Saturday, October 6, 2018

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Apple Cinnamon Rolls - No Added Sugar!

Since I started eating sugar-free (okay, it's actually just no sugar added), one of the things I have missed the most has been cinnamon rolls. I just really love the sweet, soft pull-apart bread and sticky filling! Well, we picked about 35 pounds of apples yesterday, and I thought apple cinnamon rolls would be so, so yummy...maybe even delicious enough that I wouldn't need to add extra sugar! And I was right!!  Since I will be making these again, I wanted to write down how I did it! Plus, when I shared it on Facebook I had two friends ask for the recipe almost right, here you go!

Apple Cinnamon Roll Recipe:

I started with Robyn's Cinnamon Roll recipe here, and changed it so that I didn't need to add sugar. I've been working on developing sugar-free desert recipes for about 4 years now, and this is definitely one of my favorites!

It makes two cookie sheets of cinnamon rolls and 3 loaves of apple cinnamon roll bread!

I'll start with what I used, and then give you some notes as I go along. If you've never made cinnamon rolls before, you should read through Robyn's recipe because she has some great step-by-step tips. This is what my apple cinnamon roll recipe ended up being and some notes on what I did at each step:


Cinnamon Roll Dough:
* 3 cups warm unsweetened vanilla almond milk
* 5 Tablespoons yeast
* 1 cup honey
* 1 cup Smart Balance (or salted butter)
* 6 large eggs
* about 12 cups white, unbleached flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling:
* Smart Balance
* Cinnamon
* Pureed dates with a little bit of apple juice concentrate
* small, chopped apples
* raisins

Cinnamon Roll Frosting:
* 1 brick cream cheese
* about 1/2 cup Smart Balance
* about 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1-3 Tablespoons pureed dates + apple juice concentrate
* about 1 Tablespoon Splenda, honey, or another sweetener

1- Chop 3-5 apples. I made the apple pieces about the same size as peas. (Alternatively you could do this while you wait for the dough to rise during step 5.)

2- Make your pureed dates. I put about 2 cups of dates in our blender, added enough water to cover them, and pureed them. Then I added about 3 Tablespoons of frozen apple juice concentrate and blended that up with the dates. This makes an amazing, super sweet sugar substitute that tastes fantastic! Set this aside.

3- Make your cinnamon roll dough. We use almond milk for almost everything, so that's what I had on hand. I warmed two cups up in the microwave for 1 minute. That got pretty hot, so I added 1 cup of cold almond milk. That was the perfect temperature for yeast, so I added that and the honey next. I let the yeast grow for about half an hour while I played at the park with my super duper helper! 

4- Pour the milk, yeast, and honey into a Kitchen Aid bowl. Add the Smart Balance (or use salted butter) and eggs. Start mixing it slowly with a dough hook while you add the flour. Normally I like to use whole grain flour, but since this was a dessert, we used white, unbleached flour. I used a little more than 12 cups, but we live in by D.C., and it's a little humid here. You might need more or less, depending on where you are and how humid it is. You want to add enough flour that the dough gently pulls away from the edges of the bowl as it kneads...but you want to let it knead for at least 5 - 10 minutes. 

5- Pull the dough hook out, sprinkle flour on the top, and cover it gently with a kitchen towel. At this point, we went to the playground again. When we came back, it had risen so much that it needed punching down! Generally you want the dough to double at this point! It was okay, though, because my little preschooler had a blast helping the dough "get back inside the bowl!"

6- I kneaded it a few times and divided it into thirds. Take one of the thirds, knead it a little, and then roll it out into a huge rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread Smart Balance on the whole thing. Then sprinkle cinnamon *everywhere*! If you want to use a spatula or spoon to spread it, you can. I spread my dates/apple mixture out in little gets squished everywhere when you roll it up.  Finally, sprinkle some raisins and apple pieces on the top.

7- Roll the dough up tightly and slice it with a piece of dental floss. I sliced them about an inch thick, and then patted them down on a greased cookie sheet so they were closer to 1/2 inch thick. 

8- Let them double in size--this took about 20 minutes.

9- Cook the rolls at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Pull them out JUST as they are starting to brown--you don't want them toasty!! Nice and soft! Let them cool on the pan and then frost, if desired!

Now go back to Step still have 2/3 of the dough you made! At this point, I was done cooking, so I kneaded the rest of the dough a few times, and then divided it into 3 pieces. I repeated Step 6 with each piece, but instead of cutting it into cinnamon rolls, I rolled the dough up tightly (with all the goodies from Step 6) and squished it into a bread pan. These also need to double in size, and then cook for about 40 minutes at 365 degrees. Make sure the bottoms of your loaves are a nice brown...loaves take longer to cook! Brush the tops with butter when they come out of the oven. Remember not to cut into your loaf until it cools all the way too! This is super important because you have so much moisture in these loaves.  ;)

10- To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add the sweetening to taste, and smear it on your rolls!

My youngest preschooler was my biggest helper with this project...she actually stayed with each step! Preschoolers love cooking, and it is full of sensory, science, and math for them!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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