Cinnabon’s Healthy Cousins

The first time I attempted whole grain cinnamon rolls, they came out like little brown hockey pucks, only harder. But hey, they were nutritious. Slather on some frosting and bon appetit! Sort of. I happen to like grainy, dense foods. But I and my stomach continued to dream of soft, doughy, healthy Cinnabon-style treats most anyone would enjoy. The kind you instantly crave at the airport. One whif and OH MAN…!!!

Okay, enough confectionary lusting. Several attempts later and I’ve done it, I think. If you try them, please share your thoughts!

CINNAMON ROLLS WITH WHOLE GRAINS, BLUEBERRIES AND LOTSA YUM!

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated or raw sugar
1 packet active dry, rapid-rise yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees, approximately)
1/2 cup warm soy milk
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
1 – 2 cups white or white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup spreadable butter w/canola or olive oil (or soft regular butter)
Fresh or frozen (thawed/drained) blueberries
Frosting of choice

Instructions:

  1. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set it aside for later.
  2. In a small bowl or mug, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in warm water.
  3. In a large bowl (mixer bowl if possible) combine milk,  granulated sugar, canola oil, salt and egg. Add yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour—1 white, 1 whole wheat. Beat until smooth, either with a hand mixer, large spoon or your mixer’s dough hook. Gradually add more of each type of flour until a stiff ball forms. Continue to knead by hand or machine. (If you hand-kneed, about 8 minutes should do it. In a mixer, it’s more like 5 – 6.)
    If it looks like this (EW), add flour.
    It should look more like this—doughy and firm, not sticky or crumbly. Think…elastic.

  4. Place dough into a large greased bowl. Cover with a thin cloth and allow it to rise someplace warm, like under your overhead oven light, until doubled in size—about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Punch down dough and let it rest for 5 minutes. (Okay, most bread recipes say to do this. I never do. Do as you wish. Just please don’t turn me in to the baking police.)
  6. Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a rectangle. (I roll out a large circle and cut a rectangle. You can make fun little blobby things with the leftovers. Up to you.)
  7. Brush the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture then the blueberries.
  8. Tightly roll up dough and pinch edges together to seal then cut 8 rounds. (Recipes usually suggest slicing round with thread or floss. I use a knife. Karate CHOP!)
  9. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or canola oil. (Whatever size floats your fancy.) Place the rolls close together in the pan.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Top with frosting, if desired.
    **I frost only the ones we’ll eat right away. Otherwise, the frosting soaks in. Serving the frosting on-the-side gives partakers the option of extra sweet or none at all.

If you’d like some festive music to accompany your baking adventures, check out EVERY DAY IS CHRISTMAS. It’s available for viewing/listening here and for purchase on iTunes. Proceeds benefit the National Center for Adult Literacy.

These rolls have become a holiday staple in my kitchen. What would we find in yours?? What sweet treat do you wish was nutritious? (I just make uptake the challenge… ;))