Find more than 175 lightened-up recipes in our new book, Comfort Food Makeovers, which features recipe makeovers of classic home-style meals and popular restaurant dishes.
With their rich dough, buttery cinnamon filling, and gooey cream cheese icing, what’s not to love about cinnamon rolls? Well, there are the numbers to consider: There are 15 grams of fat (8 of them saturated) and 410 calories in an Iced Cinnamon Roll from Au Bon Pain. But cinnamon roll lovers, rejoice, because we cut the numbers in our makeover recipe to only 280 calories and 4 grams of fat per roll. Read on to see how we made these irresistible pastries taste as good (if not better) as the real thing.
MAKEOVER SPOTLIGHT: CINNAMON ROLLS
1. Most cinnamon rolls start with a rich yeast dough that’s been loaded up with butter, but we found we could cut back to just 2 tablespoons in our dough. Substituting maple syrup for the usual granulated sugar helped add back some moisture, and swapping out the whole milk for skim allowed us to trim even more fat from our recipe.
2. Cinnamon rolls call for lots of butter in the filling to help keep it moist and adhere it to the dough. To cut back on the butter, we added brown sugar, which kept the filling moist. Misting the dough lightly with water ensured the filling stuck to it. After rolling the dough into an 18 by 12‐inch rectangle, mist it with water and sprinkle it with the sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2‐inch border at the top edge. Press on the sugar to adhere, then roll the dough into a tight 18‐inch log.
3. Cutting the filled log into 12 even rolls ensured that they cooked through evenly; if some are larger or smaller, they will bake up unevenly and the nutritional information will be inaccurate. To slice the log, we used a serrated knife; when we tried to use any other type of knife, we crushed the soft dough. Because the rolls are fragile, it’s important to use a light hand. Once they are sliced, arrange them cut side up in a greased 13 by 9‐inch baking dish.
4. The creamy blanket of frosting is traditionally made with butter, cream cheese, and confectioners’ sugar. The butter was quick to go in our lightened version, but replacing the full‐fat cream cheese took more effort. We tried several options, but reduced‐fat cream cheese, which offered a creamy texture and tangy flavor, worked best. We also used far less than most recipes call for and made the icing easier to spread by adding a little skim milk. After the baked rolls have cooled, spread the icing over the top.