Re-Imagined Low-Fat, Low-Calorie Cinnabon® Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon buns are so many people’s guilty pleasures. Fresh baked buns not only smell amazing, they're also warm, gooey, and absolutely delicious. Too bad these food court staples can pack almost 900 calories! In an effort to slim-down the cinnamon bun, chef Todd Wilbur has come up with a recipe that cuts the calories in half so you can enjoy the pleasure without the guilt.

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You’ll need a 9x13-inch pan and a 9x9-inch pan for baking these rolls, plus parchment paper to line the pans. Todd believes Cinnabon uses Indonesian Korintje cinnamon (they call it “Makara”). Find that cinnamon if you want the best clone, but any cinnamon will still make great rolls. To keep the cinnamon from oozing out of the rolls a natural stabilizer such as xantham gum (or guar gum) works best, but you can also use cornstarch. You can find xantham gum at specialty stores such as Whole Foods. You’ll also need a ruler or yard stick to measure and mark the rolls for slicing, and a serrated knife, such as a bread knife, to slice them. The baked rolls can be frozen for several weeks and reheated in your microwave before serving.

Makes 10 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

  • 24 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp rapid-rise yeast
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp buttermilk
  • 5 tsp butter spread
  • 1/2 cup butter spread, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tsp Makara cinnamon
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/4 cup butter spread
  • 6 oz reduced-fat cream cheese, cold
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 drop lemon extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix until combined.

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Whisk in water and buttermilk. Combine this wet mixture with the flour mixture, then add the butter spread and beat with a paddle until all dry ingredients are moist. Use a kneading hook to knead the dough for 15 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic and place in your refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours or until dough doubles in size.

Remove the plastic and press dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten dough with your hands for a bit, then use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a 20-inch-high by 22-inch-wide rectangle. Use your hands to stretch the dough as necessary to the proper dimensions.

Spread 1/2 cup of butter spread over the top of the dough, but leave the bottom 1 inch of dough uncoated with spread.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and xantham gum (or cornstarch) in a medium bowl. Pour the cinnamon/sugar onto the dough and use your hands to spread it to the edges, except leave the bottom 1 inch uncovered with cinnamon/sugar. Run a rolling pin over the filling to flatten it into the butter spread.

Roll the dough tightly starting at the top. Stretch the dough a little as you roll it down, so that you have around 5 rotations by the time you get to the bottom. Brush a little water over the bottom 1 inch uncoated strip of dough and complete the rolling. Mark the approximate middle of the dough roll, then use a ruler to make 5 marks every 2 inches to the left of the middle mark, and 5 marks every 2 inches to the right of the middle mark. Use a serrated knife to cut at each mark to make 10 rolls (the ends are tossed).

Place 6 rolls evenly spaced out on parchment paper in a 9x13-inch baking pan and the other 4 in a parchment-lined 9x9-inch pan. Place the pans into your oven along with a large bowl or pan full of boiling water. Rolls should proof for about 1 hour or until nearly full size (touching) in the pan.

When rolls have proofed to almost full size, preheat a convection oven to 325° (350° if not convection). Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until light brown and rolls register around 170° to 175° in the middle. Spin the pans around 180° approximately halfway through the baking.

While dough bakes, make frosting by whipping butter spread, cream cheese, salt, vanilla extract and lemon extract for 5 to 10 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, then mix again (slowly at first, then on high speed), for 30 seconds.

When the rolls come out of the oven, immediately cover each with the frosting.