I have a confession to make.
While I do try to eat healthy most of the time, I’ve got quite a sweet tooth. It’s one of the rare food preferences the husband and I have 100% in common!
I crave all sweet treats: cookies, cakes, pastries, chocolate, candy, ice cream — they call to me like long lost friends whom I love and adore.
I also eat dessert every day.
But I do it in The Picky Eater way: in moderation, just a bit of indulgence, so it’s relatively guilt-free.
A while back, I received a request on my Facebook Page for a lighter version of Cinnamon Buns or Cinnamon Rolls. I love, love, love Cinnamon Buns. I remember when Cinnabon opened in our local mall when I was in junior high — it was all the rage and I definitely had my fair share of their ooey, gooey, decadent, calorie-laden treats.
So in a quest to recreate that Cinnabon experience, but with The Picky Eater twist, I scoured the web and finally found this amazing recipe for a health(ier) version of Cinnamon Buns!
What are the secret swaps in this recipe?
- Whole wheat flour for 1/2 the all purpose flour
- Nonfat milk
- A bit less sugar than the traditional recipe
- Fat free icing, and less of it per bun
- Smaller buns (it’s somewhat obvious, but if you make the buns slightly smaller, you end up with fewer calories!)
- Raisins instead of nuts for the filling
Makes 12 buns
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon yeast, about 1 package
- 1.25 cups whole wheat flour, sifted, divided
- 1.25 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, divided
- 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
- 1/4 cup raisins or 1/4 cup dried cherries or 1/4 cup cranberries
- Optional icing ingredients: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 Tbsp low fat milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Stir together milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat to lukewarm.
- Pour yeast over 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and let sit 5 minutes.
- Stir the yeast/water mixture into the milk mixture.
- Transfer milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and beat in half the flour by hand or with an electric mixer.
- Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (you may need a little less than 2.5 cups total)
- Let rest 10 minutes; knead well on a floured board or with an electric mixer and dough hook; let rest 10 minutes.
- Spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Lightly coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
- Spray the rolled out dough with cooking spray.
- Stir together brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest; brush over dough.
- Sprinkle with raisins.
- Roll up tightly, like a jelly roll.
- Cut into 12 pieces.
- Place buns cut-side up in baking pan.
- Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Bake buns until firm and nicely browned on top, 30 minutes.
- Cool completely before serving.
Each cinnamon roll / cinnamon bun has about 160 calories, 10g sugar, and 1.5g fat. Not bad for a guilt-free version of the original!