Cinnamon rolls by guest food blogger, Anjali Shah

March 28, 2014


We love scouring the internet to find exciting, healthy recipes to test out on our families and friends but there are so many food bloggers it can sometimes be overwhelming. So as part of our new weekly series we are bringing you some of our favorite ones. Test out a recipe and let us know how it turns out or share it with a foodie friend! 

anjali Shah


Anjali Shah is a food writer, board certified health coach, and owner of The Picky Eater, a healthy food and lifestyle blog. Anjali grew up a “whole wheat” girl, but married a “white bread” kind of guy. Hoping to prove that nutritious food could in fact be delicious and desirable, she taught herself how to cook and successfully transformed her husband’s eating habits from a diet of frozen pizzas and Taco Bell to her healthy, yet flavorful recipes made with simple, wholesome ingredients.





Light & Gooey Cinnamon Rolls


I have a confession to make.

While I do try to eat healthy most of the time, I’ve got quite a sweet tooth. It’s one of the rare food preferences the husband and I have 100% in common!

I crave all sweet treats: cookies, cakes, pastries, chocolate, candy, ice cream — they call to me like long lost friends whom I love and adore.

I also eat dessert every day.

But I do it in The Picky Eater way: in moderation, just a bit of indulgence, so it’s relatively guilt-free.

A while back, I received a request on my Facebook Page for a lighter version of Cinnamon Buns or Cinnamon Rolls. I love, love, love Cinnamon Buns. I remember when Cinnabon opened in our local mall when I was in junior high — it was all the rage and I definitely had my fair share of their ooey, gooey, decadent, calorie-laden treats.

So in a quest to recreate that Cinnabon experience, but with The Picky Eater twist, I scoured the web and finally found this amazing recipe for a health(ier) version of Cinnamon Buns!

What are the secret swaps in this recipe?

  • Whole wheat flour for 1/2 the all purpose flour
  • Nonfat milk
  • A bit less sugar than the traditional recipe
  • Fat free icing, and less of it per bun
  • Smaller buns (it’s somewhat obvious, but if you make the buns slightly smaller, you end up with fewer calories!)
  • Raisins instead of nuts for the filling

The Ingredients

Adapted from Food.com

Makes 12 buns

  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast, about 1 package
  • 1.25 cups whole wheat flour, sifted, divided
  • 1.25 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, divided
  • 1/4 cup unpacked brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, grated
  • 1/4 cup raisins or 1/4 cup dried cherries or 1/4 cup cranberries
  • Optional icing ingredients: 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 Tbsp low fat milk, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

The Directions

  1. Stir together milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat to lukewarm.
  2. Pour yeast over 2 tablespoons lukewarm water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the yeast/water mixture into the milk mixture.
  4. Transfer milk mixture to a large mixing bowl and beat in half the flour by hand or with an electric mixer.
  5. Mix in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (you may need a little less than 2.5 cups total)
  6. Let rest 10 minutes; knead well on a floured board or with an electric mixer and dough hook; let rest 10 minutes.
  7. Spray a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, add dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Lightly coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.
  9. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle.
  10. Spray the rolled out dough with cooking spray.
  11. Stir together brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest; brush over dough.
  12. Sprinkle with raisins.
  13. Roll up tightly, like a jelly roll.
  14. Cut into 12 pieces.
  15. Place buns cut-side up in baking pan.
  16. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  17. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  18. Bake buns until firm and nicely browned on top, 30 minutes.
  19. Cool completely before serving.

To see what the cinnamon rolls look like finished check out Anjali’s full post here.  Through her blog, The Picky Eater  Anjali shares her passion for tasty, healthy cooking. Follow her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Google+.

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