Hello, cinnamon roll! There really is nothing like the smell of cinnamon anything in the oven, but cinnamon rolls – oh my! That combination of yeasty dough and sweet cinnamon permeates throughout the whole house, and all you’ll want to do is brew a pot of coffee, turn off the TV, curl up on the sofa, and just have a little alone time. These whole-wheat cinnamon rolls are from a Cooking Light recipe I’ve had for quite some time now, but naturally, I needed to dress these up a little more. I added my own Sandy Nut topping, something that I’ve often just thrown together and sprinkled on fruit crumbles. On top of these cinnamon rolls, it was perfection.
Oh, and side note: the thought of making anything with yeast absolutely mortifies my soul. Through all my bread trials and tribulations, I have either (a) killed the yeast by letting it totally disintegrate into too-hot water, or (b) dissolved the yeast in not warm-enough water. In either case, my bread never rose enough and turned out tough, nonelastic, and, in the end, unconsumed. Friends have told me to just get a bread maker and let it do all the work, but I’ve always had a penchant for doing things myself, even if it happened to be the hard way (thanks for instilling that hard work ethic in me, Daddy). And plus, it just feels more organic to knead your own dough, watch it proof, and punch it down (you know, stress relief). I don’t know if it was all the experience failing at making bread, but this was easy. Seriously, if I can do it, you can too! The end result was chewy, elastic, light, and full of yeasty goodness. Now, excuse me while I get back to my cinnamon rolls…
Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Rolls with Tram’s Sandy Nut Topping
from Cooking Light (except for the topping), serves 16
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon (I use Saigon cinnamon – yum!)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup raisins
for the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
5 tsp fat-free milk
for Tram’s Sandy-Nut topping:
1/4 cup almond meal
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cold butter, diced into 9 cubes
1. To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm milk and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Add butter and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press 2 fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough). Punch dough down; roll into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Coat surface of dough with cooking spray.
2. To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; sprinkle over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle raisins over dough, pressing gently into dough. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal. Cut dough into 16 rolls. Place rolls, cut sides up, in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F.
4. To make the sandy nut topping, place almond meal, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and butter into a food processor. Pulse the mixture, until it resembles small pebbles.
5. Uncover the rolls. Sprinkle the topping over the cinnamon rolls. Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack.
6. To prepare glaze, place powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Add 5 teaspoons milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring to form a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze evenly over rolls.