Light Everyday Cinnamon Rolls

It’s nearly impossible to walk past a Cinnabon and not be lured in by the sweet, spicy smell of cinnamon and sugar. Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? They’re mouthwatering, a quintessential comfort food. Unfortunately most store-bought cinnamon rolls are sickly sweet and full of fake, engineered ingredients. Not to mention the calorie count of many rolls nears the 4-digit mark. Ouch. But then when you think about baking cinnamon rolls from home, you think about proofing and rising and shaping and cutting and baking. It can be a painstaking process, reserved for special occasions. That’s why I’m thrilled to share with you guys this recipe from the geniuses at America’s Test Kitchen. They have developed a recipe for cinnamon rolls that is not only lower in fat and higher in fiber, but requires absolutely no rising. You can have these rolls on your table for breakfast in less than an hour and not feel too guilty about serving them to your family. When it comes to recipes, it doesn’t get much better than that.

As a note, while this recipe is amazing, it isn’t flawless. The two times I made the recipe I encountered difficulties shaping the dough. It’s super sticky. I’ve found that using plenty of flour to dust any surface that contacts the dough is necessary, as is a little patience and a sharp knife to cut the rolls.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: These taste as good as they smell. Maybe better. 
Texture: Slightly crisp on the outside of the roll, soft and gooey inside.    
Ease: Much faster than a traditional cinnamon roll recipe. The only difficulty I had was shaping the dough as it is extremely sticky. 
Appearance: While these cinnamon rolls aren’t perfect, they still look scrumptious. Especially drizzled in buttermilk glaze. 
Pros: No waiting for the dough to rise, whole-wheat, can be made easily in the morning. Nearly guilt-free.
Cons: None except that the dough is sticky.
Would I make this again? Already have!

Light Everyday Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 9 Rolls
From America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
Filling

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz) all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (4 1/8 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled, divided
Glaze
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

Prepare the filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all purpose flour, whole what flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in buttermilk and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and mix until dough starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes, until dough begins to look smooth and can be handled easily. This can also be done by kneading for about 1 minute with a paddle attachment or dough hook, and adding a tablespoon or two of flour to a mixer bowl.

Place dough on a floured surface and press or roll out into a 9×12-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Take remaining tablespoon of melted butter and brush over dough rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with filling mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border around each edge. Using a bench scraper to help you (or a large, flat spatula if you don’t have one), roll the dough up into a tight spiral. Pinch seam to seal.

Use a serrated knife to cut dough into 9 even pieces. Gently flatten each of the rolls before placing them in the prepared pan, to even them out if they were misshaped when sliced.
Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 12 minutes covered, then uncover the rolls and bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown. Use the foil to life the rolls out of the baking pan and place them on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together with a hand mixer until very smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls and serve.

Store leftovers in an airtight container after they have completely cooled.

   

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18 Responses to “Light Everyday Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. #
    1
    Lindsay — March 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    oooh can't wait to try these. i love cinnamon rolls and mine always come out horribly wrong at home

  2. #
    2
    Tracey — March 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Cinnamon rolls are my favorite – but so dangerous to have at home because I can't resist! I just bookmarked these in the ATK book last night so I'm glad to hear they're good :)

  3. #
    3
    Matt's Cooking Secrets — March 22, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I haven't had a cinnamon roll for about half a year now, but they are my favourite sweet pastry. I love the smell of freshly made cinnamon rolls, I guess this is something I'll have to remember to make when I manage to buy some flour.

  4. #
    4
    Deepika V. — March 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I am trying not to look at them for too long. I have to lose some weight and stuff like this makes it so much harder. I dont think i will be able to resist them for long though.

  5. #
    5
    Tessa — March 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    I saw this recipe from America's Test Kitchen too. Glad it seems to work. I will have to keep it in mind. My husband has been asking for cinnamon rolls =)

  6. #
    6
    Joanna — March 23, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Made these already! They are lovely, and I love having the wholemeal flour in it. I topped mine with just a basic glaze (icing sugar and water) and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Yum!

  7. #
    7
    ragamuffindiaries — March 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    these look so delicious & easy! I'm already dreaming up a vegan version with coconut oil & coconut milk….. mmmm!

  8. #
    8
    CarinE — March 23, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    looks good! I love cinnamon rolls…with cream cheese icing…yumm…these look so easy to make! and plus they don't need rising time!! totally, going to make them!

  9. #
    9
    mainlyglutenfreeinnyc — March 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    My friend and I were just talking about cinnamon rolls! She said she had just made a recipe where the glaze required heavy cream and all these other sugary, heavy things. This looks great though, and I will pass it on to her!
    Emily
    http://mainlyglutenfreeinnyc.wordpress.com

  10. #
    10
    Foodiebia — March 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Looks like a great recipe! ATK really comes up with some wonderful ideas.

  11. #
    11
    Tricia — March 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    These were awesome and soooo easy! I literally had exactly the same panic attack at the stickiness but they were so good! Thanks!

  12. #
    12
    cutekittypunk — April 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    buttermilk glaze huh? i haven't tried that before!

    i don't know if i could handle working with sticky dough – but they look so good. and you said crispy on the outside, gooey inside right? but are they like good gooey or not done all the way gooey?

    anyway, i host a montly sweet rolls linky party and i'd love for you to share these!

    cheers, melissa
    http://sweet-rolls-that-rock.blogspot.com/2011/03/sweet-rolls-o-rama-monthly-linky-party.html

  13. #
    13
    melissa — April 16, 2012 at 12:17 am

    how do you figure out calories?

  14. #
    14
    Heather Ainesworth — August 16, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I have NEVER made actual cinnamon rolls, I was always far too intimidated with all the time/care involved I had this bookmarked for a while and finally dove in last night. I made a huge pot of homemade chili and this was the desert. I’m glad you mentioned how sticky the dough was. I admit I goofed and left the sugar out of the dough HOWEVER they were still DELICIOUS! Had one last night and one this morning and they are almost better second time around. Thank you!!!

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