Move over, Cinnabon! There’s a new game in town.
Inspired by the insanely alluring smell Cinnabon pumped into every airport terminal I had to wait in during my Thanksgiving travels—which was a LOT—I came up with these delicious cinnamon roll muffins.
With a sticky cinnamon-roll filling.
Drizzled with cream cheese icing, these muffins have all the tasty goodness of a cinnamon roll, but just 178 skinny little calories and 4 grams of fat.
(Compared to 880 calories and 37 grams of fat in one “regular” cinnamon roll—seriously, Cinnabon?!)
Low fat, gluten free, and vegan too
Better yet, these muffins are low fat, gluten free, and totally vegan. They’re even made with 100% whole grain oat flour, so they’re almost—dare I say—good for you.
But for heaven’s sake, don’t tell anyone about the healthy thing! Because these muffins are totally delicious. (My friends A and J can vouch—I made them taste test. 🙂 ) In fact, I may have to throw a brunch just so I can make them. And show off. Just a little.
Gluten-free lessons learned…
I will say, though, that developing this recipe was a labor of love. You see, I started out trying to make traditional cinnamon rolls that were low-fat, gluten-free, and vegan by modifying a standard recipe.
Aaaaand they came out as hard as hockey pucks. Gah! The second and third batches weren’t much better.
What I learned in my experimentation is that gluten-free flours suck up a LOT more liquid than wheat flour as they bake. So making a tender, roll-able dough (that’s not loaded with fat) is challenging, to say the least. I’m not saying it’s impossible, it’s just going to take me a few (dozen) tries. And I needed my cinnamon roll fix, stat.
So I switched to muffins. But I was determined to keep all the best parts of a cinnamon roll: the rich cinnamon filling, the gooey icing, and the tender bite.
Many batches later, after much tweaking (I’m a bit of a perfectionist), hubby Jeff and I hit on a winner! These gorgeous cinnamon roll muffins…
The crumb is beautifully tender. The filling stays smack in the middle of the muffin. The swirl topping caramelizes like magic. And the icing is just decadent enough—gooey and tasty, without breaking the nutritional bank.
Fun to make, fun to eat
Plus, these muffins are actually fun to make—and way easier than traditional cinnamon rolls. No kneading or rolling necessary! Just some mixing and a sassy little swirl.
Then a little oven magic, and voila!
Pretty cool, huh?
A few drizzles later…
And you’ve got mouthwatering cinnamon roll muffins, with gooey cream cheese icing and a cinnamon-y surprise inside.
See ya later, Cinnabon! 😉Naughty and nice: Skinny cinnamon roll muffins with sticky cinnamon centers. #Healthy #Lowfat #Vegan Click To Tweet
(Batter adapted from Second Act Kitchen’s blueberry muffins. Filling adapted from Imma Eat That’s healthier cinnamon rolls. Cream cheese frosting adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthy cream cheese frosting.)
- 2 ripe bananas (at least with freckles--the browner, the better)
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon, divided
- 2 tsp sugar, divided
- 2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine or coconut oil, melted, divided (optional)
- 2 cups gluten-free oat flour, sifted if possible. (Can use all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour if not gluten sensitive)
- 1½ tsp xanthan gum (See Notes. Omit if using wheat flour)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ ripe banana, well mashed (¼ c mashed)
- 1 cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp vegan cream cheese (Tofutti or homemade cashew cream cheese)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp almond milk
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a muffin pan with papers or coat with cooking spray.
- Make filling: In a small bowl, mash 1 banana well with a fork. Add 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar, and 1 Tbsp melted margarine (if using) and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Make topping: Puree 1 banana, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar, and the other 1 Tbsp melted margarine (if using) in a blender until smooth. Place topping in a small zip-top sandwich bag and seal. Set aside.
- Make icing: In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients using a hand mixer. (Or use a small food processor or blender.) Place in another small zip-top sandwich bag and place in the fridge.
- Make batter: Place oat flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, mash the half-banana. Add almond milk and applesauce and whisk thoroughly. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix gently until combined.
- Spoon about 2 Tbsp of batter into each muffin cup.
- Make a small well in each muffin with a spoon and add 1 tsp cinnamon filling. Top muffins with remaining batter.
- Decorate with a swirl: Cut off the tip of one bottom corner of the sandwich bag containing the topping. Pipe a swirl of topping onto each muffin.
- Bake for 22-24 min, until top is mostly firm and toothpick in side of muffin comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from pan.
- Remove sandwich bag of icing from the refrigerator. Cut the tip of one bottom corner off the bag. Pipe cream cheese icing over muffins and enjoy!
- Store leftover muffins in the fridge. (As if!) ;-)
Make-ahead: Make filling, cinnamon topping, and icing up to 2 days in advance and store in the fridge. Combine dry ingredients for flour; store at room temperature.
Quick-and-easy fat-free version: Replace filling with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Omit butter from topping. In place of icing, use a glaze: Combine 6 Tbsp powdered sugar with 2 tsp water. Add more water until desired thickness is reached.
Nutrition analysis: Includes optional Earth Balance and 1 tsp of icing per roll. (Icing recipe makes twice this much.) However, if you drizzle as we did in the pictures, you'll use much less than this--only ¼ tsp per roll!
Recipe shared on the Bloggers Spotlight Linky Party, Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, Tasty Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, #StrangeButGood, Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural, Healthy Living Link Party, Gluten Free Fridays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Real Food Fridays, Healthy Holiday Recipes, and the Party Gals Linky Party.