I know what you’re thinking: “healthy” and “cinnamon rolls” just can’t be in the same sentence, let alone in a title in combination with the term “vegan”. I have made the impossible possible, though – but let’s back up.
In Germany, there is no such thing as a traditional cinnamon roll. We have poppyseed rolls and nut rolls, but they are three times the size of a traditional cinnamon roll, and very different in taste. When I think of a traditional cinnamon roll, I am thinking of a cup sized, thick, sticky, almost-sickly sweet crunchy-outside-gooey-inside roll with insanely melting icing.
Is that what you were thinking of? Good, then we’re on the same page!
The other day, I was, for whatever reason, craving a cinnamon roll. The first obstacle was, well, I have NEVER made cinnamon rolls, so I hadn’t the slightest idea how to go about it. Secondly, after viewing a couple of recipes online, I was very discouraged to find that yeast seems to be a common ingredient. If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll have read that I have a yeast-intolerance, and so I have been trying to cut out yeast as far as possible. I therefore went back to googling “yeast-free cinnamon rolls” and found this awesome blog called forks and beans. I found an amazing cinnamon roll recipe that made the cinnamon rolls exactly the way I wanted them. I gulped down three of those within half a day, and felt unbelievably sick as a result.
Uhm yes, I know, I could have had more self-restraint, but, if we’re all being honest – when something tastes that good, and there are more left, why on earth would you want to restrain yourself? I really wish I hadn’t eaten three of them in retrospect, but, instead of giving in to my despair, I figured I’d create a healthier version that would be (nearly) as decadent in taste, not lacking the melting icing, and definitely not missing out on the beautiful crunch of the cinnamon filling.
I came up with the following, but I need to warn you: this cinnamon roll is crunchy on the outside, gooey and soft in the middle, has a decadently flowing icing, and a beautiful crunch – without using any refined sugar and only 1 tsp. of coconut oil. Sounds too good to be true? Take a look:
These are best when eaten straight from the oven – because what’s better than warm baked goods? – but I saved one for the next day, and, after sticking it into the microwave for 30 seconds, it tasted just as good.
I subbed out most of the fat with 1 banana, which is not for everyone (for example my sister). I am hoping to try a version with apple sauce soon, and I’ll let you know how that works. Or, if you happen to try it, let us know in the comments below if it works! The sweetness in this cinnamon roll is solely derived from dates, and you’ll need to make some date cream for this recipe. I did use some maple syrup for the icing, though – but icing just needs to be sweet and amazing, which is only derived by a bit of sugar. It’s just 1 tsp. though, and that won’t kill us, right?
The filling is completely sugar-free: the crunch is solely deriven from crunched walnuts and cinnamon, forming a sticky mixture with said date cream. Sounds too good to be true? Trust me, you’ll hardly know the difference! Your tummy and hips will, though. 🙂
Healthy Vegan Cinnamon Rolls With All-Natural Sweetener
- 1 cup spelt flour (plus a bit more for rolling out the dough)
- 1 banana
- 1 tsp. coconut, molten (yields 2 tsp.)
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- a sprinkle of salt
for the filling:
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 cup date cream
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
for the icing:
- 2 tsp. coconut butter (not coconut oil!)
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. warm water (perhaps more, depending on your desired texture)
1. Mix together all the ingredients for the filling, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for your dough. In a food processor, turn your banana into “mush” and the knead into the dry ingredients along with 1 tsp. of the molten coconut oil (which means you’ll have 1 tsp. left).
3. Roll out the dough very thinly, and cut into a rectangle.
4. Preheat your oven to 220°C. On your dough rectangle, pour the rest of the coconut oil and brush around evenly.
5. Using a spatula, spread your walnut-cinnamon filling neatly on top. Be very careful when you do this, as the dough will rip easily if you press down too hard.
6. Now roll up the dough very carefully. Perhaps you’ll need a knife to help you.
7. Cut your roll into 4 same-sized pieces (use a very sharp knife for this!).
8. Place the rolls into a casserole dish which you have brushed with the coconut oil brush from earlier. This is just a precaution – if you’re using a porcelain casserole, the rolls shouldn’t get stuck while baking. Using the spatula, press down on top of the unbaked rolls, and then sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.
9. Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are brown! While you wait, prepare the icing by mixing together all the ingredients for the icing. You’ll have to heat the coconut butter slightly if it is 100% coconut butter (with no added oils), just as you would with coconut oil. Add as much water as you need until it is smoothly flowing.
10. After 20 minutes, take out your cinnamon rolls and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then drizzle the icing on top and enjoy while still warm! Make sure you get loads of that icing on your fingers, as that icing is almost the best part!
(I only placed another banana in the bowl for reference of size)
Not bad, huh? It gets better:
There’s nothing more to add, I’ll just let you scroll back up and look at the pictures, drooling in your head.