By contributing writer Tessa
My mom always made THE best cinnamon rolls growing up. They were well known around our parts. There was even a time when I peddled custom orders of the bread around our neighborhood to earn some extra money. Of course, I didn’t realize then how unfair that deal was for my mom. She did all the making, and I just took orders and delivered to lots of happy customers! Aren’t moms great?!
When we had to cut out gluten, finding a cinnamon roll like my mom’s was a mission. While these certainly are not my mom’s, these are THE best version of cinnamon rolls I have tried since going gluten free.
And trust me, I have tried plenty. Lots were quite tasty, but they were missing that texture I was looking for…a chewiness. Then I started playing with gelatin as an egg replacer, and BOOM! The chewiness I longed for like some unattainable dream was mine to mold and play with!
These cinnamon rolls have a perfect slight crunch/chewiness on the outside that melts into a soft, chewy interior—really a perfect mouth feel! Every single person who has tried these, even those with no food allergies, has loved them. They are THAT good. I hope you love them too.
Note: Gluten free yeast dough is NOT like its gluten counterparts. The dough is more of a batter and will take some technique to work with. I will teach you! It is very doable!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze
For the Dough
- 3/4 cup any milk, hot
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, palm shortening, or allowed butter
- 1 tablespoon gelatin (or one egg)
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 tablespoon sweetener, like honey or sugar
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour (plus extra for rolling)
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup sorghum or millet flour
- 2 teaspoons guar or xanthum gum
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Filling
- 1/3 cup melted allowed butter or coconut oil
- 1/4 cup blonde cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the Glaze
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup palm or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ghee or allowed butter
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Dough
- In a liquid measuring cup, place the hot milk, pumpkin, fat, gelatin, sweetener, and yeast, whisking to blend and assure no lumps from the gelatin. The mixture should be slightly warm to proof the yeast. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes. When you see the yeast starting to bubble and foam, you are good to go.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients for the dough. Mix in the wet, proofed yeast mixture when ready.
- Gather the dough into a ball and dust all sides liberally with flour. The dough will be wet, not like a traditional gluten yeast dough. You need the extra flour to work with this!
- Lay out two non-stick baking mats, waxed paper, or plastic wrap, or any combo of these. If using plastic wrap, tape the bottom piece down onto the counter. Flour this entire bottom piece liberally and plop your dough ball down onto the center. Make sure you either grease or heavily flour the top of the dough ball to prevent sticking as you roll.
- Lay the second mat or waxed paper over the top of the dough and roll out to roughly the size of a cookie sheet, trying to keep the dough an even thickness. Gently peel the top layer off.
For the Filling
- In a small bowl, melt the butter and then mix in the cinnamon and sugar. Spread this filling evenly over the awaiting rectangle of dough.
- Remember, because this dough is soft, this part will take some finesse, and you will have to assist in the rolling process (hang in there!). Using the bottom mat or paper, gently lift the mat up, starting to roll the dough forward, tucking the first flap in and down, and roll the dough all the way up.
- Once you have a uniform roll, use dental floss or thin string for cutting. Cut the roll into roughly 1 - 1 1/2 inch pieces by shimmying the floss under the roll and bringing the two ends together to slice, about 11-12 rolls.
- Place the rolls into two greased 9 inch cake pans, leaving space between the rolls to allow for rising. (Remember, because this dough is so soft, you need the sides of the pan to keep these bad boys in place. A cookie sheet will not work.)
- Let rolls rise in a warm place until roughly double in size. Mine took about 30 minutes with regular yeast in a warm (110 degree) oven.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until turning golden and the tops feel firm to the touch.
For the Glaze
- In a small sauce pan over low or medium-low heat, place all your glaze ingredients except the vanilla.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil while whisking continually. Once the mixture starts bubbling, set your timer for 2 minutes. Continue stirring. Be careful to not cook too long or too hot, causing the sugar to burn.
- Once the mixture is a thick caramel consistency (about 2 minutes), remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla (mixture will sputter).
- Drizzle over the top of the rolls while still warm, before it firms up and can not be spread easily.
To make ahead, you can prepare the rolls (unbaked and without the glaze), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze them. Either way, leave them at room temperature to rise/thaw until almost double and bake as directed.