Healthy Cinnamon Buns in a dutch oven with icing.
Recipes

Healthy Spelt Cinnamon Buns

What is more comforting than a warm cinnamon bun freshly iced right out of the oven?

These healthy spelt cinnamon buns are unique with the hint of orange in the filling and the icing. They are satisfying but not overly sweet and you still feel great after eating them.

Don’t be intimidated by the unique way of braiding them. It’s actually super easy!

Hospitality Tip of The Day:

Anticipate your guests’ needs. This is a skill I’m trying to develop.

Some ideas are to provide water as soon as they arrive, offer coffee or other refreshments and let new guests know where the bathroom is at the beginning of the visit. These courtesies are all good examples of what I mean by anticipating needs.

I consider this one of the secrets of naturally hospitable people. This requires practice and the ability to look beyond ourselves and to think about how a guest might be feeling at the moment. A worthwhile skill to work on. Ok! On to the cinnamon buns! 

I think life is delicious, and I want to gobble it up in big bites

-Shauna Niequist

Nutrition Notes

Is maple syrup healthy?

Yes.

What makes maple syrup a healthier choice is the vitamins, minerals and trace minerals that it provides. In comparison, white sugar is devoid of nutrients.

Maple syrup adds a delicious taste to baked goods as well. Keep in mind, maple syrup is still quite sweet and should be used in moderation. 

Why Coconut Sugar? 

Coconut sugar is rich in nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc whereas refined white sugar is stripped of nutrients. Keep in mind, although coconut sugar is a superior choice, it is still sugar and should be used in moderation. 

Why do some recipes call for scalding milk?

Milk-based doughs rise more easily if the milk has been scalded first. The whey found in milk can inhibit the yeast’s ability to rise but when the milk is heated to a temperature of 180-185 degrees F, then the whey in the milk is weakened and the yeast can do its job.

An indicator that the milk is scalded is when small bubbles begin to appear on the perimeter of your pot. Remember to stir frequently and watch the milk carefully because it’s easy to have it get too hot.

Allow the milk to cool down to room temperature again before adding in your yeast. When the milk is too hot it can kill the yeast. 

How to Make Healthy Spelt Cinnamon Buns

For the dough:

Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Watch the milk carefully and as soon as it starts bubbling around the side of the saucepan take it off the heat. (This is referred to as scalding. This is an important step to ensure the yeast is able to rise properly later.)

Pour the milk into an electric mixer with butter and maple syrup. Before you add the yeast, ensure that the temperature of the milk mixture has come down to room temperature. It’s important to be patient at this step because if the mixture is too warm, it can kill the yeast. Stir in the yeast and wait until you see it begin to get bubbly and foamy on the surface. This takes about 15 minutes. (See photo below)

Add the eggs, both types of flour, and salt. Place the bread hook on the stand mixer and turn on low. Run the mixer for 10 minutes and you’ll see the dough go from rough and sticky looking to a nice soft homogenous ball of dough.

Turn the mixer off and cover the top of the mixing bowl with a towel and wait for the dough to rise until doubled in size. (This can take anywhere from an hour to a hour and a half but it’s more important to go by eye than by time.)

For the Filling:

Cream together the sugar, softened butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and orange juice until smooth. Mixture should be room temperature when you are ready to spread it out on the dough.

Spread the sugar and cinnamon filling evenly over the rolled-out dough.

To create cinnamon buns in the traditional shape: Roll up your rectangular sheet of dough from the long edge into a tight log. Cut into approximately 12 evenly sized rolls.

To create cinnamon buns in the braided style (as seen in the photos):  Begin with your 16 inch high by 20-inch wide rectangle of dough.   Fold up the bottom edge to meet the middle of the dough.   Now fold down the top edge even with the new bottom edge.  Trim off the rough edges with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Cut strips from top to bottom that are approximately 2 ½ inches wide.  You should be able to get 10-12 strips.

Take each individual strip and leaving an inch of dough at the top, make two cuts to create three sections of dough for braiding. Braid the three strands and then roll from the top down.  (Refer to the video showing this braiding method on this blog post.)

Place buns in a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the baking dish on the top of the oven as the oven preheats and allow the rolls to rise for at least 20 minutes. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes.

For the Icing:

Beat the softened cream cheese, heavy cream, maple syrup and orange zest together until light and fluffy. When the rolls come out of the oven, spoon the icing over the buns.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • When purchasing heavy cream and cream cheese, check the ingredients. Look for simple ingredients like “milk or cream”.   Some brands are full of stabilizers 
  • If you don’t have spelt flour you can choose to use 2 cups of whole wheat flour instead.   You can also use all-purpose flour for all four cups.
  • I recommend splurging on organic oranges when you’re using the zest for a recipe. 
  • For recipes that use yeast, it’s more important to go by eye than by time.   If the recipe says it takes one hour for the dough to double in size and an hour has gone by and your dough hasn’t risen much,  just give it more time.  If your house is a bit colder,  you could try setting the bowl in a warmer spot.    A trick I sometimes use is to heat the oven to 200 degrees and then crack the door open slightly.  I set my bowl of dough on the top of the oven so it can catch the rising heat. 
  • These braided cinnamon buns may look complicated but they are SO easy to make and the final product looks so impressive!
  • If you prefer icing that contains icing sugar,  just swap out the maple syrup for one cup of icing sugar.
  • If you plan to serve fresh cinnamon buns for breakfast, you can do most of the preparation the evening before.  Just follow all the steps up to when the buns are shaped and placed in a baking dish.  Cover the pan and pop them in the fridge. The next morning,  preheat the oven to 350F.   Place the covered baking dish on top of the oven for half an hour to 45 minutes to allow the cinnamon buns to warm up and rise to double their size.  Bake as instructed in the recipe.

Healthy Spelt Cinnamon Buns Recipe

Healthy Cinnamon Buns in a dutch oven with icing.

Healthy Spelt Cinnamon Buns

Christy Faber
What is more comforting than a warm cinnamon bun freshly iced right out of the oven? These healthy, spelt cinnamon buns are unique with the hint of orange in the filling and the icing. They are satisfying but not overly sweet and you still feel great after eating them. Don’t be intimidated by the unique way of braiding them. It’s actually super easy!
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Dough Rising 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Cinnamon
Calories 472.6 kcal

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer

Ingredients
  

For the Dough

  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 packet dry active yeast (8g)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs large eggs
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp unrefined sea salt

For the Filling

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter 
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon 
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • 1 orange zest of one small orange 
  • 1 tbsp orange juice 

For the Icing:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 or 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 orange zest from one small orange

Instructions
 

For the Dough:

  • Heat the milk in a small saucepan. Watch the milk carefully and as soon as it starts bubbling around the side of the saucepan take it off the heat. (This is referred to as scalding. This is an important step to ensure the yeast is able to rise properly later.)
  • Pour the milk into an electric mixer with butter, and maple syrup. Before you add the yeast ensure that the temperature of the milk mixture has come own to room temperature. It's important to be patient at this step because if it's too warm it can kill the yeast. Stir in the yeast and wait until you see it begin to get bubbly and foamy on the surface. This takes about 15 minutes. (see photos above of this step.)
  • Add the eggs, both types of flour and salt. Place the bread hook on the stand mixer and turn on low. Run the mixer for 10 minutes and you'll see the dough go from rough and sticky looking to a nice soft homogenous ball of dough. Turn the mixer off and cover the tip of the mixing bowl with a towel and wait for the dough to rise until doubled in size. (This can take anywhere from an hour to a hour and a half but it's more important to go by eye than by time.)

For the Filling:

  • Cream together the sugar, softened butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and orange juice until smooth. Mixture should be room temperature when you are ready to spread it out on the dough.
  • Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a rectangle approximately 16 inches high by 20 inches wide.
  • Spread the sugar and cinnamon filling evenly over the rolled out dough.
  • To create cinnamon buns in the traditional shape: Roll ip your rectangular sheet of dough from the long edge into a tight log. Cut into approximately 12 evenly sized rolls.
  • To create cinnamon buns in the braided style (as seen in the photos): Begin with your 16 inch high by 20 inch wide rectangle of dough. Fold up the bottom edge to meet the middle of the dough. Now fold down the top edge even with the new bottom edge. Trim off the rough edges with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Cut strips from top to bottom that are approximately 2 1/2 inches wide. You should be able to get 10-12 strips. Take each individual strop and leaving an inch of dough at the top, make two cuts to create three sections of dough for braiding. Braid the three strands and then roll from the top down. (If you're struggling message me on Instagram and I'll help you!)
  • Place buns in a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the baking dish on the tip of the oven as the oven preheats and allow the rolls to rise for at least 20 minute. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes.

For the Icing:

  • Beat the softened cream cheese, heavy cream, maple syrup and orange zest together until light and fluffy. When the rolls come out fo the oven, spoon the icing over the buns. Enjoy!

Notes

  •  For recipes that use yeast, it’s more important to go by eye than by time.   If the recipe says it takes one hour for the dough to double in size and an hour has gone by and your dough hasn’t risen much,  just give it more time.  If your house is a bit colder,  you could try setting the bowl in a warmer spot.    A trick I sometimes use is to heat the oven to 200 degrees and then crack the door open slightly.  I set my bowl of dough on the top of the oven so it can catch the rising heat. 
  • If you prefer icing that contains icing sugar,  just swap out the maple syrup for one cup of icing sugar.
  • If you plan to serve fresh cinnamon buns for breakfast, you can do most of the preparation the evening before.  Just follow all the steps up to when the buns are shaped and placed in a baking dish.  Cover the pan and pop them in the fridge. The next morning,  preheat the oven to 350F.   Place the covered baking dish on top of  the oven for half an hour to 45 minutes to allow the cinnamon buns to warm up and rise to double their size.  Bake as instructed in the recipe.
Keyword Cinnamon Bun, Healthy Cinnamon Bun, Spelt
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Hi! I’m Christy, a happy wife and mother to three boys, a nutritionist, a food lover and a Canadian. Creating and experimenting in the kitchen is my idea of an afternoon well spent. To me, a clean kitchen is an empty canvas of possibility and that means my kitchen never stays clean for long. My dream is that one or more of the recipes I share here will inspire you, perhaps even becoming a cherished family favourite.

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