Healthy Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

When Chicago is almost 30 degrees colder than Antarctica, it’s time to make cinnamon rolls.

I’m part of the two percent of people who adore winter, but the minus 50-degree wind chill here is really testing my love. My absolute favorite way to spend cold winter days like these is baking sweets while watching a good ol’ Food Network marathon, and this Chiberian polar vortex is the perfect excuse to do exactly that.  

The smell of freshly baked goods floating through the house is always a treat in itself, but this recipe gives you two-for-one: banana bread and cinnamon rolls. A dream.

These rolls have a perfectly gooey, rich banana bread texture on the inside and a tender cinnamon roll texture on the outside. And there’s banana in both the dough and filling for a deeper banana bread flavor.

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Over the past few months, I’ve developed this habit of collecting any new type of flour I can get my hands on: from coconut to brown rice and buckwheat. Bad for the wallet, great for recipe testing. After experimenting with more than a few combinations, I found that this whole wheat and almond flour blend gives the rolls the most banana bread-like texture and taste. The secret to this recipe, and a holy grail component for all of my baking, is coconut sugar. This magic little ingredient gives any baked treat a rich caramel taste, which is why I use it for just about everything.

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The dough for this recipe will be a little on the stickier side when compared to a typical cinnamon roll because of the extra moisture from the banana and almond flour. Don’t worry if it looks less bread-y than you’d expect. While kneading with the dough hook attachment, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of whole wheat flour at a time until reaching a consistency that allows the dough to form into a ball. When rolling out the dough, lightly sprinkle just enough whole wheat flour on the top so that nothing sticks to your rolling pin as you form the rectangle.

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If the rolls are still doughy after 30 minutes of baking, cover the pie dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for an additional five. This way, the inside of your rolls will get some extra bake time without the tops burning. For a perfectly melty maple frosting glaze, you can wait until the rolls are slightly warm to the touch to frost.

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Healthy Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

Takes , Serves 7.

Ingredients

Dough
  • 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (339g)
  • 2 Cups Almond Flour (192g)
  • 3½ TBSP Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Packet Quick Rise Yeast
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • ⅓ Cup Water
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Flax Egg*
  • ½ Large Banana (~65g)

  • Filling
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ Cup Coconut Sugar (100g)
  • 2 Large Bananas (~260g)
  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil

  • Frosting
  • ¼ Cup Vegan Butter (54g)
  • 2 Cups Powdered Sugar (220g)
  • 1 tsp Maple Extract
  • 2 tsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Almond Milk
  • Small Pinch of Salt
  • Instructions

    1. Grease a 9″ pie dish with coconut oil and set aside.
    2. Add whole wheat flour, almond flour, coconut sugar, salt, and yeast to a stand mixer bowl.** Mix with paddle attachment until ingredients are well incorporated.
    3. Combine 1 TBSP flax meal with 2 TBSP warm water to create flax egg. Set mixture aside to thicken.
    4. In a small bowl, add banana and mash with a fork until consistency is smooth. Set aside.
    5. Melt coconut oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. After coconut oil is melted, add in almond milk, water, and vanilla extract. Let mixture sit until just warm.
    6. With paddle attachment on low speed, slowly add milk mixture and mashed banana to dry ingredients.
    7. Add flax egg and continue mixing until combined. At this point, you may need to add ¼ - ½ cup of whole wheat flour until dough begins to form an elastic consistency.
    8. Change stand attachment to dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl when ready.
    9. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a towel and let rest for 45 minutes or until dough doubles in size.
    10. While dough is rising, mash two large bananas and maple syrup in a medium size bowl until consistency is smooth.
    11. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and coconut sugar to form cinnamon sugar mixture.
    12. Place each roll into previously prepped pie dish. Cover loosely and let rise for around 30 minutes.
    13. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350˚F.
    14. After the dough has risen, bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
    15. Remove dish from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Cover with maple frosting when rolls are slightly warm to the touch.
    16. For frosting, cream softened butter in a large bowl until consistency is smooth. Then, add maple extract, maple syrup, almond milk, and salt. Mix until fully combined.
    17. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix on low until fully incorporated. When ingredients are combined, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl as necessary.

    * To make a flax egg, mix one TBSP of flax meal with 2 TBSP of warm water. Let this mixture rest for around five minutes to form a gel-like consistency.

    ** A hand mixer and large bowl can be used as well.