I’ve been promising these for a good while, and I can guarantee that they are worth the wait. My older son, who is nearly 16, is a dedicated baker and took our family’s transition to gluten free baking last year very much in his stride. Not wanting to miss out on the good stuff that he likes to whip up, he took the initiative and found a recipe for gluten free cinnamon buns that he set about adapting. He makes them for family, friends and work colleagues, and everyone – regardless of their views on gluten – clamours for more.
Why are these so good in our estimation? The flour mix that he uses (sorghum, almond flour and a small amount of tapioca starch) results in a dough that is full of flavour – much more than traditional cinnamon buns – and has a bit more body to it. These are smaller and more compact than many cinnamon buns, and simply worth indulging in!
Recently this boy has been working two jobs, as well as going to school full time, so getting the time to make another batch has been challenging, but another snow day today cleared the decks for us.
Getting the flour blend to your own taste is what matters most, far more so in gluten-free baking. The blend my son uses is the first deviation from his inspiration recipe, which is from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.
He also chooses to melt the butter that is used in both the dough and the filling.
It’s a hands-on kind of business, this recipe.
He pointed out to me that he likes to trap the parchment paper between himself and the counter top as a way to keep the dough from slipping around when he’s ready to roll it out. Clever lad!
For a while our lab Reggie sat next to him on the floor, watching intently. A dog who likes to disguise begging for food as interested observation.
At this stage the business of squaring off and trimming the edges takes place, although I’d say my son approaches these buns with a more relaxed attitude in general (and I thoroughly approve – working in the kitchen should be fun, not a chore).
Doubling the cinnamon and sugar for the filling is my son’s other major departure from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. He insists the resulting buns are just not as tasty otherwise!
The only art direction he indulged in was to insist that I get this shot of a cross-section after cutting the individual buns from the cylinder of dough and filling. Rather nice!
Fitting the buns into a muffin tin comes straight from the method used on Gluten Free on a Shoestring, and it’s so sensible.
Best Ever Gluten Free Cinnamon Buns
(Inspired by Gluten Free on a Shoestring)
4 ¼ cups gluten free flour blend (we use: 2 ¾ cups sorghum flour, 1 cup almond meal, ½ cup tapioca starch)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Step 1 - Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a standard twelve-cup muffin tin.
Step 2 – In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and the granulated sugar. Stir until combined. Add half of the melted butter, the eggs, and the milk, and combine until the dough comes together. The dough should be smooth and relatively easy to handle. (The original recipe calls for between 3 ½ to 4 cups of flour, but my son says he always needs 4 ¼ cups.)
Step 3 – Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll the dough into a 10 by 15-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
Step 4 – In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and the remaining melted butter. Set the bowl aside.
Step 5 – With a spatula or whatever feels comfortable, spread the cinnamon mixture in a reasonably even layer over the top of the dough, leaving about 1/4 inch clear around the edges. Starting at a long side, roll the dough away from you into a tightly formed roll. Slice the roll in cross-section into twelve equal pieces, each about 1 inch thick. Place each roll in the well of the prepared muffin tin.
Step 6 - Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rolls are turning golden brown and the filling is bubbling out.
Step 7 – Remove from the oven and cool until the rolls are firm enough to handle, and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Be sure to remove the rolls from the muffin tin before they are completely cool, or they will begin to stick to the baking pan.
Step 8 - While the rolls are cooling, make the icing (optional). In a separate small bowl, mix together whatever icing you prefer and then drizzle or spread the icing on the rolls before serving.
These are equally good with or without the extra hit of sugar from the icing. Enjoy!