Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (Take Two)

Last week, I was craving cinnamon rolls. I saw a few Easter blog posts about cinnamon rolls, and they were driving me absolutely crazy. So, when the weekend rolled around, I just had to make some cinnamon rolls for Saturday morning’s breakfast.

I know that I have made cinnamon rolls before… So, you might be wondering why I am posting a second recipe for cinnamon rolls. Well, I happen to think that these cinnamon rolls are superior to my last recipe, and I thought it was only fair that I share it with you!  Plus, all of the flour in this recipe is 100% whole wheat. And, the rolls contain some oatmeal, too! I started with a recipe in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook, but made quite a few changes. I am quite pleased with how they turned out, and my hubby has been enjoying them, as well!

If you want to make these cinnamon rolls for breakfast, but don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn to start baking, you can get these started the night before. I mixed up the dough on Friday night. I let it rise on my counter top for one hour, then punched it down and let it rise again in the fridge overnight.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

(Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook)

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 4 cups white whole wheat flour

For the filling:

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

For the icing:
(Note – This makes enough icing to drizzle over the pan with plenty left over to add when serving the individual rolls)

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, orange juice, sugar, yogurt, egg, and oil.  Add the yeast, and stir to combine.  Add the salt, oats, and one cup of the flour.  Gradually stir in the remaining flour until the dough begins to form and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour, until the dough is smooth and not too dense. (You can actually knead in the bowl, if you prefer… That’s what I do a lot of times. You could also do this with the dough hook on a mixer, but I prefer to make dough by hand.)

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until almost doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). If you prefer, you can let this rise the night before, punch it down, and then keep it in the refrigerator overnight.  Be sure to punch it down again in the morning prior to shaping the rolls.

When ready to shape the rolls, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a small mixing bowl, and set aside.  Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish or cake pan and set aside.

Punch down the dough, and roll out, on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle, about 18 inches long. Spread about 3/4 of the melted butter over the dough, leaving one long edge uncovered so that your roll will stick together later.  Then, sprinkle 3/4 of the brown sugar mixture over the butter. Finally, sprinkle with the dried cranberries.

Roll the dough lengthwise (so that you end up with an 18 inch roll), starting with the side that has the filling right up to the edge.  Press the uncovered edge down to seal the roll so that the rolls will not come apart when you cut them.  Cut the cinnamon rolls with a sharp knife (or by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough, criss-crossing the ends over the top, and pulling tight to slice through the dough).  This recipe will make about 12 large and thick cinnamon rolls, but you can also cut smaller rolls, if you prefer. Transfer each sliced roll to the prepared baking pan, placing them cut side down. Spread them out evenly in the pan, cover, and let rise for about 1 hour.

Towards the end of the second rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Once the rolls have risen, brush the tops with the remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar mixture.  Bake for about 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes (if you can stand to leave them alone while they cool).  Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese until it is soft and fluffy. Gradually add in the milk and the powdered sugar until a nice thick glaze forms. Drizzle about half of the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls.

Serve the cinnamon rolls warm, drizzled with some of the remaining glaze. They make a perfect breakfast with some fresh fruit!

19 Responses to Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (Take Two)

  1. I’m still craving cinnamon rolls…These with a nice cup of coffee…crap, see, I’m already off the wagon. I love the whole wheat and orange dough!

  2. You’re a woman after my own heart here with these 100% whole wheat cinnamon rolls! I’m going to use the whole grain excuse while I overlook the butter (It usually works…LOL)

  3. These look incredible! I love that you told us how to start them the night before – that part always worries me. I can’t wait to make these!

  4. These look divine and I love the idea of adding the dried cranberries. I bet their sharpness helps combat some of the sweetness. YUM

  5. WOw, cinnamon rolls…I absolutely love them and even better with whole wheat flour…love the idea of using OJ in the dough :-)

  6. These are great! I rarely make any baked goods since it’s only my husband and I. These looked so good I had to try them… YUM! Awesome recipe!

  7. This is a wonderful recipe and after making them I would say you can even cut the butter and sugar easily and still have a very sweet and satisfying cinnamon roll experience.

  8. These cinnamon rolls look and sound delicious! It’s a cold day and I’m going to bake them today! Thank you for sharing the recipe!