I really think there’s some kind of biological cinnamon-roll clock in my body. I’ve been thinking about these rolls non-stop for the past 3 weeks.
Of course, cinnamon rolls are close to my heart because they involve copious amounts of my favourite spice. Thus, it was definitely necessary during my no-added-sugar recipe development phase to make a sugarless version. Like, I don’t mean a shitty #health version. I wanted them to be just as soft and sticky, with glaze and all.
I’ve baked bread using pumpkin purée (specifically, these pumpkin spice pretezeeeellls!!!) and adored the golden hue and pillowy texture it added. Roasted sweet potatoes seemed like a good substitute. Due to their inherently saccharine nature, I thought I could get away with leaving sugar out of the dough.
Onto the filling! Medjool dates = muscovado sugar, flavour wise. Plus they’re gooey and spreadable when blended. I just needed to jazz up them up with some creamy nut butter, a bit more sweet potato puree (to help make it a bit easier to spread) and of course CINNAMON.
The glaze was a bit of a hassle (icing sugar is magical and also a pain to substitute) but I ended up with a pipable glaze once I realised the key ingredient to a sugar-free icing is coconut yogurt.
Oh, and I made these for my flatmates last week. There were none left by the end of the day. I think that confirms my legit cinnamon roll aims were met.
– dough recipe adapted from Oh, Ladycakes
– to make the sweet potato puree: poke holes all over a sweet potato using a fork. Wrap it in foil and then bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potato. Leave to cool then scoop the flesh out, discarding the skin, and blend until smooth.
– spare sweet potato puree can be frozen!
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup (120 g) sweet potato puree (see notes)
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 tsp active dried yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose (plain) flour, plus more for kneading
- 1 cup (120 g) wholewheat (wholemeal) flour
For the filling:
- 4 medjool dates, , pitted
- 2 tbsp sweet potato puree
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 heaped tsp nut butter, (I used pecan butter but cashew, almond or coconut would work well)
- 3 tbsp chopped pecans
For the glaze:
- 1 tbsp coconut butter, , melted
- 1 tsp tapioca starch or cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut yogurt, (I used Coyo)
Make the dough:
- In a medium bowl, stir together the sweet potato puree, flaxseed, coconut oil, oat milk and yeast. Add the salt and flours and mix well. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough, sprinkling with flour as needed, until smooth and only slightly sticky (about 6 minutes). Lightly oil the bowl you were using and place the dough in it, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until doubled in volume (about an hour).
Make the filling:
- Cover the pitted dates with boiling water and set them aside for 5 minutes to soften then drain, discarding the soaking liquid. Place the soaked dates into a blender with the sweet potato puree, cinnamon, vanilla and nut butter. Blend until completely smooth (You could also put everything in a jug and use an immersion blender to blend up this filling mixture).
- Punch the risen dough down and roll out into a 9 x 10-inch rectangle. Cover the entire surface of the dough with a layer of filling. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Roll the dough up starting at the short edge so you end up with a 9-inch long log. Cut into 6 equal pieces and arrange in a lightly greased cake pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise (20 minutes into the rising time, preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C)). Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Make the glaze:
- Stir together all of the glaze ingredients. Transfer to a sandwich bag and cut the tip of one corner off. Use like a piping bag to pipe glaze over the cinnamon rolls.