PUMPKIN PROTEIN CINNAMON ROLLS
These Pumpkin Protein Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect festive fall breakfast. After getting such awesome feedback on my Baked Protein Cinnamon Rolls, I’ve been dying to make a pumpkin version. I finally did and they turned out amazing! The texture is doughy with firm edges just like you’d expect from a fresh-baked cinnamon roll, and the flavor is sweet pumpkin spice with a rich maple cream frosting. Oh my yummm! Because there’s no yeast in this recipe, you can have warm cinnamon rolls on your table in 30 minutes or less. Best of all, each full-sized roll is only 250 calories with 18 grams of protein and just 7 grams of sugar, including the frosting.
For the dough, I used a combination of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and The Protein Chef Baking Protein by Labrada Nutrition. Feel free to use sweet white sorghum flour, spelt flour, or all-purpose flour if that’s all you have. I cannot guarantee the result using other flours (oat, coconut, brown rice, etc.) so that’s a risk you’ll have to take on your own (haha)!
The Protein Chef Baking Protein is simply an unflavored whey concentrate. If using a flavored protein powder (like vanilla), your rolls might not taste like traditional cinnamon rolls, but they will still be tasty! Based on my own experience, I would not try substituting collagen, whey isolate or vegan protein powder in place of the Baking Protein, but a whey blend should work just fine! You just might need to adjust the amount off liquid to get a workable dough that’s not too sticky or too crumbly.
To sweeten the dough, I used Pyure Organic Stevia Blend (leave out if using flavored protein powder). You can use erythritol, baking stevia, or even granulated sugar in place of the stevia blend, just measure out twice as much (1/4 cup). Truvia Baking Blend can be also substituted (use same amount, two tablespoons).
To add moisture and buttery goodness to the dough, I used a combination of canned pumpkin puree and Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread. This buttery spread is 100% vegan, so if you use vegan protein powder like soy and vegan cream cheese, the whole recipe can be vegan and dairy-free! You can also use regular unsalted butter or ghee in place of the vegan spread. Coconut oil can also be used, but it won’t taste as “authentic.”
How to make the rolls
Since rolling out the dough and cutting the dough strips is kind of hard to explain, here’s a photo tutorial for y’all 😉
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients for the rolls in a large mixing bowl. Next, mix in the pumpkin puree, butter (or oil) and water using a fork until crumbly. Now, get your hands in there and knead the dough until it sticks to itself. If the dough seems too crumbly still after working it with your hands, add more water a teaspoon at a time. If it seems too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time (mine was slightly to sticky but I have corrected the measurements in the below recipe).
Place your ball of dough on a floured surface, like a clean kitchen counter. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough in all directions until it’s about half an inch thick. Cut off the uneven edges to make a square and place the dough “scraps” in the center of your square. Roll out the dough again until it is an even thickness, attempting to keep a square-ish shape (shown above).
Next, mix up your filling. Here I used Pyure Organic Stevia Blend, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and melted Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread; but you can use whatever sweetener you have on hand, or regular butter or ghee instead of the vegan spread. Spread the filling over your dough square, all the way to the edges. Cut your square in half, then cut each half into thirds to make six long, even strips (shown above).
One at a time, carefully roll each strip up onto itself (as shown), gently scraping the dough away from any “sticky” spots using a knife. Place your finished rolls in a cake pan lightly coated with cooking spray. They may look small now, but have no fear – soon they will be wonderfully voluminous, sweet-smelling rolls!
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 until edges are golden brown and firm but the centers are still soft (mine were done at exactly 12 minutes).
Maple cream cheese frosting
For the maple cream cheese frosting, I used Greek cream cheese, Swerve Confectioner’s Erythritol (natural, sugar-free alternative to powdered sugar), pure maple syrup, water, and maple extract (optional). You can use any kind of cream cheese you like (fat free, reduced fat, whipped, vegan cream cheese, or Neufchatel cheese). You can also substitute an half as much Pyure Organic Stevia Blend for the confectioner’s erythritol, or sweetener of choice. Feel free to omit the maple syrup to save sugar and calories – just use a little more maple extract.
Drizzle icing over the warm Pumpkin Protein Cinnamon Rolls and try not to drool 😉 Now, here’s the printable recipe! I’d love for you to rate or comment below if you try them.
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Pumpkin Protein Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup (120g) unflavored whey concentrate or whey blend protein powder* I used the Protein Chef Baking Protein
- 1 cup (130g) gluten-free baking flour*
- 2 tbsp. calorie-free sweetener* I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg*
- 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
- 3 tbsp. water
- 1 tbsp. buttery spread* vegan spread or unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp. calorie-free sweetener* I used one that's twice as sweet as sugar
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon*
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg*
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves* optional
- 1 tbsp. buttery spread*
- 1 tbsp. water
Maple cream cheese icing
- 4 oz. Greek cream cheese*
- 2/3 cup powdered calorie-free sweetener*
- 3 tbsp. water
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup* optional
- 1/4 tsp. maple extract* optional
*See blog post above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (through salt) in large mixing bowl.
- Using a fork, mix in the pumpkin puree, butter (or oil) and water until a crumbly dough forms.
- Knead the dough with your hands until it sticks to itself. If the dough seems too crumbly still after working it with your hands, add more milk a teaspoon at a time. If it seems too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
- Place your ball of dough on a floured surface like a (clean) kitchen counter. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough in all directions until it’s about half an inch thick.
- Cut off the uneven edges to make a square and place the dough scraps in the center of your square. Roll out the dough again until it is an even thickness, keeping a “square-ish” shape.
- Mix up your filling and spread over your dough square, all the way to the edges.
- Cut your square in half, then cut each half into thirds to make six long, even strips.
- One at a time, carefully roll each strip onto itself from one end, gently scraping the dough away from any “s
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