No I am not kidding. Yes it is a thing. And it is healthy. And it is perfect. It will take you a lot of time. It is worth it.
¼ c water
¼ c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or go bold with some coconut milk)
3 tbsp sugar free maple syrup (or agave nectar or regular maple syrup or honey)
a few dashes of sea salt
1 (¼ oz packet) yeast (about 2 ¼ tsp)
1 tbsp butter substitute (I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed OR for a coconut theme go for coconut oil), melted and cooled to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature (or to make it vegan, a vegan substitute should be fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
½ tsp of almond extract (or if you are koo-koo for COCOnut then use 1 tsp of coconut extract)
2 c whole wheat pastry flour, plus (quite a bit) extra for kneading
½ tbsp butter substitute (once again I use Smart Balance light with flaxseed or coconut oil), melted
¼ c sugar free maple syrup
1(ish) tbsp ground cinnamon
French Toast Coating:
½ cup of egg whites (or two eggs)
¾ cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
¼ T of vanilla extract
¼ T of extract of choice (almond, maple, or coconut)
½ – 1 T of chai mix (for the recipe I used, click here)
- To prepare the dough, combine the water, milk, maple syrup, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 40 seconds or until warmed (about 100-110°F, make sure it is warm enough).
- Wisk in the yeast, and let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes until frothy (this is a word the original recipe used but I witnessed no frothiness, maybe I just didn’t warm the mixture enough).
- Wisk in the butter substitute, egg, vanilla, maple, and almond extracts. With a wooden spoon, stir in ½ cup of the whole-wheat pastry flour at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. (It took mine about a cup and a half)
- NOW LET THE KNEADING BEGIN (I hope you have strong hands because this takes a while): I kneaded the dough in the bowl because I have a large nonstick bowl, if you don’t then knead the dough on a well-floured surface. Continue adding dough (slowly) while kneading until the dough stops absorbing the flour and the dough springs up lightly when pressed you’re your finger. This took me 10-15 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball. If you kneaded the dough on a floured surface, the coat a clean, dry bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and roll the dough ball around inside until completely coated. Place a clean, dry towel over the top, and leave the bowl in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Roll out into a 15” wide by 10” tall rectangle on a nonstick surface (to achieve this, I floured a thin, flat towel). Brush the surface with the melted butter, leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Whisk together the maple syrup and cinnamon, and brush on top of the melted butter, still leaving a 1” border on the two longer edges. Carefully roll the dough into a log, starting at one of the longer edges and rolling towards the other longer edge. Refrigerate the log for 20 minutes.
- Lightly coat two 9” or 10” round baking pan with tall edges with nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle some additional maple syrup and cinnamon on the bottom of the pans. Using unscented dental floss (DO NOT USE A KNIFE- I didn’t have unscented floss so I literally used mint floss that I cleaned the mint off of), slice the log into 10-12 (I like mini cinnamon rolls so I think I made 14) equal rounds. Drape a clean, dry towel over the top, and place in a warm draft-free spot to rise for 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once the cinnamon rolls have risen, drizzle with MORE maple syrup and cinnamon, and bake for 14-18 (if you make them small, they require less cooking time) minutes, or until the top feel firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before serving (unless you are French toast-ifying it, then read on)
- Let the cinnamon rolls cool completely in a shallow bowl, compine all the “French toast coating” ingredients.
- Cut a few cinnamon rolls in half and dip both sides in the coating.
- Place the cinnamon rolls onto a heated (and cooking spray coated) pan (I cooked mine on just higher than medium heat)
- (optional) To give them additional crispiness, bake them in the over at 450 F for a couple minutes
- top with whatever pleases you and enjoy!!
For the inspiration for this recipe, click here.
If you are lazy, just use bread and the glorious french toast mix. If you hate french toast (weirdo), but love chai then replace the cinnamon in the cinnamon roll recipe with chai mix! This recipe is versatile- I gave it underlying almond flavor, but you can also give caramel or coconut flavors and it should turn out really tasty too!