^^^ That is what sugar and spice and everything nice smells like. Seriously.
I've been on a quest to find a fluffy grain-free cinnamon roll for a few years now. It's been a rough journey. Almond flour usually results in a dense, semi-crunchy dough that is certainly never fluffy. Coconut flour requires a lot of liquid to combat it's dryness, but when you add a lot of liquid it's pretty much impossible to roll out the dough and roll it up with cinnamon. And the cinnamon filling is the best part of the cinnamon roll, so that's a big problemo.
That's why, even though I rarely bake with large amounts of tapioca flour, I went for this time. It sticks together, makes a moldable dough, and results in a fluffy finished product. If you ask me, tapioca flour is a bit of a real-food loop hole. If we're talking about foods that nourish your body, tapioca flour falls flat on it's face. However sometimes you just need a cinnamon roll, and sometimes, your soul needs a little bit of nourishment too.
For those days, this recipe is a winner -- allergy-friendly, but also fluffy, soft, and sweet. The cinnamon filling is made with whole fruits, so no extra sweetener is needed! Dates are the main sweetener here, but I added shredded apple for good measure because, well, cinnamon + apples = more please!!
Did you see that big pan of cinnamon rolls in picture #2?? Not even kidding you, there were only 3 and a half left an hour after they came out of the oven. Note to self: Next time, gorge on cinnamon rolls after yoga, not before.
Yields: 15 two to three inch rolls | Total Time:
- 3/4 cup dates, pit removed
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon for filling
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons coconut milk (canned, full fat)
- 3/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large apple
- 1-1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- Bring the 1 cup of water to boil. Remove from heat, and pour into a small bowl. Place the dates in the water to soften them.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prep the dough: In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together 1/2 cup of coconut oil and honey. Once incorporated, add the vanilla, room temperature eggs, and coconut milk. Beat until fully combined. (If your eggs are cold when you mix them in, they may not cream into the coconut oil as well).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt. Once the dry ingredients are well distributed, add half to the wet ingredients. Beat until fully incorporated, then add the other half. Set dough aside.
- Finish prepping the filling: Drain the dates, and add them to a high powered blender. Blend on high until a thick paste forms. Scoop the paste into a small bowl. Grate the apple with a cheese grater. Fold the apples, 1 tablespoon coconut oil and cinnamon into the date paste.
- Make the rolls: Pat the dough into a disc shape. Place the disc shape between 2 pieces of parchment. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top layer of parchment. Feel free to trim any uneven edges now — this is not necessary but will result in more even end rolls. Spread the date paste mixture out in a thin, even layer on the dough. Now, starting at one edge of the rectangle, roll the dough: Use the bottom layer of parchment paper to help you — this dough is softer than a wheat dough, and needs the help. Tip: Each time I go to roll the dough over, I loosen it from the parchment with a spatula. Some bits may stick to the parchment— that is ok.
- Grease a 9-inch pie pan. Once you have rolled the dough into a log, you may cut your cinnamon rolls: Use a separated knife, and cut the roll into 1-inch rounds. Wipe your knife clean each time. Place the cinnamon rolls 1/2 to 1 inch apart in the pie pan. Once all rolls are cut, cover pan with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Bake rolls for 40-45 minutes with the aluminum foil on. Then remove the foil and bake for an addition 10-15 minutes. Rolls should be soft, but quite golden when done. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.