Our Paleo Family

Paleo Cinnamon “Rolls”

When it’s holiday time, when our homeschool is on a break, when we’re all filled with the joy and excitement of Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, or fill in your favorite reason to celebrate, it’s easy to dedicate lots of time to making special meals and treats.

 

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But when it’s an ordinary week, filled with school and work and extracurriculars, dedicating hours to something like cinnamon rolls is the very last thing on my mind.

I have one of my Grandma’s old cookbooks, the one that contains the recipe she used to make cinnamon rolls. I’m not sure why, but I never particularly liked them. My brother loved them and she used to make these specially for when he would visit. Before we started eating paleo, I had a wild hair to make these for Christmas one year. Then I read the recipe! It would take a full day of waking hours to make these, between all the work, rest the dough, work, rest the dough some more, etc. etc. Needless to say, I never made them.

But then, Christmas 2015 came around and I guess I was feeling particularly generous and guilty for making my kids eat this gluten-free, diary-free, sugar-free way and decided to attempt cinnamon rolls. I definitely went the easy way out – so I thought – about bought a bag of Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix. Yes, they were very yummy, and the kids were ecstatic, but the dough was so sticky, it really was a nightmare to work with. Of course, since the kids didn’t have to do any of the work, they’ve been begging for these rolls again ever since, but I haven’t wanted to make them because the whole process was such a drag!

There was one other big problem with these rolls – the mix contains xanthan gum. I know this isn’t horrible as far as additives go, but I’ve recently had some extensive blood work done and one of my immune system triggers are all those gums that are added to packaged foods (xanthan gum, mastic gum, gum arabic, etc.).

Here lies the dilemma: on the one hand, I want to treat my family to a special breakfast every now and then. On the other hand, I don’t want to spend hours making it happen and I certainly don’t want to make something that might harm us.

So here I am with an alternative for you. This recipe is not autoimmune friendly, but it is paleo. If you can tolerate dairy, by all means use ghee or butter instead of the palm shortening or coconut oil and you have a primal recipe – still grain free. Still delicious. (Primal and Paleo are essentially the same thing, but Primal includes whole fat, grass-fed dairy.)

My intention was to make traditional cinnamon rolls, but it turned out that the dough was a little too dry to roll out properly. This happens with experiments. Things don’t always turn out the way you plan. I thought for a few minutes about how I could rectify this problem with the dough already made and rested overnight and finally decided to see if I could make do with what I had.

I ended up crumbling the dough (it had the consistency of a biscuit dough), spreading the cinnamon mixture over top, crumbling on the rest of the dough and baking. It was so EASY!

The whole thing turned out more like a cross between cinnamon roll casserole (is that even a thing?) and pull-apart bread. I tasted a very little bit (that whole 21 day sugar detox thing), but my husband and kids devoured it. They all thought it was just as good as “regular” cinnamon rolls. And it was far easier for me to make, so win! win!

It may not work for you to start a recipe before bed and finish in the morning, but I love recipes like that. After my kids go to bed, I’m pretty much good for nothing, but I can still cook a little. Mixing up this dough and stashing it in the fridge until morning is within my mental and physical capacities at the end of a busy day. You could even make the cinnamon filling the night before and then you would have a super simple task for the next morning. As a matter of fact, I don’t see why you couldn’t assemble the whole thing – complete through step 6 of assembling the dish – the night before and just bake in the morning. I haven’t tried that, but you are still allowing the dough to rest before baking, which is the whole point of making it the night before.

Give these a try the next time you or someone you love simply needs to have cinnamon rolls. Hopefully, they will make you all happy!

 

Paleo Cinnamon "Rolls"
Print Recipe
All the yummy taste of cinnamon rolls without the hassle!
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 12 hours
Paleo Cinnamon "Rolls"
Print Recipe
All the yummy taste of cinnamon rolls without the hassle!
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
12-16 servings 1 hour
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 12 hours
Ingredients
Cinnamon filling
Topping
Servings: servings
Instructions
To make the dough
  1. Measure milk into a microwave safe measuring cup and heat on full power for one minute. Sprinkle yeast over top and set aside while you move on to the rest of the dough preparation. Your milk and yeast mixture should get bubbly. If it doesn't, your yeast is probably old.
  2. Add all dry ingredients (except yeast) to a medium sized mixing bowl: almond flour, arrowroot, gelatin, baking powder, salt and maple sugar. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted shortening and vinegar. Add the yeast/milk mixture and whisk all thoroughly.
  4. Combine dry and liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. For refrigerator resting overnight: Place plastic wrap in a bowl or cake pan (this is just a container to hold the dough neatly) and spray with coconut oil spray (or whatever nonstick spray you use). Place dough on plastic wrap, spray top of dough with oil and wrap tightly. For warm resting like a traditional yeast dough: In the same bowl you mixed your dough, cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a warm place. My favorite spot is the back of the stove with the oven on if I'm making something else, or in the oven, turned off, with just the light on. The light provides enough warmth for the dough to rise.
  6. Refrigerate overnight or allow to rest in a warm place 45 minutes to an hour. This is what my dough looked like after a warm rest time. Doesn't that sound nice?
To make filling
  1. Add dates, maple syrup, shortening and cinnamon to a small saucepan and heat gently for 10 minutes. Pour this mixture into a food processor and pulse to make a smooth, thin paste.
To assemble the dish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  3. Take rested dough and crumble a little more than half into baking dish. You want to have the bottom of the dish mostly covered.
  4. Sprinkle/spread cinnamon mixture evenly over dough. If you are adding nuts and raisins, sprinkle those over the cinnamon mixture.
  5. Crumble remaining dough over top of cinnamon mixture. You can see from the picture, I have nuts and raisins on half.
  6. Melt additional two tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil and drizzle over top of dough (this is optional). Drizzle additional two tablespoons of maple syrup over top. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon over all.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until slightly browned on top.
  8. Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top if desired.
Recipe Notes

*Great Lakes Grass Fed Gelatin - make sure you get the red can.

Since originally writing up this recipe, I've made these "rolls" again and used a little different process, with equally good results. I made the dough, covered it with plastic wrap, left it in a warm place and rested it for about 45 minutes. In the mean time, I made the cinnamon filling. When the dough was nice and puffy and rested, I proceeded as above in step three of "assembling the dish." Then I baked this right away. It turned out great. The moral of the story here is that this is an extremely flexible recipe. Make it the night before, make it when you need it, allowing a short resting time for the dough, rest the dough in the fridge, rest it in a warm place (this option for short term rests only). Do what works for you and your particular circumstances and schedule.

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