CARAMEL PECAN PROTEIN CINNAMON ROLLS
These dairy-free, gluten-free Caramel Pecan Protein Cinnamon Rolls make the perfect holiday breakfast! Each doughy cinnamon roll is topped with an irresistible caramel pecan topping that no one will guess is low in sugar (shhh). Best of all, you can whip these yeast-free rolls up in less than an hour! I make these every year and have no plans of stopping anytime soon!
Did you know? Supplementation with collagen, particularly type I collagen, has been shown to slow skin aging by reducing dryness and wrinkles. (source) Marine collagen, like that used in these rolls, is abundant in type I collagen.
What flour works best?
Choosing the right gluten-free baking flour can make all the difference in these rolls. One brand I tried led to the rolls completely falling apart! I have successfully made these with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, King Arthur Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour, and gfJules All Purpose Gluten Free Flour. Whichever brand you choose, just make sure it measures like all-purpose flour. You can of course just use all-purpose flour if you don’t need gluten-free!
For Paleo, I would suggest this baking blend or this one! You can also try making your own Paleo baking blend from almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour/starch, and arrowroot flour/powder. Some have reported success combining cassava flour with tapioca flour/starch, but this is not something I’ve tried! If you go the Paleo route, omit the half cup of coconut flour and just use two cups of your Paleo blend.
I added unflavored collagen protein powder to the dough for extra protein and health benefits. My favorite is flavorless LIV Body Marine Collagen and you can use my code “NOEXCUSES” for 20% off! I love that it’s highly bioavailable and almost undetectable in baked goods.
However, I realize not everyone has collagen on hand. If using whey, I recommend my Baked Protein Cinnamon Rolls recipe for the rolls, swapping the traditional icing for this caramel pecan topping!
You can also substitute the collagen for more gluten free baking flour or a Paleo baking blend. If you omit the collagen, leave out the coconut flour and just using two cups of your gluten free baking flour or Paleo blend. You may also want to add a three tablespoons of buttery spread, as collagen adds moistness to baked goods.
To sweeten the rolls, I used granulated allulose, which is a natural, calorie-free sweetener derived from a rare compound in figs, raisins, and kiwi. Allulose is an excellent sugar alternative. It’s nearly as sweet as sugar (1 cup of sugar is equivalent to 1 ⅓ cup allulose), tastes like sugar, bakes like sugar, and caramelizes like sugar!
Allulose has only 0.4 calories per gram, or 80 calories per cup, which is the equivalent to 20 grams of carbohydrate (included in the nutrition for these rolls). Compare that to sugar, which has 770 calories per cup and 200 grams of carbohydrate! The only negative side effect of allulose is possible bloating if you consume too much (similar to other sugar alternatives).
You can substitute the allulose in the dough for baking stevia, granulated erythritol, monk fruit blend, or any granulated sugar like coconut sugar. If using stevia extract or drops, refer to the brand-specific conversion chart!
For the caramel sauce, I also used allulose for its excellent caramelizing properties. Feel free to substitute the allulose in the caramel sauce for regular brown sugar, coconut sugar, white granulated sugar, or half as much (six tablespoons) of Truvia brown sugar blend or Splenda brown sugar blend. Keep in mind, these substitutions will increase the calories, carbs, and sugar per roll.
To keep these dairy-free, I used unsweetened almond milk (any non-dairy milk works) and a vegan buttery spread. You can also use dairy milk and unsalted butter if you don’t need dairy-free!
To make these Paleo, you can substitute the vegan buttery spread for ghee (clarified butter), omit the coconut flour, and use two cups of Paleo baking blend. Then whip up your own Paleo caramel sauce!
To make these vegan, you can use a vegan egg replacer (equivalent to two eggs) instead of the eggs, omit the collagen and coconut flour, and use two cups of gluten free baking flour plus three tablespoons of vegan buttery spread for the dough.
How to make these cinnamon rolls
Since making cinnamon rolls is rather visual, here’s a step-by-step photo guide! Start with your ball of dough. If the dough is sticky, add a little more flour, knead, and repeat until it no longer sticks to your hands. If the dough is dry and crumbly, add milk a tablespoon at a time, knead, and repeat until it sticks to itself.
Step 1: Roll out the ball of dough between two sheets of parchment paper into an oval that’s slightly wider than 9 inches and longer than 13 inches.
Step 2: Measure a 9″ x 13″ rectangle; cut off the dough that extends past your rectangle and add the scraps where your rectangle comes up short. Roll out dough again, and repeat until you have your desired shape.
Step 3: Melt butter; stir in sweetener and cinnamon; then spread cinnamon mixture over your dough rectangle.
Step 4: Cut dough rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thirds to make six long pieces.
Step 5: Gently roll up each dough strip into rolls, placing in a parchment-lined baking dish. I’ve found rolling the individual strips is easier than rolling the whole rectangle (at least with gluten-free flour).
The uncooked rolls will look small, but don’t worry, they will rise in the oven! Bake the rolls for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F. The centers should be soft to the touch, but the edges should be firm. The rolls will cook a little further as they cool.
Making the caramel sauce
While your rolls are baking, melt your allulose sweetener (or substitute listed above) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to turn golden brown. Reduce heat to low, then add pecans, buttery spread, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Simmer and stir until thick and gooey (mmm). When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, smother with caramel pecan goodness!
Oh my gosh you guys, these are so good! The kids, hubby and grandparents all requested I make another batch. Needless to say, they’re a hit!
Here’s the printable recipe for these Caramel Pecan Protein Cinnamon Rolls. I’d love it if you could rate/comment below if you try them 😉
This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by LIV Body.
Caramel Pecan Protein Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup (130g) gluten-free baking flour* or all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) unflavored collagen protein powder* I used LIV Body, code "NOEXCUSES" for 20% off
- 1/2 cup coconut flour* or 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup allulose sweetener* or 3 tbsp. baking stevia, erythritol, or sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt optional
- 2 large whole eggs*
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk* or milk of choice
- 2 tbsp. vegan buttery spread* or unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup allulose sweetener* or 1/4 cup baking stevia, erythritol, or sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup allulose sweetener* or 5 tbsp. reduced-calorie brown sugar blend like Truvia or Splenda
- 2 tbsp. vegan buttery spread* or unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. salt optional
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans optional
*See blog post above for substitutions.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Whisk together dry ingredients for rolls (through salt) in a large mixing bowl, then add eggs and milk, combine into dough using a fork. Knead until you get a soft, rollable dough. Add more flour if it's too sticky, or more milk if too crumbly. Form into a ball.
- Place dough ball between two sheets of parchment and roll out slightly bigger than the 9" x 13" rectangle you will be cutting out.
- Trim the dough that extends past your rectangle, adding the scraps where rectangle comes up short, then roll out again. Repeat until
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