Date Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls used to be my favorite.  As in, more than chocolate cake, more than candy bars, and more than just about any other dessert you can think of.

It was partly about the smell, partly about the taste, and a whole lot about the ooey gooey filling and the super soft, fluffy bread.  And those times when you get to eat it while it’s still warm?  Don’t even get me started!

A little while ago, I decided it was high time for me to create a “health-ified” Cinnamon Roll recipe.  After some rising, some kneading, and some a lot of eating, I knew I had created a winning dish.

First of all though, I want to make it clear that this recipe will not yield a classic Cinnamon Roll.  Instead, this recipe will yield a Cinnamon Roll that’s low fat, low sugar, and actually acceptable for breakfast.   A Date Cinnamon Roll, if you will.

The filling for these guys is 100% butter and oil free.  The yummy gooey-ness that still remains is because of the maple syrup and dates used.  Yummm…

The bread part of these rolls is part whole wheat and all delicious.  I will admit it’s a bit denser than you may be used to, but this isn’t a bad thing at all.  It actually makes the rolls a ton more filling!

If you don’t believe me, just give the recipe a try for yourself.  It may look complicated, but I promise it’s much easier than it sounds.

Date Cinnamon Rolls
Bread:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup spelt flour
Filling:
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp soaking liquid (see below for clarification)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • optional: 1 tsp orange zest
Instructions:
  1. Stir together milk, oil, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat to lukewarm.  
  2. Place lukewarm water in a small bowl and pour yeast on top.  Let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Stir yeast/water mixture into lukewarm milk mixture.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Beat in half of flour (you can start with whole wheat or spelt) with an electric mixer or by hand.  Continue adding flour until a soft dough forms.  You may not use the entire amount of flour listed above.
  5. Let dough rest 10 minutes before kneading well.  After kneading, let rest another 10 minutes.  
  6. Grease a large bowl, place dough inside, and cover with a damp cloth.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll into a 12inx10in rectangle.  
  8. Place dates in small bowl.  Cover with water, and let sit at least 5 minutes.  Transfer dates to another bowl, but don’t get rid of soaking liquid because you will use some as part of the filling.
  9. Add remaining filling ingredients to bowl with dates.  Fork mash until mixture is mostly smooth and spreadable.
  10. Spread filling evenly onto rolled out dough.  Roll up tightly like a jelly roll and slice into 12 pieces.  
  11. Place each slice in a greased 9 in round pan.  Cover and let rise another hour.
  12. Preheat oven to 350F.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until slightly browned.  If possible, serve while still warm.  Recipe makes 12 Cinnamon Rolls.

Sunday morning breakfast?  Sounds great to me!

Revisited Recipe of the Day:  

Date Sweetened Nutella


1 Comment

  1. Natacha

    May 6, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’m going to make this, but have you tried adding cinnamon to the dates?

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