[Recipe] Worth the Wait – Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon buns (or rolls)… How should I begin? It the food that I can have it any time of the day, breakfast, snacks, afternoon snack or even as dessert. I have a soft spot for cinnamon buns, because it was the first western “dessert”, as I would used to refer it, I had when I was a kid. It was also my first encounter with cinnamon, and since then, it’s my favorite spice. Nonetheless, traditional cinnamon buns are high in sugar and calories, not to mention the icing. This no-butter and no-refined sugar recipe not only cut down the calories, but also incorporated some fibre.

To be honest with you all, it was technically my first time making “bread” to baking with the process of proving! It was very nerve-wrecking during the waiting period, worrying about it not rising.

Thankfully, it did! Whole wheat doesn’t rise as easily as white flour. Unlike white flour, whole wheat, as well as other unrefined grains, contains germ and bran, which made it more nutritious than white flour. These two components have minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. It also add a nutty array of flavors to the bread, unless you opt for white whole wheat flour. However, these two components also make baking tricky. You can’t just substitute one part of white flour for equal part of whole wheat. You might have noticed that whole wheat bread tends to be drier and more crumbly, this is due to the fact that bran and germ soak up water. They also add weight to the dough, hence can impact its capacity to rise, resulting in loaves that are almost as dense as rocks.

Don’t worry… This recipe gives you soft, chewy cinnamon buns.

Instead of traditional sugar and cinnamon filling, banana and medjool dates are used as natural sweeteners! They’re not only perfect natural sweeteners, but also added extra oh-so-good smell that you won’t get from refined sugar. Imagine the smell diffusing out of the oven when it’s almost done. I just couldn’t wait for it to cool and dig in!

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver, with some modifications of my own.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 9
  • 185 mL Unsweetened slmond milk
  • 1 pack Dried active yeast (~7 g)
  • 2 T Maple syrup
  • 1 T Ground chia seeds
  • 1 T Olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 150 g Whole wheat flour
  • 160 g Plain all-purpose flour
  • 1 T Ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Sea salt
  • 90 g Pecan nuts
  • 2 Ripe bananas, medium
  • 4 Medjool dates
  • 1 T Ground cinnamon
  1. To make the dough, heat the soy milk until lukewarm (approx in microwave for 15-20 seconds), then combine with the yeast and maple syrup in a small bowl. Set aside for the yeast to activate (about 5 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir the chia seeds into 3 tablespoons of water and set aside for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add olive oil into the chia seeds mixture along with the flours, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Gradually stir in the yeast mixture.
  4. Bring everything together with hands (the dough be a bit sticky, but this is fine).
  5. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a towel and leave somewhere warm to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling.
  8. Toast the pecans in a dry frying pan. Peel the bananas and destone the dates.
  9. Reserving ⅓ of the toasted pecans to one side, then add all the filling ingredients into a food processor or blender, then blitz until smooth.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
  11. Grease a 20cm x 20cm baking dish with a bit of olive oil.
  12. When first proving is done, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 20cm x 40cm.
  13. Scoop the nut mixture onto the dough and spread it evenly across to the edges.
  14. Roll up from the shortest edge tightly into a log, then cut into nine slices (around 1.5" to 2" thick).
  15. Place the slices in the baking dish, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to prove for another 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
  16. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and slightly firm to the touch.
  17. Leave in the tin to cool.
  18. Chop and sprinkle over the reserved toasted pecans and serve.

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