Sugar-free cinnamon rolls

Sugar-free cinnamon rolls

sugar-free cinnamon rolls

I’ve always been a coffee person. I was born in Melbourne, which is a place of outstanding coffee so I’ve grown up loving the ritual of meeting friends in the cafe for coffee.

Later in my life, when I had an irregular heart rhythm I was told that I wouldn’t ever be able to consume caffeine or alcohol for the rest of my life. Imagine that?!? My friends were devastated for me: “You can’t drink alcohol anymore? That is terrible! What are you going to do when you go out?”

But the reality was that I missed the coffee way, way more. After one year of abstinence, when I had a successful procedure and I was given the all-clear to enjoy what I wanted, everyone expected me to go straight down the pub. In fact the first thing I did was to go out and have coffee and some cinnamon rolls.

I still remember that moment vividly. This is why cinnamon buns and coffee have a special meaning for me, a celebration of a long drama ending but, more importantly, a celebration of coffee and the wonders that it brings! Today’s recipe is a sugar-free dedication to this wondrous urban ritual…

These sugar-free cinnamon rolls took us a few goes to get perfect. Initially we started using wholemeal flour but we just couldn’t get them to be fluffy or cake-like. They were OK, but they were a little bit dry and bread-like. On our third go we got the mix perfect, and, although we gave away most of the previous batches, we ate all of the final batch.

We’re really happy with this recipe because the natural sweetness of the dates gives the bun a large amount of its sweetness and it just needs a small amount of maple syrup in the mixture and glaze to make the buns perfectly balanced. I recommend enjoying them on a sunny terrace with a large mug of quality black coffee.

sugar-free cinnamon rolls tray

sugar-free cinnamon rolls close up

sugar-free cinnamon rolls baked

serves
12
PREP
30 min
COOKING
30 min
serves
12
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
BUNS

  • 220 g / under 2 cups white bread flour OR wholewheat flour*
  • 250 g / 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 g / 2 tsp salt
  • 7 g / 2¼ fast-action / instant dried yeast
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp aquafaba**
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 255 ml / 1 cup + 1 tbsp almond milk
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp olive oil + a little for pan glazing

BUN FILLING

  • 240 g / 1½ cups Deglet Noor dates, pitted
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • a few pinches of salt

GLAZE

METHOD
BUNS

  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in the lukewarm aquafaba (if using) and maple syrup diluted in lukewarm almond milk and stir everything together with a large wooden spoon. Then add the olive oil and integrate.
  3. When the mixture has mostly stuck together turn the mixture out on to a work surface or bread board.
  4. Knead the mixture by holding one end of the dough in one hand and stretching it out with the other hand. You then reform the dough, turn it 90 degrees and start again. Repeat this for 10 minutes.
  5. When the dough is shiny and smooth, put it in a large mixing bowl, coat in a thin layer of olive oil and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave this in a warm place (but not too warm – ie not next to an open fire!) for between one and two hours (until it has doubled in size). While the dough is proving, make the filling (see below).
  6. Empty the dough out on to a work surface and push the air out with your fingertips.
  7. Roll the dough flat until it is 40-45 cm wide and 18-20 cm high.
  8. making sugar free cinnamon rolls

  9. Spread date paste on the surface of the rolled out dough with the back of a spoon (photo 1 above).
  10. Starting from the bottom, roll the dough tightly so that at the end you have one horizontal “dough snake” (photo 2 above).
  11. Cut the dough into 12 segments, which comes out around 3-4 cm per segment (photo 3 above).
  12. Place the segments horizontally (like a tree trunk) on an oiled baking tray, leaving 1-2 cm between each bun. If you can fill the baking tray, this is ideal (photo 4 above).
  13. Leave the buns (covered with a kitchen towel) to prove again for another hour. During this time preheat the oven to 180° C / 350° F.
  14. Place the buns in the oven to bake for 18-20 minutes.
  15. While the buns are baking, create the glaze by combining maple syrup with ground cinnamon.Take the buns out of the oven when they are lovely and golden, and glaze them while they are still hot. Try and use all of the glaze, and let it seep into the buns and the gaps between them.

BUN FILLING

  1. Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with boiling water (you can skip this step if your dates are already very moist and sticky but most dried dates aren’t sticky enough). Let them soak for 10-15 mins.
  2. After soaking, transfer the dates (not the soaking water) into a food processor. Add a few pinches of salt and cinnamon and process until very smooth. You may need to add a few drops of warm water to achieve a smooth and spreadable consistency.

NOTES
*Although you can use wholewheat flour, the buns will have a harder, breadier texture.
**These can be made with or without aquafaba. 3 tbsp of aquafaba substitues 1 egg that is often used in the traditional cinnamon buns and it makes them a bit more delicate. We have, however, made these many times before we learned about the wonders of aquafaba and they were also very good. If not using aquafaba, use 300 ml (45 ml instead of aquafaba + 255 ml as per the recipe) of almond milk instead.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
226
11%
sugars
16 g
18%
fats
2 g
3%
saturates
0 g
1%
proteins
5 g
11%
carbs
49 g
19%
*per roll
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5.0
6 reviews, 38 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Jessica:
Hello,
For the almond milk, do you recommend using unsweetened or sweetened? Also, did you use vanilla almond milk or regular?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jessica,
    I used unsweetened and regular, but sweetened and vanilla flavoured will be just as nice / work just as well (although technically it will make these buns no longer sugar-free ;) ). Hope you'll enjoy them either way. x Ania
lana:
i’m having trouble trouble on how many tablespoons of oatmilk to use instead of aquafaba, it keeps saying 20 tbsp on google lol but i feel like that’s wrong. i’m really looking forward to making these soon i just need the tbsp for the milk <3
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lana,
    Sorry, I am not entirely sure what you mean. If you are using plant milk instead of aquafaba, you need to use 300 ml (which is 20 tbsp, that's correct although it's better to use a measuring jug to measure as it's more precise than measuring out in 20 individual tablespoons) of plant milk in total (45 ml instead of aquafaba + 255 ml listed as almond milk in the ingredients) as per the note under the recipe. Hope this makes sense! Ania
Simona Stoeva:
Hi! Do you think these can be made with sourdough starter? I really want to try and I've looked at a lot of recipes, but I like yours because it doesn't have a ton of oil. Have you tried them without yeast, with sourdough? Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Simona,
    I have not tried, I'm afraid, but if that type of dough has worked for your successfully in the past I don't see why it wouldn't work here. The sugar in the dough will help with getting a good rise too so it should be fine. Good luck! x Ania
Angelica Montion:
Your recipe directions call out sugar, yet your ingredient list does not call out sugar. Is this a typo?
Can't wait to try this recipe.
METHOD
BUNS
1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Angelica,
    Yes, it is a typo - so sorry (I copied the instructions from my earlier recipe and then amended them). I shall correct that now. Ania
Dana Sanchez:
Is is possible to get this recipe in oz or cups?
Thank you
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dana,
    I converted it for you! Hope you'll enjoy these! Ania
Dana Sanchez:
Can 1 egg be used instead of the Aquafaba?
    Ania
    Ania:
    I do not use eggs (as I am vegan and so is this blog) but conventional recipes do so it should work.
Karen Wilson:
I’m about to make these and in the middle of converting ingredients listed in grams to teaspoon and cups.
Is 2.5 tsp of salt the accurate conversion from 10 g?
That seems high to me
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Karen,
    1 tsp salt is 6 g, so this is more like 1.5 tsp. This is the standard bread formula, but you are welcome to use less if you prefer. Hope that helps! Ania
Tess:
This is one of the best feeling, softest doughs I've made in years. I'm allergic to everything tasty (i.e. eggs, milk, refined sugar) and this recipe is absolutely fantastic for my needs. This is one of the few recipes that doesn't feel like it's missing something.
I used a chia egg instead of aquafava and it turned out phenomenal, as long as you're not concerned about little flecks in your rolls.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you so much, Tess! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed them and did not feel like you were missing out! x Ania
Janette:
Hi, I made these for breakfast this morning and they were very tasty. I will definitely be adding them to our regulars. I subbed a flax egg for the aquafava , which worked well. They were a lot sweeter than I expected, but overly so. Thanks for the recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear, Janette and thank you for taking the time to rate the recipe - much appreciated! x Ania
Brooke:
These look like an awesome treat, I absolutely love dates in baked goods. While they aren't actually sugar-free (they contain quite a lot of natural sugars, so this recipe wouldn't be great for diabetics), they're not refined sugar. I'm sure they would make a nice, sticky filling for cinnamon rolls! And congratulations on your successful procedure! Not being able to drink coffee would be torture.
I saw in a comment from two years ago that you hadn't tried any alternative flours. Has that changed? If not I totally understand! I've switched to a mostly wheat-free lifestyle due to stomach issues, and while dairy and other substitutions tend to be fairly straightforward, wheat can be a pain. Either way, I will definitely be using the date filling recipe to fill my Christmas cinnamon rolls this year! Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks for your comment, Brooke! No, I haven't tried any alternative flours when making these, I'm afraid. Hope you'll enjoy them if you decide to try them! Ania
Jamela Khan:
Hi, i have ready made date paste. How much should I use?
I love your blog and have tried nunerous recipes.
Many thanks. 💝
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jamela,
    Aw, thank you, that's lovely to hear. As for the date paste, simply enough to cover the rolled out dough, the thicker the layer the sweeter the buns will end up tasting. Ania
yasmin:
I made them yesterday and they were awesome! Great recipe! I used coconut milk instead of almond (didn't use aquafaba) and yet they were very delicious.
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Yasmin! Ania
Victoria:
Thank you for this great recipe they were delicious, I'd like to make them again for a party and was wondering would it be possible to freeze them before baking?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Victoria! That's really lovely to hear! We have not tried freezing before baking with these, but it's be worth a try! I recommend testing on a smaller (a half or a quarter) batch first though to be sure. Sorry, I cannot be of any more help! Ania
Alia:
is it necessary to add the all purpose flour?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Alia,
    Using 50% all purpose flour and 50% bread flour will make these buns a bit softer and less bread-like so it's up to you. I would advise against using 100% wholewheat flour though. Hope that helps! Ania
yasmine mustafa:
I made them using all purpose flour as i didn't have bread flour. They took much longer to bake, not sure if the flour was the reason here.
Made a mistake making the date paste and it turned out too liquidy, but they turned out nice after all. No more cinnabon cravings!!
Out of curiosity, i had to calculate nutritional info for the whole thing based on 10 cinnabons, and they turned out to be either 196 calories per piece if used half the amount of dates mentioned (like my case, paste was runny so couldn't use more than half), or 225 calories if used the entire date paste mix. In comparison to the actua Cinnabon, that one has 800+ calories! I'd much rather enjoy my home made, cruelty free ones with zero guilt :D
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Yasmine,
    I'm glad to hear that you have enjoyed these so much that they kicked your Cinnabon habit to the curb ;) Have a lovely weekend! Ania
Emily:
Thanks so much for this! It came out delicious.. I made it for my parents when they came to visit me!
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, Emily! Thank you :) Ania
Shamsa:
Can we make night ahead?
    Ania
    Ania:
    That’s a great question. According to the reading about "refrigerator proofing" you should be able to stick the fully made but unbaked buns in the refrigerator (covered) for 12 hours (IE overnight) and they should be ready to bake the next morning. Certainly "refrigerator proofing" works really well for the first proofing (I’ve done it with pizza dough), but I’ve never tried it for a 2nd proofing but the theory says it should work… If you try it I would be interested to see what would happen? And of course the benefits of having cinnamon rolls for breakfast can’t be overrated!
Thomas:
These sound great! Do you know how much fat and carbs are in a serving size though? That would be much appreciated. My mom is diabetic and can't have a lot of sugar.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Thomas,
    Thanks, I am glad you like the recipe. I'm afraid I don't calculate nutritional info of my recipes, but I'm sure you could find out all the ingredients and their nutritional data online. Good luck! Ania
Charlotte:
These look so tasty, cannot wait to try! Can I prepare the dough a day ahead and let it proof in the fridge over night?
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Charlotte,
    Yes! With a little careful handling, it can be refrigerated. This paragraph explains:
    “All doughs can be refrigerated. Chilling dough slows the activity of the yeast, but it does not stop it completely. For this reason, it is necessary to punch down the dough a few times over the first few hours it is in the refrigerator. Once the dough has completely cooled, it needs to be punched down only once every 24 hours. A dough will last approximately three days in the refrigerator; however, it is best to use it within 48 hours.”
    And it says the best time to refrigerate the dough is straight after kneeding. Good luck with it!
Liv:
These look amazing! Is there any other Flour that would work? Maybe spelt, coconut, almond, oat or something? Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Liv,
    Thanks so much. We haven't tried any other flour apart from wholemeal wheat flour, which was fine but the buns were less fluffier and more bread-like, for sure. I reckon spelt flour will yield similar result, perhaps use 50% spelt flour and 50% white all purpose flour.
    Hope that helps, Ania.
Maikki | Maikin mokomin:
These look great! I once filled cinnamon buns with mixture of pureed hazelnuts and raisins and it was super delicious :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Maikki and your filling sounds really awesome! :)
iva | culinary postcards:
These look amazing!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much, Iva! :)
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