In my opinion it just isn’t Christmas without the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. One of the first things I tackled as a gluten-free baker was cinnamon rolls. I had high expectations and I felt like most of my initial attempts fell short. My desire to recreate the cinnamon roll I fondly remember kept me motivated to continue tweaking and adjusting my recipe….until I had these. Soft and springy, with a generous filling of spicy brown sugar these cinnamon rolls will comfort and indulge your family regardless of whether or not they’re gluten-free. These have been tested and re-tested and they pass the finicky palates of neighbors and friends who think gluten-free is some kind of new age political party.
I encourage you to give them a try. Put on some music, make some tea and enjoy yourself. They really are worth the extra effort.
If you do, definitely stick to the recipe as closely as you can. Every ingredient and every amount is there for a reason. Equipped with my kitchen scale, notepad and pencil, I was a mad scientist on a quest. One of the many things I learned along the way is how relatively small changes really impacted end results. For instance, I originally wrote the recipe with brown sugar in the dough (instead of the granulated sugar) and although the dough tasted great, it had a coarser texture that just wasn’t capturing the cinnamon rolls of my memory. With that said, I also recommend that you use a kitchen scale for best results. It’s the best 35 dollars you’ll ever spend if you’re serious about baking gluten-free.
Happy Baking and Happy Holidays to all! See you in the New Year!
Cinnamon Rolls (Gluten-Free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Corn-free)
- 1 ¾ cups (260 grams) brown rice flour
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (130 grams) tapioca starch
- ½ cup (80 grams) potato starch
- 3 tablespoons (25 grams) ground flax (I prefer golden flax)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (click here if baking corn-free)
- 1 ¾ teaspoons xanthan gum (I use Authentic Foods corn-free xanthan gum)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (most packages are only 2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, canola oil or melted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (click here if baking corn-free)
- 1 ¼ cups milk substitute of choice (or cow’s milk)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- *** an additional 3- 4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, butter, or non-dairy margarine for brushing the dough.
- *** an additional 1/4 cup of granulated sugar is needed for rolling out the dough.
- 1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
→ Mix the filling ingredients, (brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger ) in a bowl with a fork. Set aside.
To Make the Dough:
→ Liberally grease a 8 by 8 inch square baking pan (or 9 by 13 pan) with pan spray or non-hydrogenated shortening.
→ Place the dry ingredients (brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, ground flax, granulated sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and active dry yeast) into the bowl of your standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
→ Add the remaining ingredients (melted oil, vanilla, eggs, milk, and eggs) to the bowl and starting out on slow speed, gradually increase to medium-high speed and mix for 2 1/2 minutes. The dough will look like a very thick, sticky batter and should not even come close to forming a ball. Please see the picture below for an idea of how it should look.
→ Lay out a piece of plastic wrap, parchment paper or a silpat mat, (a bit bigger than 12 inches by 16 1/2 inches). Sprinkle liberally with granulated sugar (to keep the dough from sticking), trying to cover the entire 12 by 16 1/2 inch surface. Scrape out the dough in a big, ooey-gooey pile onto the sugared rectangle. See picture below↓. Yes, you will feel like you are wrestling with the dough!
→ Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and begin to press it down a bit into a rough rectangular shape. If you are worried about sticking, you could give your dough a quick spray with pan spray, or oil the plastic wrap first. My plastic wrap stuck in a couple of spots but it wasn’t too much of a worry.
→ Then gently roll the dough out, with a rolling pin, into a large rectangle approximately 12 inches by 16 inches. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect! Occasionally you may need to stop using the rolling pin and coax the dough into the corners with your fingers and palms. The plastic wrap will keep this from getting too messy.
→ Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the dough (don’t worry if it sticks in spots) and brush the entire surface of the dough with the melted coconut oil (or canola oil, butter or dairy-free margarine).
→ Spread the filling out on the surface of the dough, leaving a 3/4 inch margin of dough bare on one of the short ends (see the right side of my dough in the picture below). This will be the closing seam and having it be free of the sugar filling will allow you to seal the cinnamon roll log closed. (just make sure that when you roll up your dough, you start with the completely sugar covered short end!)
→ When you get to the end, seal the log by gently pressing the seam.
→ Cut the log into 9 equal pieces (I mark mine first so that I get consistently sized rolls) using a sharp chef’s knife or dental floss.
→ Transfer rolls to a well-greased 8 by 8 inch square pan (alternatively you could bake them in a 13 by 9 inch pan, they just won’t be quite as snug). Cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise in a sufficiently warm area (80 degrees) for 45-60 minutes.
→ After the rolls have been rising for 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
→ When the rolls are done rising (approx. 45-60 mins and they will begin to fill in some of the spaces and gaps that were initially in the pan), bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes or until filling is bubbling and rolls are beginning to turn golden.
→ Cool for 10 minutes and then CAREFULLY (you may want to get an adult for this one) flip them out onto a foil covered cookie sheet so that their bottoms are now their tops. (Like a pineapple-upside down cake.) This will allow the warm sugar syrup to drizzle down and spread the goodness! ↓ The picture below is what they look like when you flip them out. YUM.
→ Serve warm. With day old cinnamon rolls, warm gently in the microwave to soften the sugar topping. If you have leftovers, wrap well and place in air-tight container in the freezer. Defrost slowly in the microwave.
Yield: 9 GIANT Rolls