There are some gluten free items which seem out of the realm of possibility of the gluten free baker. One of those is the cinnamon roll. One of my most traumatic baking experiences came when I painstakingly followed a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens for gluten cinnamon rolls, substituting something simple like rice flour for the gluten flour, and turned out the most lovingly prepared cinnamon rocks ever to grace my kitchen. Granted that was something like ten years ago, before I had learned the way of gluten free yeast baking, but I think even now I’d have difficulty coming up with a good cinnamon roll following one of the traditional recipes. Well, thank goodness for my personal Culinary Muse, Bette Hagman, AKA the Gluten free Gourmet. When I first read her recipe for Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns, I felt a surprising optimism that maybe Cinnamon Roll-esque desserts weren’t entirely off the menu. Her clever recipe involves taking muffin tins, putting a brown sugar, cinnamon pecan syrup (pecans optional) on the bottom, and filling the tin with her ridiculously fluffy and light Featherlight Mix based batter. This batter is so light and fluffy, it’s like filling the tin with air frosting. I’ve made her recipe now many times, always with the Cinnamon Roll Variation (extra cinnamon, no pecans) and it turns out beautifully every time. Last night after a tedious house cleaning session, I turned to DH for inspiration and asked for a baking request. “I’ll bake anything you ask for, so choose wisely,” I said. He paused, and surprisingly quickly for my dearest Libra Husband, said “Cinnamon Rolls.” I paused, and regrouped. “Ok. How do Cinnamon Sticky Buns Sound?” “Great,” he said. I ventured into the kitchen and began baking. It hasn’t been cool enough to permit comfortable oven use in ages, so I was pretty happy to enjoy the cool breeze from the window rather than be lying in a puddle on the floor melting. I mixed up a double batter as per her recipe on page 230 of “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread.” If you don’t own this book, save yourself from bread boredom and pick yourself up a copy from Amazon (or wherever has the best price.) It is my hands down favorite GF cookbook for its sophisticated usage of the newest flours and a wide range of flavored breads and bread products. There is even a chapter on yeast free breads (although I like my breads chock full of yeast). But since I only had one muffin tin and needed something to bake twenty four buns in, I was at a bit of a loss. However, I decided to think outside of the muffin tin and got out some alternative tins, such as the metal rings I use for crumpets. Why not make Cinnamon Bun style crumpets? I also got out some adorable mini bundt cake tins with the thought that they were rather like an jumbo muffin tin, and a lot cuter than your average muffin. I poured the brown sugar syrup topping into the bottom of the tins and tried to lightly coat the ring center as well. For the crumpets, although I tried to keep the syrup contained in the rings, it did spill out onto the cookie sheet below, and as it baked the sugary syrup naturally burned a bit. However, at the end of my experiment, I had twelve delicious cinnamon sticky buns in muffin shape, seven in crumpet form, and four of the cutest little bundt cinnamon roll cakes I’d ever seen in my life. They retained their sugary glaze and the bundt shape in a most unexpected, beautifully decadent dessert that made the muffin sticky buns look positively homely. They all tasted equally light and delightfully sweet, with the exception of the semi sweet crumpet buns that had lost the majority of their syrup to the pan. DH declared them a resounding success, and gave them a “Yummy” rating and 8/10, and I would have to agree although I think I would give the Bundt sticky buns a 9/10 because they are so gorgeous AND sweet. The next time you’re experimenting with a favorite recipe, why not try baking it in a different pan, and see if you can’t create something that tastes and looks even better? I highly recommend these mini bundt cake tins- they were cheap and make the simplest things look absolutely delicious! Oh, by the way- I now have twenty some sticky buns languishing at my house- absolutely delicious but two people can only do so much damage without having to roll out of the house. Feel free to come on by and have one! ;)
*Note: The next day, they taste best microwaved for 20-30 seconds. Mmm mmm tasty. It’s now day three and we enjoyed a hot sticky bun with a cappuccino, yum! I froze half the recipe- will update you when I try them frozen and reheated.
For other yummy, gooey Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Goodness, try Ellen’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Recipe at her blog, I am Gluten Free. I haven’t tried it yet, but it got rave reviews. Why not do a GF cinnamon roll taste test- Bette Hagman against Roben Ryberg- let the battle begin!