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Cinnamon Rolls Trial: Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free

January 6, 2012

The Willing Cook decided to make cinnamon rolls for this week’s Willing Cook-A-Long. I decided not to go along with her chosen recipe, because I already had two recipes for gluten-free cinnamon rolls. One (from Gluten-Free Baking Classics) was not dairy-free. The other (from Cooking Gluten (& Dairy) Free) was dairy-free, but called for almond flour, which I suspect my son reacts to. So, I combined the two.

The Changes

I used the Gluten-Free Baking Classics recipe by Annalise Roberts (I love it when I find people with my same name!) as the base of the recipe. Instead of cow’s milk, I used coconut milk, and instead of sweet rice flour, I used sweet white sorghum flour. And I used Earth Balance Buttery spread instead of butter. I also followed Cassidy’s suggestion to add xanthan gum to the filling and roll out the dough on parchment paper.

brown sugar, granulated sugar, canola oil, coconut milk, GF flour, xanthan gum, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, yeast, salt, sorghum flour, buttery spread, eggs, powdered sugar

The Method

First scald the milk by microwaving 1/4 cup on high for 1 minute (until it starts to boil). Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of milk to cool it down so it is just warm. The suggested temperature is 110 degrees Fahrenheit, but I don’t have a candy thermometer to verify that I reached that temperature. Add yeast, 1 Tablespoon sorghum flour, and 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar. Stir until well blended. Cover with a towel and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes until mixture becomes foamy.

foamy yeast

While waiting for the yeast, grease your 9″ cake pan. Then mix eggs and oil together in one bowl, mix the dry ingredients (the rest of the sorghum and sugar, your GF all-purpose flour, xanthan gum, and salt) in the bowl of your mixer, and the filling ingredients in another bowl.

When the yeast is ready, pour it and the egg mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour. Beat until well mixed. Roberts says to do so for 3 minutes, but I found that to be overkill.

Roll out dough on parchment paper. I found I didn’t need to put flour on the parchment paper, but I did dust my rolling-pin with flour. Roll it into a rectangle roughly 12″ by 8.”

Brush with melted buttery spread, then sprinkle with filling. Then roll from the short end (using the parchment paper for support as needed). You should end up with a log that is about 8″ long.

Instead of using a knife, which can squish the dough, I cut my log with floss. Just slip a strand of unflavored floss under the log and cross the ends on top. Pull, and it will slice through the dough. You will end up with 8 one inch rolls.

Arrange rolls in cake pan, cover, and let rise for one hour. I put mine in an oven that had been heated to 200 and then turned off.

When done rising, bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until light golden and cooked through.

While the rolls are baking, mix your frosting. It will be drizzling consistency. If you pour the frosting on the rolls when they immediately come out of the oven, the frosting will melt. I didn’t care, because I was hungry for breakfast! Still, I could have let them cool a little, as we were handling the hot rolls gingerly as we ate them.

Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from Gluten-Free Baking Classics

Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free

Dough Ingredients:

  • 7 Tablespoons coconut milk, scalded
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1/4 cup sweet white sorghum flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 3/4 cup King Arthur Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon melted dairy-free, soy-free buttery spread (I like Earth Balance brand)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine scalded milk, yeast, 1 Tablespoon sorghum flour, and 1 Tablespoon sugar. Stir until well blended. Cover with a towel and set aside for ten minutes until foamy.

Grease a 9″ cake pan. Mix eggs and oil in a small bowl. Mix the multi-purpose flour, xanthan gum, salt, remaining 3 Tablespoons sorghum flour, and remaining 3 Tablespoons sugar in bowl of your mixer. Mix the filling ingredients in another small bowl and set aside.

Add foamy yeast mixture and eggs to dry ingredients and beat until well mixed.

Roll dough out on parchment paper until it forms a rectangle that is roughly 12″ by 8″. Lightly brush with melted buttery spread. Sprinkle filling mixture on top.

Starting with the short side, roll the dough jelly roll fashion. Cut into 8 one-inch rolls using a sharp knife or floss. Arrange rolls in pan, cover, and let rise for an hour, or until doubled.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until light golden and cooked through.

Combine glaze ingredients, and stir until smooth. Drizzle over rolls. Serve warm.

Makes 8 rolls

*To make your own flour mix, follow these instructions from King Arthur: Whisk together 6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch. Store airtight at room temperature.

cover copy copy


This recipe is featured in my cookbook The Best of the Rice of Life: Over 70 Gluten-free, Dairy-free, and Nut-free Recipes available now in print (Amazon, Create Space) and e-book (Kindle, iBooks, nook, Kobo and Smashwords).



What I Thought

I found that the texture of these rolls was very much like a biscuit. This could have been affected by the fact that I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum (for a total of 1 3/4 teaspoons) to the dough accidentally. They were still nice – not too dry. I didn’t care much for the filling though. I don’t know if it was the xanthan gum or the buttery spread that made it more sour than sweet. Either way, I don’t think the xanthan gum added that much. I would definitely do without next time. Overall, we enjoyed them. My husband and I both had two for breakfast. Joseph chowed down an entire roll (once it cooled down enough for him to eat). My daughter just nibbled around the frosting at the top. I’d do this again, though I’d like to figure out how to make them overnight rolls, because it takes forever to assemble these in the morning.

Shared on Allergy Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-free Wednesdays

23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2012 8:23 am

    Awesome. I so miss homemade cinnamon rolls. BTW, I tried making regular bread using the pioneer yeast/natural leavening agent. I used whole wheat flour. I did eat it (my allergy is not severe so I don’t recommend this for people who have severe reactions) and didn’t notice a reaction immediately, but I need to do more work before I can conclusively say the gluten had no effect on me. I’d like to try the natural leaven in GF recipes as well just to see if it can help prep my body first.

    • January 6, 2012 9:38 am

      Thanks for reporting back on the pioneer yeast. I’m glad to hear that the first run sounds like a success. I think I’ll wait on trying any remedies until Joseph can communicate better when he has any symptoms, though.

      • January 6, 2012 5:39 pm

        I don’t blame you. I still need to test it out a little more to make sure.

  2. January 7, 2012 10:44 am

    Thanks for sharing, Annaliese! I’m glad they turned out pretty well for you. I haven’t attempted a gluten-free version yet, but hope to get to it…eventually! Will you join up next week with the zucchini cake? I’m hoping to get to it today, but I don’t know if that is going to happen.

    On a side note, I’m hoping to revamp the Willing Cook-a-Long soon and get us sharing with other blogs. We’ll see what turns up.

    Hope to see you next week! Have a good weekend!

    • January 7, 2012 11:00 am

      You’re welcome, Michelle. I’ll pass on zucchini cake, since I already have a Joseph-safe chocolate zucchini bread that I like.

      I look forward to the changes. See you next week!

  3. January 9, 2012 7:34 am

    Those look great! Don’t you just love that cookbook? You’ve inspired me to try my hand at gluten-free cinnamon rolls. But I agree with you, I think I’ll just leave the xanthan gum out of the filling.

    • January 9, 2012 8:26 am

      I only just got it for Christmas, so this is the only recipe I’ve tried so far, but I like what I see! I’m sure this is going to be my go-to gluten-free cookbook.

  4. January 10, 2012 2:00 pm

    Those are the most beautiful cinnamon rolls I have ever seen…I’m sure they taste fantastic too!

  5. January 10, 2012 3:38 pm

    Congratulations on your cinnamon roll recipe… it looks fantastic!!!

  6. January 10, 2012 4:07 pm

    Thanks. They were good!

  7. January 11, 2012 8:26 am

    These do look tasty! Now I really want to make cinnamon buns. I’ve never heard of sticking xathan gum in the filling – do you know what the purpose of that is?
    I’ve found that cinnamon buns are less dense if the dough is very soft – usually I use plastic wrap to roll it out and up! 🙂

    • January 11, 2012 8:47 am

      Cassidy did it to keep the filling from oozing out, and it did that. But I didn’t care for the texture of it.

  8. January 12, 2012 10:32 pm

    They look delicious! My bet is that they had the texture of biscuits because you swapped out the sweet white rice flour. The sweet white rice flour would give it a soft, chewy texture more like cinnamon rolls, and using sorghum instead could change that texture to make it more like a biscuit. Sorghum is definitely a healthier choice though. 🙂

    • January 13, 2012 8:58 am

      Ah. I haven’t been cooking with gluten-free flours enough to know what they each do. Thanks for commenting!

      • January 14, 2012 10:04 am

        Sure! I learned this when someone tried my snickerdoodle recipe and replaced the sweet white rice flour with regular white rice flour. Turned them from chewy cookies to biscuits. According to her, they were yummy biscuits, but not exactly what she was going for! 🙂

        Happy baking!

  9. November 17, 2012 11:24 am

    Reblogged this on 300 New Suns and commented:
    I NEED to make these this winter!


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