Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Frosting

There are several treats I have long wanted to bake, at the top of my list are bagels and cinnamon rolls. This week I tackled cinnamon rolls, next week I'm going to try bagels! Although I can't eat either of these wheat treats, Alfred loves them and I love trying out new things in the kitchen, so it's a win win in my book! (By the way locals are welcome to pop by and help him gobble up bagels next week).

Of course, I had to healthy up the rolls a bit. The version below contains no butter or sugar. Instead I used honey, dates and olive oil. I also replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat flour to make them more nutritious :). Alfred loved them (meaning he ate 6 in one day - and the day is not over yet), so don't let the healthiness make you think they aren't yummy!

This recipe makes 18 rolls - that's an awful lot for one man (even one with a mighty apetite), so I only baked half the rolls, I froze the other half (at step 5 I cut off half of the cylinder, wrapped it well in plastic wrap and freezer paper, and placed it in the freezer. I then cut the remaining dough into 9 pieces to use right away). When I want to bake the frozen rolls, I will let the dough defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed with step 6. Keep in mind that if you make only half the rolls, you will need only half of the cream cheese frosting.
* I also include an option for making the dough the night before and baking the rolls in the morning - this way you will have hot fresh rolls in just over an hour.

1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Honey
2 teaspoons Yeast
1/4 cup warm Water
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Salt
2-1/2 cups Bread Flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 Cup Pitted Dates (packed into measuring cup)
1/2 Cup Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz. Cream Cheese (I used reduced fat), softened
5 Tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Pinch of freshly grated Nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1) In a pot over medium heat, bring the milk nearly to a boil. Add the honey, salt, and olive oil; whisk thoroughly until honey dissolves. Set the milk mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

2) In a separate bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and stir quickly. Stir in the egg. Add the milk mixture. (Make sure it's cooled down to room temperature or you'll kill the yeast.)

3) Combine the bread and whole wheat flour. Add the flour to the wet. Stir until the flour is all incorporated and the dough comes together in a soft, loose ball. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil (I always use extra virgin olive) to a clean bowl. Roll the dough around until it is oiled all over, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a wet dish towel. Put the bowl someplace warm, and let it rise until the dough has doubled in volume, about an hour-and-a-half.

4) Meanwhile make the filling and frosting. To make the filling combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the dates are soft and have absorbed the liquid. Thoroughly mash or puree the softened dates, set aside. To make the frosting, whip together all of the ingredients until thoroughly combined, then refrigerate the frosting until you are ready to use it.

5) Once the dough has risen, punch it down to deflate it. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth and satiny. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about an eighth-inch thick (probably about 12-14 inches long by 8-10 inches wide). Spread the date filling evenly over the rectangle. Roll the dough up long-wise to form a cylinder 12-14 inches long. Cut the dough into 1 inch thick slices (I got 18).

6) Place the rolls in 2 oiled 8 or 9 inch round or square pan, or a 9-13 inch baking dish.

7) Now you have 2 options.

To bake the rolls right away:
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow them to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Bake the risen rolls in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

To bake the rolls the following morning:
Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator. In the morning, take the rolls out of the refrigerator and place them in a warm place to rise until they are doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Bake the risen rolls in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

8) Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the hot rolls and enjoy!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free and Healthy, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!


  1. I love that you have put dates in these - they are one of my favourites! Thanks also for the different baking options. I must confess, despite being an avid baker, cinnamon rolls are something I have yet to make. I've bookmarked your recipe and when I do make them, I think I'll start with your recipe!!

  2. Hi April - Thanks for stopping by and happy monday! If you get a chance to try the recipe out, be sure to let me know what you think!

  3. Wow! I'd love for you to stop by What's Cooking Wednesday to share one of your recipes (! Hope to see you tomorrow!

  4. I've never made my own cinnamon rolls! My kids would love me if I did! Well, hopefully the do anyways. THanks!

  5. You had me at the frosting! These look soooo good. I'll definitely be trying them. Thanks for sharing.


  6. now, you are going to send us all some, right? :)

    Thanks for stopping by for What's Cooking Wednesday...come back next week and link up again!


  7. Wacki04 - thanks for the invite! I always love finding new venues to share my recipes!

    Debbi - how funny, with all the other tasty treats you make I'm sure their affection is very strong :)

    Lisa - This frosting is very yummy (according to hubs) and sweeter than I thought it would be - I like that it is all reduced-fat cream cheese, no butter - that way you can feel a little bit better about eating these and feeding them to your loved-ones!

    Diane - I would, but I don't think they would pack well (especially with the icing), but feel free to pop by if you're in the area :). I'm planning on trying out bagels this weekend! Alfred isn't the best at sharing, but I bet I could sneak you one on the sly!

  8. I love to use dates! They really add a sweet flavor don't they?
    Thanks for linking up to Just Another Meatless Monday, see you next week!

  9. I love your take on cinnamon roll filling...I might have to try that sometime. Thanks so much for linking to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. I'm linking to this recipe on Tuesday for "Last Week's Healthier Highlights."

  10. Hi Laura and Amy - Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you all like the date filling. My hubby has a real sweet tooth, and the natural sweetness of the dates fully satisfied him :)

  11. thought these were gluten free?

  12. Sorry anonymous - not all the recipes on my blog are gluten free. Those that are GF are labeled as such. As I wrote to Amy, a wonderful Gluten Free baker and host of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, the date filling can be used with any dough, so hopefully this recipe isn't a total loss to you.

  13. These look just wonderful! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites!

  14. Hi Jerri - Thank you for hosting such a great blog carnival!