My long search for perfect gluten-free sweet rolls has ended! These beauties are everything you could ever want from a sticky bun.
Laced with cinnamon sugar
What more could you want!
A good cinnamon rolls or sticky buns is one of my absolute favorite treats. Growing up, they were something we had on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. My Mom would make sheet trays full of the most delicious cinnamon rolls covered in a buttercream frosting. My husband’s family makes sweet rolls every Christmas; the kind like these with a pecan caramel topping. I think the fact that sweet rolls aren’t something you have everyday is what makes me like them even more!
Every time I encounter a gluten-free bakery, I order a cinnamon roll hoping it will match up to the cinnamon rolls of my past. Often times they do, especially at this bakery. I currently don’t live by any gluten-free bakeries (which is probably a good thing in all honesty) so when it comes to sticky buns, I’ve been left to my own devices.
I could write a short book about my experiences attempting gluten-free sweet rolls at home. It has been a long road! One of the first mistakes I made was to trying to make sweet rolls healthier. Months ago I tried a recipe with all buckwheat flour and no refined sugar. It was totally dense and unsatisfying! From that I concluded there are some things you just don’t try to make healthy. Of course on a daily basis I try and avoid sugar, but I would rather have a truly delicious cinnamon roll twice a year than worry about making everything I eat healthy. Some things are just supposed to be delicious!
The reason these sticky buns are so amazing is because of the methods I learned from America’s Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Cookbook. They don’t have an actual sweet roll recipe in that book, but they have an excellent dinner roll recipe. As I recall, my Mom would make sweet rolls using the same dough recipe for dinner rolls. I’ve tweaked their recipe and turned it into sweet rolls! I have plans of turning the dough into cinnamon rolls sometime down the road as well.
As with all sticky buns, they are a bit of work! In my opinion, they are actually easier to make than traditional sticky buns because gluten-free dough only requires 1 rise. And when you taste that first bite of warm, soft, sticky goodness it is all worth it!
- 1/2 stick butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons full-fat canned coconut milk or heavy cream
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- (To make these refined-sugar-free, use my dairy-free caramel sauce)
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 large egg, plus 1 yolk
- 15 ounces (3 1/3 cups) all-purpose gluten-free flour (a brand that has no added xanthan gum)*
- 1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) almond flour
- 2 tablespoons powdered psyllium husk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast (I recommend SAF brand, be sure it is fresh)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened and cut into pieces
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- In a saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, coconut milk/cream and salt. Allow to melt over low heat until totally combined. Boil for a few seconds, then remove from heat. Set aside.
- Spray a 9-inch cake pan generously with cooking spray. Cut a circle of parchment paper and place it on the bottom of the pan. Grease the parchment paper. Pour the caramel into the pan and sprinkle with the 3/4 cup of chopped pecans.
- Combine the warm water with the lemon juice, whole egg, and egg yolk and whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, psyllium husk, sugar, yeast, baking power, and salt. Combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the water over 1 minute. Add the butter 1 piece at a time with the mixer running. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 6 minutes, until light and fully incorporated. The dough will resemble cookie dough.
- Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a clean counter and spray with cooking spray.
- Place the dough in the center of the parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of greased parchment paper. Roll the dough into a long rectangle (about 11x15 inches).
- Spread the melted butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and sliced pecans.Starting with the long side, roll up the dough tightly. This dough is much wetter than traditional sweet roll dough and may require you to fold up the parchment as you roll. With a wet, serrated knife, cut the roll into 8-10 slices.
- Place the rolls in the cake pan with the caramel. The rolls may touch each other which is ok. Allow to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked through. Invert the pan onto a serving dish. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy! These rolls are best eaten the day they are made.
*I used America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Flour Blend which is linked above. Bob's Red Mill or King Arthur Flour GF Flours will also work. Just be sure to use a brand with no xanthan gum added to the mix.
*To make these dairy-free, use the coconut milk in place of the cream and Earth Balance Buttery Sticks in place of the butter.
*To make these refined-sugar-free, use my dairy-free caramel sauce
Sweet roll dough recipe adapted from the dinner roll recipe in How Can It Be Gluten-Free.