No Yeast Whole-Grain Lemon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Round about 7th grade I earned the nickname “hate to wait Kate” by my tribe of pre-teen girlfriends. Apparently I wasn’t particularly patient, something I’ve gotten better about over time (parenting will do that to a girl). When it comes to waiting in the kitchen, though, patience is still not my strong suit. So as much as I love a traditional yeast-risen cinnamon roll, the hours of waiting for the dough to do its thing isn’t for me. Enter these No Yeast Whole-Grain Cinnamon Rolls, which can be oven-ready in minutes rather than hours.
A Family Tradition
The idea for making a no yeast cinnamon roll sprang from tradition. Since my girls were tiny, we’ve made cinnamon rolls for Easter breakfast. Historically, we’ve done it the traditional way using the Overnight Cinnamon Roll recipe from Maria Sinskey’s terrific Family Meals cookbook. But the last few years I didn’t have it in me and we either skipped the tradition or used ones that come in a cardboard tube (Annie’s and Immaculate Baking both make a decent one).
A Few Ingredient Swaps
Since I’m a firm believer that home baked is tastier than store bought (and more satisfying), I set to creating a recipe that would be easier (and a touch more wholesome) than standard cinnamon rolls. The method is pretty straightforward, though they bake in a muffin tin rather than a baking pan. The recipe uses mostly whole-wheat and almond flour rather than 100 percent white flour, which adds a pleasing flavor and a bit more density to the rolls. And while I shave off some of the sugar and butter from classic recipes, these are still deliciously decadent. This is a special occasion treat and should taste accordingly.
A Step-by-Step Guide
If you’ve never made cinnamon rolls before, I snapped a few photos along the way that may prove helpful:After mixing the dough, roll it out into a large rectangle.
1.After mixing the dough, roll it out into a large rectangle.
2. Next up, brush with butter and scatter on brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Then, roll it up into a long cylinder.
3. Cut the roll of dough into rounds and tuck them into lightly greased muffin tins before getting them into the oven to bake.
4. Once baked, pop them out of the muffin tin and slather with a lemony glaze. Enjoy while still warm from the oven.
Whole-Grain Lemon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
These whole-grain cinnamon rolls rely on baking powder to rise rather than yeast, which means no waiting around for the dough to do its magic. Almond flour, lemon zest, and chopped pecans add interest and flavor. A swipe of tangy confectioners’ sugar glaze makes a pretty finish.
For the dough
- 1 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 ¼ cups cold buttermilk
For the filling
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 firmly packed cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
For the glaze
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 9 cups of a standard muffin tin.
Put all the ingredients for the dough except the buttermilk into the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment. Run the mixer until the batter forms a coarse meal. If a few bigger lumps of butter remain, press them between your thumb and fingers and mix again. (Note: If you don’t have this type of mixer, you can pulse the butter with the dry ingredients in a food processor, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the buttermilk by hand).
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead it a time or two to incorporate any remaining bits of flour. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Use a rolling pin on a floured work surface to roll out the dough to a rectangle that’s roughly 10x-13 ½-inches. Brush the surface of the dough with the tablespoon of melted butter. Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and scatter over the dough followed by the pecans. Roll the dough up into a cylinder along the longer edge, tucking the brown sugar and pecans inside as you go. Use a sharp or serrated edge knife to cut into 9 rounds. Transfer to 9 muffin cups.
Bake until lightly browned across the top and no longer doughy inside, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Use a little knife to wedge the cinnamon rolls out to cool further.
While the rolls cool for few minutes, in a small bowl, use a fork to blend the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. Spread over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Enjoy while still warm.