When I got pregnant with my son, I didn’t want anything to do with sweets. Weird for someone who’s typically a dessertaholic, but all I wanted was french fries with ketchup, pizza, and mouth-puckering lemonade. I know, talk about junk food! But, at least it was normal food and not, like, pickles dipped in chocolate or something. 😝
Well, my salty/savory phase only lasted for a few months because in my third trimester I practically lived off Cinnabon. I passed by one on my way to work and would think about it alllll day, chomping at the bit to get off work so I could stuff my face with those giant rolls! Pregnant people and their crazy food impulses! 😂 That saying, “there’s a bun in the oven,” was pretty much true for my baby who was primarily nourished those last few months with cinnamon rolls!
Ever since then, homemade cinnamon rolls have become a regular thing in our house. We all know that cinnamon rolls aren’t usually the most healthy treat, with loads of butter, sugar, and white flour. Since we enjoy making these often, I wanted to come up with a version that I felt better about serving my family.
I made these with spelt flour, which is an ancient strain of wheat, but much less modified. Spelt does contain gluten, but since it’s easier to digest, many people with gluten sensitivities can tolerate it. I’ve been testing recipes for some gluten-free cinnamon rolls too, but am not completely happy with the results just yet. I’ll be sure to share that recipe when it’s ready though, so stay tuned!
These cinnamon rolls are made with whole grains and free of dairy and refined sugar. They’re a delicious treat you can feel good about serving your family! I hope you enjoy them!
- 3–4 cups spelt flour, divided*
- 2 packets rapid rise yeast (4½ teaspoons. Can also use active dry but will have to let rise longer)
- ⅓ cup + 3 tablespoons coconut sugar, divided (can use brown sugar or natural cane sugar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups almond milk or other milk of choice, warmed to about 110ºF
- ¼ cup olive oil, avocado oil, or melted butter (dairy-free can be used)
- 3 tablespoons softened butter (dairy-free can be used)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, yeast, 3 tablespoons coconut sugar, and salt. Pour in warm almond milk and ¼ cup oil. Blend together until mixture is smooth and no lumps of flour remain.
- Switch to dough hook, if you have one, or use a wooden spoon and begin incorporating flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft dough. Don't add too much flour or rolls will be dry. You may not need the full amount of flour. Let dough rest for 5–10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13 pan or line with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together remaining ½ cup coconut sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
- Roll dough into a large, thin rectangle. I find it easier to roll dough out on a large piece of parchment or a couple sheets of plastic wrap so the dough doesn't stick to the counter.
- Spread softened butter all across the dough and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting at the long side, tightly roll dough into a log, keeping the seem side down on the counter.
- Cut the log in half and each half in 6 slices, for a total of 12 rolls. I like to use dental floss to get a nice clean cut, but you can also use a sharp knife.
- Place the rolls into parchment lined pan and cover with a clean towel. Let rolls rise for 10–15 minutes.
- Remove the towel from the pan and place into the oven. Bake 16–20 minutes, until rolls are fluffy and the outside edges feel firm. Careful not to over bake; Rolls do not brown a whole lot in the oven. Let cool in the slightly before frosting.
- Place cream cheese and softened butter together in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Add some of the sweetener and vanilla, continuing to blend until creamy. Add additional sweetener to taste. If mixture is too thick, add milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Frost slightly cooled rolls.
- Alternatively, if you're making powdered sugar glaze, just blend powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough milk to reach the desired consistency. Drizzle over rolls.
**Alternative frosting: If you're not a fan of cream cheese and are not opposed to eating powdered sugar, you can combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1–2 tablespoons milk of choice & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and drizzle over cooled rolls.