guiltless cinnamon buns anyone?

I’ve been craving Cinnamon Buns for weeks but really didn’t want to go with the canned stuff, so I’ve been looking all through the internet (ok, Pinterest) to find a recipe. Unfortunately most of the recipes I came along got rejected after a screen over the ingredients: too much sugar, too much butter, not very nutritional. Some of you might have a similar reaction to my husband’s “It’s cinnamon buns you’re looking for, what did you expect?” Well, I expected to find some healthy alternative and so I started googling  “whole wheat cinnamon buns”. I came across this recipe, adapted it slightly and started the happy baking.


What can I tell you? They are de-li-cious!! And made with whole wheat flour, skim milk, and just a little bit of butter they come to only 265 calories! Doesn’t this make them sound so much more delicious? I promise you, once they come out of you’re oven you won’t be able to stop eating them till they are gone. I have to say the recipe might look overwhelming at a first glance, but it is so worth it. It isn’t even that complicated once you get it started, I promise. It was my first attempt on cinnamon buns and they turned out fantastic. I’m pretty sure when I was able to master them, you can too.

So here is the recipe as found here, with my adaption in (bold)

Yields about 14 rolls
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Total time: 3 1/2 hours



  •  1 cup fat free milk, warmed (100 – 110 degrees F) (I used 2% since that’s all I had)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (2 TBS butter + 2 1/2 TBS unsweetened apple sauce)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon (I didn’t have white sugar, so I used sugar in the raw + brown sugar)
  • 1 package active dry, quick rising yeast
  • 2 3/4 – 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 organic egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (can use regular cinnamon if you want) (Cinnamon)


  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons light cream (2% milk)
  • About 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions :

  1. Mix milk, yeast, butter (2 tablespoons) (I used the applesauce in the dough) and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit about 5 minutes, or until mixture is frothy. Stir in egg, remaining sugar and 1 cup flour and mix. Let sit another 10 minutes.
  2. Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time and salt until mixture resembles a sticky dough (you may not use all the flour).  Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 4 – 6 minutes, or until dough is elastic. If still sticky, knead in remaining flour. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and cover it. Let rise in a warm place (at least 85 degrees F) until doubled in size, may take up to 1 hour.
  3. Once dough has risen, punch it down, re-cover and let rise an additional 35 – 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again. Punch down again and let rest 5 minutes.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 9 x 18 rectangle. Gently brush remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle the melted butter with brown sugar/pumpkin pie spice mixture. Then carefully roll up one end to the other, pressing the sides down with your fingers.
  5. Using a sharp, un-serrated knife, cut the dough vertically into 14 pieces. Place pieces cut side down in 2 greased baking dishes (I used a 9 x 18 and an 8 x 8 circle), cover and let rise another 35 – 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 18 – 22 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans and let chill on a wire cooling rack.
  7. While rolls cool, prepare frosting by whisking butter and cream together. Add in vanilla. Then gradually add powdered sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, until mixture is a little thick but still runny.  Drizzle roll with frosting (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each) while still warm and serve.


Before starting the recipe, I turned my oven to about 150F (lowest), turned it off 10-15 minutes later and then used the warm oven to rise my dough in. It worked beautifully and cut the rising time in half!


Since it’s only the hubby and I, I froze one pan of the cinnamon rolls after I let them rise again in the oven for about 10 minutes and only baked four to eat immediately. Boy how I wished I would have baked more right away, they turned out so delicious, we ate them at once and wished we had more! I took out another four the same night, let those defrost in the fridge overnight and made them in the morning. They we’re still pretty amazing but not as great as the fresh ones. So my tip for you: Go for it and bake them all :)!