Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

I stumbled over the original recipe at Healthy Food for Living and was more than intrigued by a slightly healthier version of a cinnamon roll (using whole wheat flour and applesauce!) and one that I could make within a couple hours without having to let the dough rise multiple times. I was sold! Not to mention I adore all things carrot cake! So on a Saturday morning I pulled everything out and got started! I originally made the glaze from the recipe but because it didn't go over well I'm putting what I would use next time - a tried and much loved cream cheese frosting recipe that I think would have gone REALLY well on these!!

Started with my counter full of ingredients (this was just for the dough part). Stevia, AP flour, butter, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, applesauce, whole wheat flour, milk, yeast and carrots.

I grated a cup of carrots using baby carrots. Let me just say I don't recommend this way of doing it! Ugh - that part along took me probably 30 minutes with those itty bitty carrots - I thought I'd be doing myself a favor and using some up but it was a pain in the backside!

Warmed the milk and put it into the Kitchen Aid bowl.

Sprinkled the yeast on top and let that sit.

 In another bowl I combined the flours and spices.

 I combined those with a whisk until completely blended.

 The yeast mixture was starting to bubble.

 In went the grated carrot and the applesauce!

 That was mixed well.

Next the dry ingredients were incorporated into the wet and allowed to combine completely.

I went ahead and combined the filling ingredients while the dough was finishing up.

Next the dough was placed on a floured surface and rolled out into a big 'ol rectangle!
The filling ingredients were sprinkled all along the middle leaving about a 1" border.

I rolled it all up (and inhaled that cinnamony, buttery, sweet brown sugar smell and envisioned the clock fast forwarding an hour!) :)

Using a sharp knife I cut 9 little rounds (it was supposed to be 8, but I started stingy!) Some looked a little funny, but heck my taste buds didn't know any better!
They were placed in the pan and set on top of the pre-heating stove and allowed to rise for 20 minutes.

When the timer went off they were looking puffy and filling out the pan beautifully - almost time to bake!

The tops were brushed with melted butter, then into the oven!

While the cinnamon rolls baked I worked on the glaze!

Vanilla, milk, powdered sugar and cream cheese went into the cleaned out Kitchen Aid bowl (that thing gets a work out!)

I whipped that up until it was as smooth as I could get it and played with it to try to get it sweeter to our liking. It had a very sharp taste to it which I wasn't loving but with a bunch more powdered sugar we were closer to what I was hoping for! :)

The beautiful rolls, fresh from the oven and looking oh so tasty!

I drizzled them with the glaze and let that soak in for a minute.

 The rolls were very good, though the only thing I would have done differently is the frosting since that really makes a huge difference in how a cinnamon roll tastes and the glaze that these ones were originally meant to have just wasn't sweet enough for us and we like the topping a little more thicker too so a little bit of cream cheese frosting next time would have made these absolutely perfect! I will definitely give them another try (and will NOT be using baby carrots next time either - see I can learn!!) :) The dough was tender, almost biscuit like though, definitely not a "traditional" cinnamon roll, but a wonderful variation and a terrific breakfast treat! The inside was coated with a sweet cinnamony stickiness like all good cinnamon rolls should be and now I want another one...

Recipe slightly adapted from Healthy Food for Living

Ingredients for Dough
1 cup milk, (can use almond milk or Silk if desired), heated in the microwave for 1 minute or until it reaches around 100°F
2 1/4 tsp (or 1 – 0.25 oz packet) active dry yeast, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup finely grated carrots, about 2 large carrots 
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (plus up to 1/4 cup for kneading and rolling)
1 Tbsp baking powder
6 Tbsp granulated sugar or other dry sweetener (Stevia, Splenda, etc.)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
1/8 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10-15 minutes, or until frothy.

Meanwhile, whisk together both kinds of flour, baking powder, Stevia (or Splenda or granulated sugar), spices, and salt in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted butter. Set aside.

When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the applesauce and grated carrots. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra all-purpose flour to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.

Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Starting at a short end, carefully & tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (such as on top of the preheating oven) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Either refrigerate, covered, overnight or proceed immediately to next step.

Remove the towel and brush the 1/2 Tbsp melted butter over the tops of the rolls. Bake rolls at 350°degrees for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden on top.

While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, beat all frosting ingredients together with an electric mixer until well-combined and smooth (taste test and adjust as necessary).

Remove rolls from the oven and transfer pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool a couple minutes (so frosting won't melt completely). Smooth on frosting and serve warm.

June 2011 Update: We did indeed make these again and with the above listed cream cheese frosting recipe and they were absolutely FABULOUS!! I used regular sized carrots too and it only took a couple minutes to grate out what I needed. I definitely recommend this recipe, they were requested by my hubby when we made them the 2nd time and I'm sure will be requested again in the near future! :)


  1. Healthy Cinnamon Rolls? with Carrots? I'm intrigued!! I need to bookmark this for the summer! When I think of cinnamon rollls I think of Cinnabon. And we all know how helathy those are!

  2. Mmmm... Cinnabon... I cannot be in a mall or airport and not get one if they have one it seems... good thing I don't go to either of those places very often! :D

  3. Surprise! I had your blog this month for Secret Recipe Club - and I chose this recipe to make:

    They were so so good. I absolutely loved them and so did my family :) Can't wait to make them again!

    1. Thank you for sharing these Sarah!! They are a family favorite - I was just browsing back through old SRC posts and came across this one. We'll have to have them again soon... yumm!


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by Making Miracles - I love to hear from my visitors, so please take a moment to say hello! :)

Popular Posts