A classic cinnamon bun can bring you way over the edge in calorie count: 810 calories, 32g fat, 117g carbohydrates, and usually a few grams of trans fat! Yikes! I know… I know… “but they are oh so tasty”, you may complain. Well, I am here to help you find a healthy alternative that is actually quite satisfying.
After researching a few healthy recipes, I just made one of my own mostly changed from the Eating Well recipe for cinnamon rolls. These turned out to be a healthy balance.
- 4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or whole white wheat flour)
- 1 package active dry yeast, (1 tablespoon)
- 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk, divided
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup applesauce (optional)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons nonfat milk
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dough: Combine 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
- Into a small saucepan, stir in 1 cup milk, ricotta cheese, granulated sugar, oil and salt; heat, stirring, until warm (120-130°F). Be careful not to simmer or boil.
- In large mixing bowl, combine these wet ingredients with the flour mixture. Add eggs and egg white; beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon (or dough hook of mixer), stir in 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, smooth dough. (It will be slightly sticky.) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn once. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- To make filling and bake rolls: Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, applesauce and cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves in a small saucepan; heat gently, stirring, until smooth. This will cook quickly. Set aside to cool.
- Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll or pat into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle slowly.
- Spread the brown-sugar mixture over the dough. Sprinkle with raisins and pecans. Starting at the long edge, roll up jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the edges of dough together along the length of the roll. With a sharp knife, slice the roll into 12 pieces. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and/or smart balance well, and place the cinnamon rolls, cut-side up, in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Brush rolls with remaining 1 tablespoon milk. Bake until light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool.
- To make glaze: Stir together confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon maple syrup and honey, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add more milk, if necessary, to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls and serve them warm.
Now, remember: these are made with whole wheat flour so, you definitely taste the whole grain, nutty, hearty flavor. If you don’t like wheat bread, you will not like these cinnamon buns. And even though they are made with a good amount of sugar, I felt as if I could eat them for breakfast and not feel like I ate something unhealthy. Even with the sugar glaze, these are not overpowered with sweetness.
Approx. Nutrition Facts of Healthier Cinnamon Buns (for one large bun): 350 calories, 6g fat, 70g carbohydrates, 9g protein