October 08, 2017

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 under 300 calories with 22 grams of protein and just 5 grams of sugar, including the frosting.

Flour substitutions

For the dough, I used a combination of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and Quest Multipurpose Protein Powder for baking. Feel free to use sweet white sorghum flour, spelt flour, or all-purpose flour if that’s what you have. I cannot guarantee the result using other flours (almond, oat, coconut, brown rice, etc.) so that’s a risk you’ll have to take on your own (haha)!

Protein substitutions

Quest Multipurpose Protein Powder is simply an unflavored whey blend. 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 whey protein, but I do have a pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe specifically for collagen!

Depending on the brand of protein you use, you might need to adjust the amount of water and flour to get a workable dough that’s not too sticky or too crumbly.

Sweetener substitutions

To sweeten the dough, I used Pyure Organic Stevia Blend (leave out if using flavored protein powder). You can use erythritol, baking stevia, a monk fruit blend or even granulated sugar in place of the stevia blend, just measure out twice as much (one quarter cup)I also used this sweetener in the filling! 

Other substitutions

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 butter flavored coconut oil in place of the vegan spread. Regular 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 😉

Step 1:

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).

Step 2:

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).

Step 3:

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 coconut oil instead of the vegan butter. 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).

Step 4:

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!

Step 5:

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 (sugar-free alternative to powdered sugar), pure maple syrup, and water. 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 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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