Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maple Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

Maple Sugar Cinnamon Rolls
One of my favorite smells in the whole world is the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Unfortunately cinnamon rolls have gotten a bad rap because of the way that most of them are made with loads of butter, artificial flavorings and white flour and sugar.  This recipe is different, and in my opinion tastes even better.  I have made many versions of these in the past, but after having a slightly not so perfect experiment using spelt flour in a previous recipe, I thought why not try to make a nice yeast based dough using spelt flour?  I had originally planned on just making a bread of some sort (and will try that soon) but I happened to be watching an episode of The Chew the other day and Mario Batali was using his own pizza recipe to make cinnamon rolls.  I wanted some so badly.

I knew that today was going to be a snow day and that my whole family would hopefully be sleeping in and I love taking advantage of lazy mornings like that by baking something warm for breakfast.  But I knew making dough and waiting for it to rise would never fly with four hungry mouths to feed.  So I decided to make the dough the night before.  I figured if you can buy pizza dough from a pizzeria, or even fresh dough from your local grocery store, then it must work to refrigerate your own overnight.  I was right.  I made the dough after dinner last night, let it rise for an hour and then put it in the fridge until this morning.  That way I had fresh cinnamon rolls in less than 30 minutes.

In order to make these fit with my healthy lifestyle, I of course used whole grain (spelt) flour.  You could of course use regular whole wheat flour as well, but the spelt worked nicely and I am glad that I tried it.  Instead of loading the filling up with tons of butter, I used half almond butter (thought about using all almond butter and probably will another time as the flavor and texture were amazing).  I also chose to use pure granulated maple sugar, since maple sugar has such a rich, potent flavor while also being high in nutrients and lower on the glycemic index than regular sugar. Granulated maple sugar can be hard to find and a bit pricey (I bought my small bottle that I almost used up today at a large country fair back in the fall), but it is definitely worth the search and investment.  You could also use plain brown sugar as I mentioned in the recipe or perhaps even raw coconut sugar crystals.  I didn't feel the need to add any maple syrup onto my cinnamon rolls once they were cooked, but I did for my kids and my husband.  I am not sure if it was the fact that after having to wait for them to bake my family was completely ravenous or because the cinnamon rolls tasted as amazing as they smelled, but the whole pan was gone within minutes.  Even my usually picky daughter gobbled up a whole one in record time. Maybe next time I will have to make a double batch!!

Maple Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

dough before rising
Spelt Flour Pizza Dough:

2 1/2 C. whole grain spelt flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C. warm water
1 T. pure maple syrup
1 packet quick rising yeast
3 T. olive oil, organic canola oil or melted organic butter

after an hour rising

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a larger bowl, add the warm water and maple syrup and dissolve the yeast packet until bubbles start to form.  Add in the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Pour in the oil or butter and mix well.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary.  Return the dough back to the mixing bowl and cover with a damp towel for about an hour.  Once it has risen, punch down the dough and then knead it again for a minute. You can now either use it to bake a pizza, make the cinnamon rolls described below, or put it in the refrigerator like I did for the following morning.  If placing it in the fridge, make sure to put it in a sealed bag with room to expand as it will continue to rise a little.

filling ingredients

1/4 C. maple almond butter
1/4 C. organic sweet cream butter, melted
3 T. pure maple granulated sugar
          (or regular brown sugar)
1 T. ground cinnamon

Combine the almond butter and regular butter together well in a small bowl.  Stir together the maple sugar (or brown sugar) and the cinnamon in a separate small dish.  Roll the pizza dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness into as close of a rectangular shape as you can.  Spread the butter mixture over the dough evenly and then sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough up tightly and pinch the edges of the dough to seal the roll.  Cut the dough crosswise into 10 or 12 equal pieces, and place inside of a greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.  I didn't let my rolls rise again as I wanted to eat right away, but I suppose letting them rise for another 30 minutes might make them even bigger.  Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed up.  Serve warm with a drizzle of pure maple syrup, if desired.

ready to add the filling

ready to roll

slicing up

ready to bake
hot from the oven

breakfast is served


  1. Sounds yummy. Do you think you could freeze these and bake later?

    1. I am not sure. I don't see why not and it wouldn't hurt to try!! Let me know if you give it a go and how it works out. :)