This week I was craving sweetness, so you lucky readers get an all-access pass to my gluten free brioche cinnamon rolls recipe. Clearly I’ve got light, tender baked goods on my mind. What can I say? Lately I’ve been feeling really nostalgic for my pre-gluten-free days, and I miss cinnamon rolls terribly. I long for the big, gooey Cinnabons I used to get at the mall, never mind the fact that besides wheat flour, they’re full of sugar, salt and trans-fat. Ugh.
Last week when I posted my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Buns, I mentioned that I lived near the Arizmendi Bakery, which is probably the source of my baked-goods angst. Every freaking morning I smell their breads and cookies, and every time I walk down the street, I get to stare as other people nosh down on some of the best muffins and scones in the neighborhood.
So instead of feeling sorry for myself any further – hey, I’m human, we all do it – I adapted this recipe for gluten free brioche bread to make cinnamon rolls. The first batch I made was ooey-gooey and delicious, but I realized that it wasn’t really what I was looking for. I wanted something a little lighter, a little more “breakfast” and a little less “dessert.” So I made a second batch that still had the sweetness I was craving, but not the sticky-bun factor that I was used to eating all those years ago. I’ll work on the gooey version and post it at some point, I promise!
The base gluten free bread recipe, which comes from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg, can be adapted for a wide variety of gluten free buns. Who knows what I’ll come up with next? Actually, I already have a few ideas in the oven (har har).
Note: gluten-free doughs are super, super sticky, and this cinnamon rolls recipe is no different. When the recipe calls to dust with every possible surface with cornstarch, save yourself a lot of trouble and just layer it on. If you don’t, you’ll end up with dough everywhere but in your breakfast rolls.
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch (tapioca flour)
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Several more cups of cornstarch for rolling and dusting
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Whisk together the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, yeast, salt and xanthan gum in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Combine the liquid ingredients and gradually mix them into the dry ingredients using one of the following: a spoon, a food processor (with dough attachment) or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix just until there are no dry bits of flour. You might need to use wet hands to get the last bits of flour to incorporate if you are not using a machine.
- Cover (not airtight!) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Coat your hands and a flat surface liberally with corn starch, and I mean liberally. Trust me – this dough sticks to everything, even parchment paper.
- Turn the dough out onto starched surface, then spread and press with your hands until it is about 1 inch thick and roughly square shaped. Coat a rolling pin with cornstarch and sprinkle a little more on the surface of your dough. Roll the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick.
- Using a knife dipped in cornstarch, cut the edges of the dough so it’s relatively close to square-shaped. Sprinkle brown sugar around the dough square, giving it a good coating. Sprinkle the chopped nuts around as well, layering evenly, followed by the cinnamon.
- As tightly as you can without breaking it, roll the dough into a thick log. Cut into 6 equal-sized rolls with a very sharp knife. Coat your hands with a little more cornstarch and gently form the cinnamon rolls into rough ball shapes.
- Set a piece of parchment on a baking sheet (don’t worry – with the amount of cornstarch you used by now, nothing will stick at this point) and place the cinnamon rolls at least two inches apart. Cover loosely and allow dough to rest for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) while you’re waiting, allowing the full 45 minutes so that the oven heats properly.
- Bake in the center of the oven for about 22 minutes. The cinnamon rolls are done once they start to brown nicely and are firm to the touch.
- Let cinnamon rolls cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, then remove from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before eating. Eat hot, right out of the oven, or allow them to cool fully before storing them in an airtight container for up to four days. If wrapped up tightly, these rolls can be frozen for up to a month.