Pipe Dream #213: To Cheat Magicians – Quicker Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

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Because sometimes we need cinnamon rolls now.

lisa cinn rolls

There are so many tips, tricks and shortcuts in this recipe, that I kind of feel like I finnagled the magician into giving away all his secrets for a wink and a smile. I feel kind of guilty. Like I shouldn’t have led you on, only to share your deepest heart with the World Wide Web.

You shouldn’t feel guilty, though. These rolls are whole wheat “healthy,” and they come together in a snap. That is, compared to regular cinnamon rolls. I mean, can I get an ‘Amen!’ for no rise time? Amen!

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I made these with Lisa of Wild Chow fame. She basically did it all, and I just bummed around for 30 minutes because that is how long these took to come together and then ate cinnamon rolls. It was great.

One of Lisa’s secret baking tricks is to use powdered buttermilk rather than liquid buttermilk in any baking recipe calling for buttermilk. Don’t ask me why it works; Lisa is a lot smarter at cooking science than I, and she swears by it. Simply mix the buttermilk powder in with the dry ingredients, and add the equivalent amount of water instead of the liquid buttermilk.

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Another secret trick, divulged by America’s test kitchen is to seal the pan with foil. Again, don’t ask me why this works, but it is supposed to give the rolls a more yeasty flavor comparable to traditional cinnamon rolls.

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You’re a square, but I like you.

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With a wink and a smile,


Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (4 1/8 ounces) whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups water + buttermilk powder, mixed in with the dry ingredients)
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, divided

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 oz light cream cheese
1 tbsp buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease.

Whisk together all filling ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all purpose flour, whole what flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Add in buttermilk and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and mix until dough starts to come together into a shaggy ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes, until dough begins to look smooth and can be handled easily.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and press or roll out into a 9×12-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Take remaining tablespoon of melted butter and brush over dough rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with filling mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border around each edge.

Using a bench scraper  or a flat spatula, roll the dough up into a tight spiral. Pinch seam to seal.

Use a serrated knife to cut dough into 9 even pieces. Gently flatten each of the rolls before placing them in the prepared pan, to even them out if they were misshaped when sliced.

Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 12 minutes covered, then uncover the rolls and bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown.

Use the foil to life the rolls out of the baking pan and place them on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk all glaze ingredients together with a hand mixer until very smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls and serve warm.

Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.

6 Responses to “Pipe Dream #213: To Cheat Magicians – Quicker Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. 1 fattyhatty September 2, 2013 at 9:08 am

    You are most definitely one of my favourite food bloggers. These look incredible!

  2. 2 momwhearingloss September 2, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Reblogged this on MOMWHEARINGLOSS and commented:
    When I get time – I’m making these!

  1. 1 Feels like Fall | foreverfaithandfood Trackback on September 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm
  2. 2 Merry Christmas! Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake + Recipe Ideas | piping dreams Trackback on December 18, 2013 at 9:01 am
  3. 3 Pipe Dream #302: To French Vanilla – Quick Apple Cinnamon Buns | piping dreams Trackback on November 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

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