I am so fortunate that in only a few months I am going to be an auntie for the very first time, yay! I am so proud and I almost can’t wait to feel that little wonderful girl (oh yes it a girl) in my arms, it’s really truly amazing. My big sister, who is the one to be big, beautiful and pregnant right now, has had some food craving during her pregnancy. One of them which I have heard about and seen consumed smile have been cinnamon buns. Very precisely those who are soft, gooey and have a bread-like structure!
As the caring sister and auntie I made it into a very important project to make the perfect, goey, soft and yet healthy cinnamon buns, which my sister could crave and eat ‘almost’ as crazy as she wish to, whit out feeling too guilty about or getting too much saturated fat and simple carbs, which is no good if pregnant or not!
I know most people would ague that you can not make cinnamon buns without butter and fat in general, because how can you get that goey and lovely messy structure without it? Easy, you always think in ‘natural terms’, meaning using fruit and whole grain instead. I always, always, always use fruit or even vegetables when I bake. E.g. banana in pancakes and muffins as here and here and this makes sure your baked goods never ever becomes dry, and you can use it as a substitute for both some of the sugar and butter you would have used instead. If you do not like banana then use applesauce (æblemos), carrot, dates, zucchini, pumpkin puree and even beetroot instead. You just need to find the perfect fit for your recipe and try your way out.
In this version of cinnamon buns I had to be a little creative in order to find a substitute for the remonce (butter and sugar filling) used for the classic recipe. I came up with a fig & date spread, since dates are just awesome and figs are in season right now, and it turned out to be pretty good. It is both sweet, aromatic and adds a nice structure to the finished buns. For the dough I used kamut flour to give extra moisture and sweetness and the vanilla soy milk contributes with a fullness and a sweet vanilla hint, so good! And the fact that the buns are baked in a baking pan, placed closely together, makes sure that they keep being soft and moist. As a frosting I already had a orange theme going on in the fig & date spread, so I went all the way and made a orange yoghurt frosting, which is not too sweet and it compliments the flavors in the buns. Plus yoghurt frosting is nice in order to feel light and not too full and heavy after eating it, compared to if you added regular, sugar dense frosting.
Beloved big sister these are for you and I promise you to bake a dozen of these the next time I see you!
Cinnamon buns w. date & fig spread
Makes around 16-18 buns
3/4 cup/174 ml soy milk warmed
25 g yeast
1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower, rapeseed)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp cardamom
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 ½ cup/150 g kamut flour, whole wheat flour or another type of whole flour
1- 1 ½ cup/100-150 g unbleached all purpose flour /regular wheat flour
Raw fig & date spread
12 soft dates, pitted
2 ripe figs
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Juice and zest from 1/2 orange
1 pinch of salt
Yoghurt frosting w. orange
1 Cup yoghurt
Juice from ½ organic orange
1 tsp orange zest, grated
2 Tbsp powdered sugar or honey
1 pinch of salt
1. In a bowl add yeast in lukewarm soy milk and let the yeast dissolve. The add egg, oil, spices, sugar and mix together.
2. Add all of the kamut flour and mix it into the dough. Now add a little white all purpose flour at the time until you reach a perfect dough. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes. Place it back in the bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it sit for 1-1 ½ hour, preferable a warm place.
3. Make the fig and date spread, by adding all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a fork to mash them well together. It is okay that the spread is a bit chunky. Place it in the fridge.
4. On a big flour covered surface, role out the dough into a rectangular shape about 1/2-1 cm thick. Spread all of the fig and date spread onto the dough, in an even layer. Starting at long side, tightly roll up. Use a knife to cut it out into 16-18 pieces (2-3 cm thickness).
5. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and place all of the buns together, it is okay that they touch each other. Heat the oven to 375 F °/175 C °. In the mean while let the buns rise for 30 min and afterwards bake them in the oven for 15-17 min.
6. While the buns are baking, you can make the yoghurt frosting. You simply add all of the ingredients in bowl and stir it together. Taste to see if you prefer it sweetener.
Serve the buns while still warm and with a nice dollop of frosting on top. Enjoy!