Of all the foods out there that I love so dearly I have a favorite. A favorite that makes me go week in the knees and throw all my inhibitions out the window. Sometimes I smell it at the mall and it becomes very difficult for me to control myself. After a long flight, where I am not even fed a pretzel, I arrive at the Orlando Airport and the smell hits me like a ton of bricks. How can I resist something so tempting? Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m addicted to cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon rolls may not be your weakness, but I’m sure you know the feeling. The feeling that no matter how full and miserable you are you must go for one more. I make some amazing homemade cinnamon rolls. In the cooler months I make an ungodly amount. And then I eat them until I am miserable and have a major sugar high.
Now that it is starting cool off I feel the urge again, but this year I have to do it differently. I’ve decided that I will come up with a recipe that would drastically reduce the calories and sugar and prevent drastic blood sugar drops. I knew there had to be a way to make healthy low calorie cinnamon rolls.
There were a few challenges facing me with this daunting task. How would I keep all the flavors I love while taking out what makes it unhealthy? First, I started with the dough. Instead of using all white flour, sugar, and butter I used a little canned pumpkin, whole wheat flour, Splenda, and apple sauce. To prepare I mixed pumpkin, buttermilk, Splenda, vanilla, and sugar free applesauce in a food processor.
You can use ricotta cheese if you prefer to not have the pumpkin flavor. Also, for the buttermilk I combined skim milk with vinegar to cut out calories. I had sugar free cinnamon applesauce on hand, but you can use whatever applesauce you prefer.
I then added dry ingredients to my mixture. I put in white flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I processed this until my dough formed a stiff ball. If you prefer, you can use all white flour or all whole wheat flour. I floured my countertops and placed the dough on top. I rolled this out into a rectangle that was about ¼ inch thick.
For the filling, instead of using brown sugar I used Splenda with a little molasses mixed in so you still get that deep sweet flavor. I did still use butter but a reduced amount. I poured my melted butter over the rolled dough and mixed cinnamon, Splenda, and molasses in a bowl. I sprinkled this mixture over the butter and rolled the dough into a log. I cut the dough into twelve pieces and put into a greased 9×13. I baked this for about 20 minutes.
I made a cinnamon roll glaze using fat free cream cheese, vanilla, and a little powder sugar. This stuff melts nicely over warm cinnamon rolls.
The best thing about this recipe is that I don’t have to wait and let the dough rise twice. I just mix it up and throw it in the oven. When these things are cooking the house smells so amazing. And the taste? It taste great! The pumpkin gives it a little richer flavor. The only thing these lack that you get in real cinnamon rolls is the gooey center. Next time I’ll reduce the cook time and see if that helps.
The best thing about these healthy low calorie cinnamon rolls is no guilt! I’ve been able to eat the leftovers as dessert! Not only does my conscience feel better, after I’ve eaten a couple I don’t feel a crazy sugar high and crash.
I think you’ll find these surprisingly easy and tasty. You may never go back to the real thing!
Healthy Low Calorie Cinnamon Rolls
¾ Cup pumpkin puree
1/3 Cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup skim milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of vinegar)
¼ Cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ Cup applesauce
1 Cup flour
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ Cup butter
¾ Cup Splenda
1 ½ Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add pumpkin, buttermilk, Splenda, vanilla, and applesauce in food processor. Mix till combined. Add in flours, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix until dough forms a large ball. Lightly flour surface and knead dough until it loses its stickiness and becomes elastic. Roll out into a rectangle ¼ of an inch thick.
2. Melt butter and spread over dough. In a small bowl combine Splenda, molasses, and cinnamon until well combined. You may have to smush it with the back of your spoon to get it to mix well. Sprinkle mixture over butter. Roll your dough into a log. Cut into twelve rolls and place in greased 9×13. Place in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until rolls are golden. Remove from oven and top with cinnamon roll glaze. Dig in!
Cinnamon Roll Glaze Recipe
4 oz fat free cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 Cup powder sugar
1. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Smooth glaze over warm cinnamon rolls and dig in!