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.
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!