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How to Make Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I grew up on little refrigerated cans of cinnamon rolls.  Do you remember those?  Hit the package on the side of the counter, and the gooey, doughy ingredients would pop up.  Put them on a pie pan, cook them for 10 minutes, slather on the pre-made icing, and I was good to go.

However, as I have gotten older, I have tried more and more to avoid processed foods.  A quick look at the ingredients on the packaged cinnamon rolls shows many ingredients I can’t even pronounce.  Instead, I set about to make my own.  (A quick thank you to one of my readers, Deb, who first shared the basics of this dough recipe with me.)  Since then, I have used it to make all sorts of different creations, including these cinnamon rolls:

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls


  1. Mix the water, 1/2 cup sugar, oil and yeast together and let stand for 15 minutes.  Cover with a damp cloth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Spray several pie pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the salt, eggs, wheat flour and vital wheat gluten to the yeast mixture and stir for 5 minutes.  (I just knead it by hand for 5 minutes, until smooth.  You could also use a bread machine or Kitchen-Aid mixer to knead it for you.)
  6. Divide into two piles and roll out one until it is about 8 inches wide and about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Spread half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture on the rolled out dough and spread it all around the bread.
  8. Roll up the loaf tightly and cut pieces about 3/8 inch thick with a sharp knife.  Place 8 pieces in each pie pan, giving them room to spread.
  9. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
  10. Put in a warm place, and cover with a damp towel.  Let them rise for 20 minutes.
  11. Cook in the oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until they are brown on all sides.

These are delicious plain, but you could also serve them with a simple dusting of powdered sugar on them.

These can be made in less than an hour, and thanks to the simple list of ingredients, you can feel good feeding your kids cinnamon rolls that are made entirely of whole wheat and contain no preservatives.

(You can also cover a few pans with plastic wrap and foil and place them in the freezer for future breakfasts.  Just be sure to do this before they rise.)

If you don’t want to take the time to cut the rolls into little cinnamon rolls, you can also divide half of the dough into 6 to 7 inch x 1/2 inch rectangle, cover with half of the cinnamon sugar and roll tightly and put it in a loaf pan for cinnamon bread.  In that case, cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, until dark brown all over.