We sure do love cinnamon rolls (who doesn’t?). But – let’s be honest – with the way they’re typically made (i.e. FULL of sugar!) they resemble dessert much more than breakfast. In general it’s hard to understand how so many items with all the qualities of a dessert (donuts, coffee cake, store bought muffins, etc.) can be passed off as breakfast, but for some reason that’s just the way it is these days. Loads of refined sugar is unfortunately not a good way to start the day for anyone!
But, just because we try to avoid eating refined sugar for breakfast, this doesn’t mean we have to miss out on a special holiday breakfast that’s a tradition for many – cinnamon rolls! My daughter and I had fun experimenting with a way to make cinnamon rolls that would turn out to be both healthier and delicious. I wasn’t even planning on posting the recipe on the blog, but after sharing it on social media and seeing how many others were on the same quest … well, Merry Christmas a little early from our family to yours! :) Thanks for being such an amazing group of blog readers!
Whole-Wheat Pecan Maple Cinnamon Rolls (w/o refined sugar!)
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour + more for rolling out the dough (regular whole-wheat flour will work as well
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup pecans crushed
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
In a small sauce pan melt the butter for the dough. Remove from heat and stir in the milk, syrup and yeast. Set aside.
In a large stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour and salt. Drop in the eggs and the butter/milk mixture and mix to combine. If very sticky to the touch add more flour (a tablespoon at a time) until it forms one ball that can easily be handled. Transfer the dough ball to a bowl that's been greased with butter, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise on the counter for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter for the filling then stir in the pecans, maple syrup, and cinnamon.
When ready, roll out the dough onto a floured surface to a rectangle about 14X9" in size. Cut and pinch together pieces if needed to make an even rectangle.
Evenly brush the filling mixture over top then, starting on the long side, roll over the dough until the seam side is facing down. Carefully cut pieces between 3/4" and 1" thick and place cut side up in greased baking dish. Reshape as needed. Let rise for another 30 minutes. (At this point you could cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Mix together the frosting ingredients until smooth and immediately pour over top allowing it to seep down into the crevices. Serve warm.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.