Molasses & Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing quite like a warm cinnamon roll and a hot mug of tea on a cool Saturday morning. We love them – especially my husband and my son who crave them with a passion – but we could do without the mounds of refined flour, hydrogenated fats and white sugar that plague breakfast plates; rather, these cinnamon rolls are mildly sweet and offer a decidedly rustic texture of sprouted grain flour.   Dried cranberries with their tart flavor add interest and complement the inclusion of molasses and cinnamon.   Like all cinnamon rolls, these are relatively labor intensive so save them for a special occasion: Christmas or Thanksgiving morning, perhaps.

I truly enjoy baking with sprouted grain flours – they have such a beautiful character and lovely, full flavor that we use them to the exclusion of other flours.   Initially, I assumed that any sprouted grain baked good would have that sour flavor and dense, chewy texture that you find in commercially available sprouted grain breads like Ezekial.

I was wrong.

Now, don’t misunderstand me.   I can appreciate those dense, chewy sour loaves as much as anyone else; however, the versatility of sprouted grain flours far exceeded my initial expectations.   Sprouted grain flour is remarkably well-suited to a variety of baked goods – not just bread, but also in cakes, cookies and pastries like these molasses cranberry cinnamon rolls. Aside from its sweet, nutty flavor and charming rustic texture, sprouted grain flour is more nutrient-dense than other flours.     Because grains are soaked as part of the sprouting process, sprouted grain flour is well suited to quick breads and other recipes where souring or fermenting dough would be unsuitable.

I chose to omit white sugar in this recipe largely because you simply cannot find it in our home, but also because natural sweeteners such as date sugar and molasses enjoy a richer and more well-rounded flavor than white sugar.   Not only are nutrients removed during the processing of refined sugar, but also much of its natural flavors and those nuances of flavor, subtle as they are, can really add up – imparting a fuller flavor to the end dish.

molasses cranberry cinnamon rolls

By Jenny Published: November 11, 2009

  • Yield: a dozen rolls

We enjoy these cinnamon rolls with a pot of hot rooibos tea for brunch on the weekends. This recipe prepares approximately 1 dozen rolls. They keep well, if covered properly. Surprisingly, these cinnamon rolls a lovely golden-orange, not the deep brown I expected to see with the inclusion of molasses in the dough.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups Sprouted Grain Flour
  • 1 package Yeast
  • 1/4 cup Molasses
  • 1/2 tsp Unrefined Sea Salt
  • 2 Pastured Eggs (Beaten)
  • 1 cup Whole Milk from Grass-fed Cows
  • 3 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Date Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter from Grass-fed Cows
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries (Unsweetened or Sweetened with Unrefined Cane Sugar)

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, yeast and salt together.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, gently combine ¼ cup butter, 1 cup whole milk and ¼ cup molasses until well-blended and heated to blood temperature.
  3. Combine flour mixture with liquid until well blended.
  4. Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
  5. Allow the dough to rise until double in bulk. I use an Excalibur dehydrator set to approximately 110 ° F to encourage an even and easy rise.
  6. When the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out to a thickness of approximately ½-inch or slightly less.
  7. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 ° F and prepare the filling by melting the remaining ¼ cup butter with cinnamon and date sugar.*
  8. Once the butter has melted and the cinnamon and date sugar are well-combined, gently spread the filling onto the surface of the dough.
  9. Sprinkle on cranberries.
  10. Gently roll the dough into a tube-like shape.
  11. Cut the roll into 1-inch pieces. You may use a sharp knife for this, but I find that cutting the rolls with a string is more effective and results in a cleaner cut.
  12. To cut the rolls with string, simply slide a stretch of lightweight string beneath the roll to the approximate place that you wish to make the cut. Next pull up on the string, crossing the ends at the top and pulling. This will slice the roll straight through without mashing it.
  13. Bake until golden-orange
  14. Serve with a coconut-honey glaze

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What people are saying

  1. says

    These look lovely. I really adore making and baking cinnamon rolls for my boys. The dough is always a joy to work with, unlike bread dough which always gives me trouble!

    I look forward to making these. I think I may substitute cane syrup for molasses as cane syrup is local to us and they are similar in flavor.

  2. says

    Gosh, I love a good breakfast roll… and these look positively delicious. Molasses has such a nice, rich sweetness; it’s really hard to envision you’d miss all that nasty sugar!

    Definitely have to check out sources for sprouted grain flour. I never knew you could manage more delicate baked goods with it!

  3. Kelly says

    These sound fantastic! Do you think they could be made ahead and frozen at some point in the process? I have guests coming for thanksgiving and would love to have these pre-done!!

  4. says

    These look gorgeous and delicious. YUM! We have a tradition to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and I may have to try these out! I have a sourdough whole wheat version that I’d been planning, but a taste test may have to be in order. Sigh. That’ll be rough. :)

    I still haven’t found sprouted grain flour in the store, so I’ll have to check your sources. Thank you for the links!

    Best,
    Sarah

  5. jess says

    We made these this morning as a fun Sunday morning treat- they were so delicious and just the right amount of sweetness with none of the gut rot and sugar high of other cinnamon rolls. Thanks!!

  6. says

    Hello Jenny, I just found your site and love your recipes. I have an online store providing resources to those battling Food Allergies, Food Intolerances and people with other dietary restrictions. One of the resources I try to give my customers are new and healthy recipes to try at home. We showcase cookbook authors/bloggers and provide full credit and links to their sites.
    I would love to post one of your favorites!
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards,
    Jamie Stern, owner of Allergiesandme.com

    • Kathleen L says

      I mixed this up twice today and couldn’t figure out why the dough was not working…perhaps pregnancy brain, but I guess despite the directions referencing nothing about adding eggs to the dough, I am guessing I should have added them before kneading. So I just wasted a bunch of flour. *sigh*. And I’m wondering why it wasn’t corrected after you mentioned it? :/. Well, in any event, I’m making the gut-rot variety next since I have made it before and know it works. :(

        • AT says

          The egg addition is an important step and is indeed not in the recipe instructions. I found this dough does not work well. And I understand the above commenter’s frustration at using up flour. Though I think when trying someone’s home recipes from the internet we should all be prepared for a wide variety of results.

  7. Christina says

    I read in the Nourishing Traditions book that yeast breads aren’t good for you. Did I read the wrong thing?

  8. says

    Thank you for the great recipe! I am so excited to try these. Just to make sure, the eggs go in right before kneading? Does the dough have to cool at all before the eggs are added or should it already be cool enough at this point? Thanks!

  9. Krista says

    Hi Jenny! How would you make a gluten free dough for this recipe? My 17 year old would love a coconut flour…grain free dough…any thoughts? Thank you for your time and creativity:)

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