When a pandemic hits, comforting classics inevitably fill up kitchens. The smell alone of a yeasted dough baking in the oven can transform a state of frenzy into a comforting nook that feels safe and welcoming. I speak from experience as I have made these Whole Wheat Cinnamon Date Rolls With Cashew Cream every single weekend for the past three weekends. They have a unique spin while still being a classic comfort food…and beyond delicious!
Here on A Little Dough, I like to post recipes that keep taste and health both in mind. Honestly, I was hesitant to take a stab at cinnamon rolls. A cinnamon roll is known to be such a glutinous treat, that I didn’t think I could find that balance.
Nonetheless, I gave it a try. There are worse things than making batches and batches of cinnamon rolls! I started by separating out each component of an indulgent cinnamon roll and put a healthier spin on each element, without sacrificing flavor or texture. And whoa, these exceeded any expectation I had! Here’s what I did:
The dough: Most cinnamon rolls are made with refined all-purpose flour, which is known to make our blood sugar spike and subsequently crash, placing stress on our body and energy levels. I used whole wheat flour instead, which has a less dramatic effect on our blood sugar as the fiber has not been removed from the grain.
The filling: Classic cinnamon rolls have a cinnamon & sugar filling, which adds onto the blood sugar roller coaster mentioned in the dough. To improve this element, I imagined a date filling would give great texture, taste, and add fiber, while also being a natural sugar source.
The frosting: Traditional frosting is a blanket of sugar, which can taste amazing but also be overwhelming. I kept the texture and flavor appeal of frosting by using a cashew base flavored with vanilla extract and sweetened with a touch of honey. I also added yogurt for protein, probiotics, and texture. Lastly, a touch of ground flax seeds acts as a thickening agent, while also providing more fiber.
Are you intrigued yet? Scroll down for the full ingredient list and directions! These Whole Wheat Cinnamon Date Rolls With Cashew Cream are the perfect #stayathome baking project to add to the agenda.
Wishing you best of health during this unprecedented time. Take good care of yourself and your community. We’re all in this one together.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Date Rolls With Cashew Cream
(9 servings, vegetarian, dairy-free, refined-sugar free)
– Dough –
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 ounce (7g) active dry yeast (I use this one)
- 1 Tbsp local honey
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (can sub butter, just won’t be dairy free)
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- Generous pinch of salt
-Cinnamon Date Filling-
- 20 medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 10 min
- 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (can sub butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
-Cashew Cream Frosting-
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour.
- ½ cup plain yogurt of choice (either dairy or dairy free as preferred)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- 2-4 Tbsp water (use as needed to help blend)
- Preheat the oven to 170F and turn off the oven once preheated. To make the dough, add the 3/4 cup almond milk to a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30-40 sec. Whisk in the 1 Tbsp of honey, and then whisk in the full ¼ ounce of yeast (ensure the milk is warm and not hot before adding the yeast). Let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast – it will bubble up, indicating the yeast is active (and not expired!).
- Add the yeast into a larger bowl and add the eggs and melted coconut oil (should be warm, not hot). Whisk until combined. Measure the whole wheat flour flour by taking the measuring cup and scooping directly from the flour container to ensure correct measurement. Add in the first 2 cups of flour, a generous pinch of salt, and mix into a dough, then add in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour until a ball of dough is formed. It’s okay if it is still slightly sticky.
- Keep the ball of dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, followed by laying a kitchen towel on top of the bowl. This helps to ensure the dough does not get exposed to air and dry out. Place the bowl of dough into the warmed oven (ensure the oven is turned off after it has preheated to 170F). Let the dough rest in the warmed oven for 2 hours, the dough should double in size.
- As the dough rests, start to prep the cinnamon date filling by soaking the dates in a bowl of hot water for at least 10 minutes. Once the dates have softened, remove and discard the pit of each date. Add the dates to a high speed blender or food processor with the remaining filling ingredients. Pulse until a paste is reached.
(If you don’t have a high speed blender, simply use the back of a fork and press down on the date with the back of the fork until a paste is made.)
- Prepare an 8×8 baking dish with a sheet of parchment paper (or smear with a layer of coconut oil or butter). Once the dough has risen, knead it briefly on a floured surface to release any air. Roll out the dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Spread the cinnamon date filling evenly all over the rectangle. Roll the dough into a log, starting from the shorter side of the rectangle, going from left to right. Cut the log into 9 even pieces and place into the prepared baking pan (as pictured). Preheat the oven to 350F and let the dough rest as the oven preheats.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick or sharp knife should come out clean when finished baking.
- While the cinnamon rolls cool, make the cashew cream frosting by draining off the water in which the cashews soaked in. Discard the water and add the cashews into a high speed blender with the remaining ingredients. Add 2-4 Tbsp water if needed to help blend. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to eat, this also helps to thicken the frosting.
- I recommend frosting the cinnamon rolls right before eating. I like to heat the cinnamon rolls up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before adding the cashew cream frosting and eating!
(Store frosting and any frosted cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator.)