This months Kosher Connection Challenge is COMFORT FOOD! I put those words in all-caps because my favorite food in the world is comfort food. What I’ve learned from this KC challenge is that everyone has a different idea of what “comfort food” means and to me, it means the foods that I grew up on and the foods that make me feel like I’m home. Some of those foods for me are baked mac n’ cheese, tuna casserole, spicy spaghetti with chicken, hot dog soup (one of my dad’s specialties), grilled cheese, chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats and so much more! I could seriously go on forever. But one of my favorites that my mom made every single weekend for our family and for all of our friends that would eventually wander over in the afternoons were cinnamon buns. She would make two huge batches every Friday, one with raisins and one with chocolate chips.
I can still picture my mom standing at the end of the counter, rolling out the fluffy dough, brushing on the melted margarine, coating with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar then sprinkling on the raisins and chocolate chips. And who can forget that smell?!? Or that moment when she handed me the icing (a simple mixture of powdered sugar and soy milk) and let me spoon it over those hot and delicious baked buns. But really, the moment that I remember the most is actually when my mom would make the cinnamon-sugar for the filling. Seems like something silly to remember but when she would make the mixture, I could smell the cinnamon from a mile away and I would come over with a little paper cup and a spoon to take my share of the mixture. Yup, I would actually eat cinnamon-sugar with a spoon! Seems kinda gross, especially now that I have Type 1 Diabetes, but back then it was one of my favorite pre-Shabbat snacks.
So now that you have a picture of my cinnamon bun memories, you can understand why I chose it as my comfort food inspiration for this post. Since I’m eating gluten free right now, I thought it would be fun to try out a recipe using almond flour so I could bake my buns and eat them too. I just can’t imagine baking a fresh batch of cinnamon buns for this post and then handing them over to my husband and kids to devour while I stand by and watch. Since I adapted a recipe from another incredible blogger, The Urban Spoon, I thought it would be fun to change it up and try a different shape for the buns. I’ve seen the process of braiding the dough in to a twist on Pinterest and I’ve always wanted to try it so why not give it a shot with this more delicate gluten free dough. It makes for a beautiful presentation and an exciting new way to shake things up in the kitchen. So even if you don’t want to make gluten free cinnamon buns, I still recommend trying out this twist on your recipe.
Gluten Free Cinnamon Bun Dough
adapted from The Urban Poser
3 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp honey
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, I combined the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, I beat together the melted coconut oil, honey and eggs. I added the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture and stirred with a spatula until a smooth dough was formed. Since the dough was sticky, I let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes so it would be easier to work with.
I ripped two large pieces of parchment paper and placed one on my counter. I lightly greased the outside of the ball of dough with oil then placed the dough on the paper. I placed the other piece of parchment on the dough then rolled out the dough to a 9×13 inch rectangle. I discarded the top piece of parchment then drizzled the dough with the honey. I combined the coconut sugar and cinnamon then sprinkled the mixture over the honey and spread it out all over the dough. Carefully, using the bottom piece of parchment paper as a guide, I rolled up the dough from the wider side, keeping it tight as I rolled. It’s okay if there are some funny creases and rips in the dough but be careful not to rip it too much. This dough is not as pliable as regular cinnamon bun dough since it’s made with almond flour but if you take your time, you’ll be just fine. Cinnamon buns don’t have to be perfect!
Using a very sharp knife, I sliced the dough in half, leaving the top few inches in tact. Carefully open the dough to reveal the layers inside.
I’m going to use this word again but CAREFULLY twist the halves over each other then connect the end together to create a circle. The dough can be a bit fussy so if it tears as you twist, just pinch it back together.
I sliced off the edges of the parchment paper, leaving a few inches around the edges of the dough, and lifted the ring in to a 9-inch round baking pan.
I baked the cinnamon bun twist for 30-35 minutes, until the top was browning. If you want to keep the ring shape, place an oven-proof mug or small bowl in the center of the dough before you bake. Grease the mug or bowl before baking.
Cool the cinnamon bun twist on a cooling rack then slice and enjoy. Once the twist is baked, it is still delicate so be careful when moving it. I suggest keeping it on the parchment paper and even wrapping it with more parchment paper when storing in an airtight container. I sliced a piece for myself and topped it with pure maple syrup and chopped pecans.