This crispy, Healthy Cinnamon Rolls recipe with crusty cinnamon-sugar glaze is perfect for a family breakfast on the weekend (and also comes with an overnight option).
We’ve had a few really rainy and chilly days here in Calgary. Weather like that calls for comfort food, and it made my mother-in-law crave cinnamon buns. She made a whole big batch that she generously shared with us.
I posted a picture of those cinnamon buns on Instagram and also on my Facebook page (head on over, I’d love to connect with you in both places). And you guys kind of went crazy over them with your Likes and also many requests for the recipe.
Teamwork with My Mother-in-Law
I would have loved to share my MIL’s (mother-in-law) recipe right away; the only problem is – she makes things like this up from the top of her head. Crazy eh? She is good like that! I respect and admire this a lot.
But she was really intrigued by the interest in her cinnamon buns that she made them again a few days later. This time she measured out carefully everything that she puts together and asked me to watch and help, so that I could write down the instructions.
So now, thanks to our teamwork, you have her recipe right here. Boom.
A Different Kind of Cinnamon Roll
These are not your typical soft, sweet-roll-type cinnamon buns. They have a bit of a crispier, heartier texture to them as she makes them healthier by adding a mixture of seeds to the dough – specifically ground flax seed, chia seeds, sesame seeds and also some quick cooking oats.
The seeds and grains are optional, however I highly recommend using them. You can definitely substitute the varieties you have at home – try some poppy or sunflower seeds, for example. One of the great things about this recipe is that you can be flexible with it.
The Dough Sets These Apart From the Rest
These cinnamon buns are made from a yeast dough, which can scare some people – but please don’t be scared! It still is as easy as throwing all ingredients together and kneading them into a dough. If you bought your yeast not too long ago, it should work just fine and there is no need for proofing (however, should proofing just be part of your routine for yeast dough, you certainly can still do it).
There is also olive oil in the dough which gives these cinnamon buns even more points on the healthiness scale.
The recipe makes a large pan of cinnamon buns. We had 21 medium-small buns in the end but you can roll out the dough a little thicker and make fewer, larger buns.
If you don’t like overflowing, too-crusty tops, don’t do what we did 🙂
We thought we were lucky being able to squeeze all 21 buns into a 13×11-inch pan, but they rise quite a bit still in the pan and while they bake in the oven. So you could use two smaller pans or even one large jelly roll pan.
I love to cut my cinnamon buns in half and spread homemade roasted almond butter on the two halves.
Crispy Healthier Cinnamon Buns
For the Cinnamon Buns:
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
- 3 tbsp ground flax seed optional
- 2 tbsp chia seeds optional
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds optional
- 3-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil or more flour
For the Filling and Glaze:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp butter divided + more for brushing the pan
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the cinnamon buns and stir, then knead into a uniform dough. If preferred, you could turn the dough out onto the counter and knead there.
If the dough is still too sticky in the end, add either a tablespoon of olive oil or a few sprinkles of flour to make a smooth dough.
Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size (45 minutes to 1 hour). Punch down and let rise for a second time (~1 hour).
In the meantime, combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a small bowl for the glaze and filling.
Turn out the risen dough onto a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of very soft butter. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
Roll the dough into a log starting from the long side. Cut into about 20 buns. (We had a fairly thin, long log. With a thicker, shorter log you can make fewer but bigger buns).
Place the rolls in a buttered baking dish of adequate size and let the buns rise again in the pan until they are significantly bigger.
Preheat the oven to 375F and bake the cinnamon buns for about 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and combine with the remaining cinnamon-sugar and whipping cream. Brush the glaze mix over the golden brown cinnamon buns and bake for just a few (5) more minutes.
One Note About the Recipe
You can also make these cinnamon buns fresh for breakfast without slaving away early in the morning. Prepare the cinnamon buns the night before, and once they are in the pan, cover with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for the last rise (the cold fridge will slow down the rising process).
In the morning, leave the cinnamon buns at room temperature while the oven is pre-heating. Bake and glaze as directed above. And there you have it! Enjoy this fun take on cinnamon buns and get cooking!
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