This recipe looks quite lengthy and complicated, but trust me, it is so worth it. I’m planning on making another batch of them this weekend to share with friends. The process takes roughly an hour and ten minutes from the time you start until you have hot, gooey, delicious cinnamon rolls on your plate. Need a little more encouragement?
Although this recipe uses yeast, it does not call for extra rising time. I realized this when the rolls were half-way through baking, but they rose and expanded during the baking time. Wonderfully soft and chewy, they were even good the next morning, heated for a few seconds in the microwave.
For variations, either caramel rolls or iced rolls, please see the end of the recipe.
for the rolls:
non-stick cooking spray
2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 (7 g / 1/4 oz) packet quick-rise, fast acting dry yeast
2 Tablespoons unsalted sweet cream butter, softened (not melted)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg, room temperature (to hasten this process, set the egg in a bowl of warm water for 4-6 minutes)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup potato starch
1 cup arrowroot starch (you can substitute cornstarch)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
for the filling:
2 Tablespoons of butter, softened (optional – but who’s counting calories?! It’s a cinnamon roll.)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoon ground saigon cinnamon
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (optional – sliced almonds or pecan bits would be great, here)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare a 9″ pie plate by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
Warm the milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and add the yeast. Set aside and give it time to proof.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Add in the egg, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the canola oil and vanilla extract.
Separately, combine the rest of the dry ingredients, the starches, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. With a mixer on medium speed, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the proofed milk/yeast, and ending with the dry ingredients, until everything is thoroughly mixed. The dough will look very soft, but it will begin to crawl up the beaters. Let it sit for a moment while you prepare to roll it out.
On your countertop or a cutting board, stretch out a piece of plastic wrap, plop the dough in the middle, and place another sheet of plastic wrap over the top of it. (You might need to sprinkle sugar or a little bit of starch on the wrap, so that the dough won’t stick, but I didn’t, and did not have any problems.) Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangular shape, about 12″ high by 14″ wide.
Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts together. Spread the butter on the dough, then sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough, covering it completely. Using the plastic wrap to help you, begin to roll up the dough. If it’s sticky, touch your fingertips in starch before continuing to roll the dough. Once the dough is completely rolled, slice it into rolls a little more than 1″ wide. Try to make your slices uniform, or they won’t bake evenly (evidence: photo at the top of post). Lay the rolls into the pie plate.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 20-24 minutes, until tops are browned. If they begin to brown prematurely, cover them with foil.
If you want caramel rolls:
mix together 2 Tablespoons melted butter and 3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar in the bottom of the pie plate (optional: add more sliced almonds or chopped pecans here, too), before laying the rolls in the pie plate. To serve after baking: invert contents onto plate or platter, making sure to top with any caramel that’s left in the pie plate.
if you want iced rolls:
After the rolls are baked and cooled slightly, drizzle a simple icing over the top: 3/4 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and just enough milk to thicken.
Note: This recipe can be made dairy-free; to make iced cinnamon rolls, use shortening rather than butter in the rolls, and soy, rice, or almond milk rather than cow’s milk. I suspect it can be made vegan, but am out of egg replacer to try.