oven and let cool. Do not move them before cooling – they will break.
- Meanwhile, make the icing.
- Add the coconut milk to a small saucepan over low heat. Add the Frosting Starter and stir to dissolve crystals. Add in the coconut oil and the vanilla. Remove from heat. As the mixture cools, it will thicken. You can either drizzle your rolls individually, or save the icing in the fridge in a covered container and spread on a cinnamon roll and reheat in the toaster oven.
349 calories, 29 g fat, 8.7 g saturated fat, 19 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g sugar, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein, 42 mg cholesterol, 218 mg sodium