There are some recipes that you come across and you know to have to make time. Recently I set to conquer two in my inexorable list of bookmarked recipes: Yeasted Cinnamon Date Rolls from mynewroots, and Strawberry & Apricot Coconut Banana Chia Seed Bread from ambitiouskitchen. I get alot of inspiration from these two blogs; their recipes are mouthwatering, unfussy and wholesome all at the same time. Today’s post will be on the cinnamon buns, which were actually made a few weeks ago and are long gone by now!
When I think of cinnamon rolls, I think of delicious baked fluffy rolls of doughy snails crammed with cinnamon, brown sugar, and perhaps some frosting. These were the cinnamon rolls of my childhood, which my mum used to buy from this shop when we were in the Orchard area. (The name of the shop has eluded my memory but if I’m not wrong, its business has closed.) To prolong the enjoyment, I would unroll the bun and eat it along the spiral, savouring each bite with delightful pleasure. Alas, ignorance is bliss; now armed with knowledge how much sugar and butter cinnamon buns can be laden with, it has been scornfully shunned and its deliciousness forgotten.
Then, one day, I came across mynewroots’ au natural date-sweetened vegan cinnamon buns and I knew it is time for a comeback. Furthermore, these rolls are leavened with yeast, which supposedly would give a more tender bite. I made several modifications to the original recipe: (1) WW pastry flour instead of spelt flour; (2) mashed bananas instead of applesauce; (3) omitted the nuts (I ran out) and glaze.
- For the Dough
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and dusting (I used Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour, 118g)
- 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon mashed banana
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- For the Date Filling
- 3/4 cup (112g) chopped (Medjool) dates (I would reduce the amount as the rolls were too sweet)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/8 cups chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
- Sift the flour into a large bowl. Mix in yeast, sugar and salt.
- In another bowl combine the mashed bananas and oil.
- Fold in wet ingredients to the dry ingredients to form a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic, adding extra flour as needed. Shape dough into a ball and place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile make the date filling. Pit and chop dates into chunks. Place in a saucepan with water. Bring to a simmer and stir often to break up the dates and form a chunky paste. It should take just a few minutes. If your dates are dry, add more water. Stir in cinnamon and salt. Set aside to cool.
- Once dough has doubled in volume, punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
- On lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to form a rectangle. Slather an even layer of filling across the dough and sprinkle with roughly chopped pecans if using. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper. Using a piece of thread or dental floss, slice the log into pieces. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 375°F (190°C) oven until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Not to border on being too verbose, below is a step-by-step pictorial of the process.
The dough, after being rolled out. I don’t have a rolling pin so I actually used a wine bottle as a substitute. How’s that for creativity?
Time to spread on the date paste!
All spreaded out.
Medjool dates – nature’s candy.
Use a thread or dental floss to cut the rolls cleanly. I learned this tip online and it was certainly very useful.
The cinnamon rolls pre-baked. Already it smelled so good.
The baked cinnamon rolls. As you can tell, they were overbaked, and along with it, my mood turned as black as the buns. All was going well until the last step where the slightest neglect of time messed up what could have turned out so good. Nevertheless they were still edible if you overlooked the charred bits. Perhaps because I used WW pastry flour, the rolls had the texture of scones rather than being pull-apart doughy. Another major point was its sweetness. Although it is natural sugars, I would most definitely cut back on the amount of dates for these were so sweet that they had to be enjoyed in morsels. Overall, the recipe is quite promising but some tweaks are needed, especially to the the amount of dates, and maybe the type of flour for a more doughy texture.