After a lengthy absence dedicated to doing the things in life that matter (moving, travelling, dancing, learning Spanish, convincing myself I can love again), your favourite Russian Israeli is back with another paean to fatherhood, this time in the form of spelt orange pecan sugar-free cinnamon buns. I hope you like these as much as my co-workers did.
These stevia-sweetened healthy spelt orange pecan sugar-free cinnamon buns are a special treat that will make you forget about those mall court Cinnabuns.
“Dad, there is more nutella on that piece of bread than actual bread!”
“Dad, do you really need all that juice?”
“No dad, you really shouldn’t have another bun.”
My dad always had a sweet tooth. In fact, you could say my dad has a tooth for everything – salty, spicy, savoury and sweet. From stinky cheeses to dark chocolate with fleur de sel, he is a man who appreciates a good gourmet meal, followed by a tall glass of exquisite red wine.
But he is also the kind of man who cannot pass up a cinnamon bun from a market stand in Germany, the smell of its sticky sweet icing wafting to pull him in by the nose like a siren’s plaintive call.
The trouble is, consequently to his sweeth-tooth, my dad has also always had weight management issues.
It’s a tricky balance. Every year come Father’s Day or his birthday, my family would struggle to come up with a way to treat him to a great meal without compromising his health. My mother would pack picnics and bake sugarless streusels that sometimes tasted more like kraft paper than a dessert. I would prep carbless sandwiches wrapped in lettuce leaves, their countenance as sad as their taste. And at the end of the day, we could always count on finding my father sneaking in some dark chocolate when no one was looking.
So this year come Father's Day, I decided to take a different approach.
With the help of flavored liquid stevia drops, I was able to prepare a yeasted spelt dough that was as healthy as it was a delicious. All-natural stevia powder sweetener helped me mimic the flavor and texture of sugar in a hearty mix with cinnamon and pecans. A few drops of orange stevia Flavorall sweetener made it possible to give my cream cheese icing just the zing it needed. After a few tweaks and creative additions, a cross between hearty Irish hot cross buns and the white-flour, empty-sugar, calorie-laden cinnamon buns we all know and secretly love.
And at the end of the day, I looked at sugar-free, healthy spelt orange pecan sugar-free cinnamon buns that would be able to tempt my dad just as much as any German baked goods stand.
But also at the end of the day, my father is approximately 8,856 kilometres away. With his love of sweets and good wine, his critical mind and yet undying ability to wish and hope for more. With his dedication to his patients and his family and his friends, some of which at times come at the expense of others. With his million hobbies and interests, all of which he seems to be just good enough at. With all of the qualities I inherited from him, including his temper and kindness and terrible, terrible sense of humour.
So when I looked at my sugar-free, healthy spelt orange pecan sugar-free cinnamon buns, I knew I baked them for my father in mind only. And I took them to work on the Monday following Father's Day, in order to bring some joy to a few other fathers (and mothers).
Because sometimes, just baking something for someone you love is enough - even if they don't get to taste it.
Full disclosure: I received monetary compensation from Greeniche in exchange for this post. As such, this posts contains affiliate links to the products that help make keepign a blog possible. I am proud to only work with those companies and brands whose products I truly love. And as always, all opinions expressed here are my own; you can always expect me to be honest with you guys!
Spelt orange pecan sugar-free cinnamon buns [Sugar-free, whole grains]
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup melted butter
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast
- 1 TB sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups white spelt flour if dough is too sticky, you may need to add a little more
- 10 drops flavored orange Flavorall stevia
- 5 TBs butter melted
- 12 heaped teaspoons granulated stevia
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
Cream cheese icing:
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 1 oz sour cream if looking for a lighter spread; otherwise, use another 1oz of cream cheese
- ¼ cup milk start with ⅛ cup and add until desired consistency - fairly thick but spreadable
- 10 drops orange-flavoured Flavorall
- Zest of one orange for topping
- Additional chopped pecans for topping
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter and heat gently until butter is fully melted. Let cool until mixture reaches temperature of a warm bath (110C).
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add yeast. After 10 minutes, check that yeast has activated (it should bubble and smell a bit). Add sugar, salt and liquid stevia and stir.
- Add flour to mixture one quarter cup at a time, stirring gently. Dough should be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to floured counter and knead a couple of times, just until dough comes together – be careful not to over-knead. Coat a clean bowl with oil and add your dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- When dough has risen, roll it onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out gently into a thin rectangle about 1-inch thick. Brush with 3 TBs of melted butter, sprinkle with granulated stevia, cinnamon and pecans.
- Starting at one end, roll up the dough tightly into a roulade and place seam-side dough. Using a serrated knife, cut into 2-inch pieces. Arrange in a buttered and floured round pie pan or a square 9X9 inch pan. Brush tops of cinnamon buns with remaining melted butter.
- Cover with plastic wrap, place on top of your oven and let rise a second time while your oven is preheating.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- While oven is preheating, prepare cream cheese frosting: whip cream cheese with sour cream, milk and stevia.
- Once oven reached desired temperature, bake cinnamon buns for 25-30 minutes, until slightly golden. Let cool for a few minutes, then dress with cream cheese frosting, sprinkle with grated orange zest and pecans. Serve immediately.