Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

January 7, 2012

whole wheat pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

What is the difference between cinnamon buns and rolls? I feel like the icing is different for both. Otherwise, they seem to be pretty interchangeable, from what research I've conducted on the good old world wide web. Which is kinda annoying, I feel like there should be a difference but whatever, who am I to start an occupy Cinnabon movement .. speaking of which, I guess they're also called cinnabons at Cinnabon. What the hell man! It's so important it needs three different names?!

Anyway, let's talk about these pastries, oozing with heavenly glaze and exuding cinnamon-y enticement.

At a New Year's Eve party I went to, someone had made cinnamon rolls (buns? bons?) and they were delicious. I hadn't eaten a good baked item not from my household in a very long time, and those rolls were the exact inspiration I needed.

For my birthday (the day after New Year's), my mom made pumpkin turkey chili. Yummmm. And there was a ton of pumpkin leftover. Ideas jumbled around in my head until I decided I wanted pumpkin cinnamon rolls - and they had to be healthy. Because I don't want to be fat.

I researched a lot of recipes to create my own amalgamation. I considered/adjusted the following:
  - Replacing too much flour with whole wheat & whole grains can turn your rolls into rocks. No one wants to eat rocks.
  - I reduced the butter amounts & browned it whenever possible. Tip - whenever a recipe calls for melted butter, brown it. Trust me on that.

  - I used a mixture of half brown sugar and half "Ideal" sugar .. I bought it to try out one time, it's xylitol-based. I've read about xylitol being used frequently in health blogs, so I figured it's not as bad as Splenda. Hope that's true. Either way, you can just use regular sugar, these will still be healthier than average.
  - Pumpkin is a superfood - it has significant fiber, protein, vit E, C, A, & K, potassium, magnesium, copper, and iron. It is a natural sweetener, with negligible fat and very low sodium and cholesterol. Even if those don't make too much sense, don't you just want to eat it to get all of that goodness? I love pumpkin.

There's a stick of butter total (in the rolls, filling and glaze combined) for 21 rolls!
There's less than one cup of sugar in just the roll and filling part!
There's flaxseed! And bran!
There's pure whole wheat flour!
There's cinnamon, which reduces the risk of heart disease!

AND they taste amazing. As if they exist merely to clog your arteries with delicious, yummy, wonderfulness. But they don't.

So yes! I am not saying these are incredibly healthy and the best thing ever for you. But they are healthier, especially compared to average cinnamon buns, and without the glaze, I admit, I am proud of their little healthier selves. The glaze isn't so healthy. But I swear, I could drink it.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls 
I created the recipe based on reading a ton of other sources. For the warm water, use 2 Tb if it's warm out .. I used 1/4 cup because it's winter, cold, & very dry right now). The recipe may look long, but it is detailed enough to ensure you get the best results.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup combination of flaxseed & bran (or oat flour .. whatever whole grains you have on hand) 
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tspn (or 1/2 Tb) salt 
  • 1 tspn ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tspn EACH - ground cloves & nutmeg 
  • 3 Tb brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 Tb - 1/4 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees F) 
  • 2 tspn yeast (or one envelope) 
  • 2 Tb melted browned butter (to brown: melt butter till foamy, fragrant, and browned in color. watch carefully to prevent burning) 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (I replaced 1/3 cup with Ideal sugar) 
  • 2 1/2 tspn cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tspn EACH - ground ginger & ground cloves 

  1. Make the dough: Sift the dry ingredients, from flour to the spices, together. 
  2. Stir yeast into the warm water. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar to wake up the yeast. Let sit for about five minutes. 
  3. Beat together the brown sugar, butter, pumpkin, and eggs well. 
  4. Stir in the water with the yeast, once it's ready. 
  5. Add dry to wet in a mixer (using the dough hook) and mix till it forms a smooth, but slightly sticky dough. Dough should not be tough or hard. Alternatively, knead dough by hand until it reaches the right texture and consistency. 
  6. Put dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm area for 1 - 2 hours, until doubled in size. A test for readiness is poking the dough. If the indentations of your fingers remain, that's a good sign. Dough should not collapse. 
  7. While dough is rising, prepare filling: Combine the sugar and spices. 
  8. Roll out dough roughly to a 14x22" rectangle. Brush with 2 Tb melted butter. Generously sprinkle filling mixture atop the butter. 
  9. Start rolling the dough. Start at the long side furthest away from you. Roll the dough from the long side towards you. Once you have a log, cut it in half. Each half should give you about 10 rolls. They should be about 3/4" in thickness. Cut with a very sharp knife. Using unflavored dental floss, going under the log, and coming up to cut through it, is also very useful. 
  10. Place the rolls in 2 greased (I used cooking spray) round 9" cake pans. Cover with plastic wrap & a towel, and let rise till puffy, about an hour, in a warm area. If it's cold by you, I recommend heating the oven to around 200 degrees, and then turning it off and letting the rolls rise in the oven. Of course, then cover the pans with foil, not plastic wrap, and no towel. 
  11. After the rolls have risen, bake them uncovered in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 - 30 minutes. They will be lightly browned and appear set if a little piece is pulled off. Take care to not overbake! They can even be very slightly underbaked, as they will continue baking a little after you remove them from the oven. 
  12. While the rolls are baking, make the glaze: Pour powdered sugar (at least 3 1/2 cups) into a bowl. Add about 1/4 cup maple syrup, 2 Tb melted butter (brown it if you want!) and 1 tspn instant coffee granules. Then add milk little by little until you reach a thick-ish consistency. The heat of the rolls will thin out the glaze. Add more maple syrup, milk, and powdered sugar as necessary. 
  13. Pour glaze over the cinnamon rolls while they're still hot. Indulge happily. 

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