Recipes, Special Diets on April 19, 2011 by

Gluten Free on a Shoestring: Quick(er) Cinnamon Buns

Not only are these gluten-free and casein-free, they’re good for you!


Nah, not really. But they are gluten-free and casein-free.

When Bob’s Red Mill decided to commemorate Autism Awareness Month with guest bloggers bliggity-blogging about gluten-free casein-free recipes, I knew I could do it. I can do it! {positive self-talk}

In my new cookbook, Gluten-free on a Shoestring, I talk about how gluten-free should be enjoyable and affordable. Second-class citizens no more.  And all but a few of the 125 recipes in the book (where indicated in the specific recipes) can be made with nondairy substitutes. That’s important to me, because I feel a really strong connection, and debt of gratitude to the autism community. For good reason.

When my family first started kickin’ it gluten-free (about 6 years ago, after my now 7-year-old son was diagnosed with celiac disease), we were casein-free, too. When we went gluten-free, my son Jonathan’s his whole system was so off kilter, he could not tolerate casein. So we did gluten-free casein-free (GFCF). To be honest, back then many of the best resources were GFCF anyway. The autism community was a real boon to my family and me.

So, to say ‘thank you,’ I give you GFCF cinnamon buns.

There’s a recipe for overnight Cinnamon Rolls in my book, but you have to be pretty darn determined to make those. They’re worth it, but they’re somewhat aspirational.

This recipe is an abbreviated version, made in muffin cups which helps support the dough, allowing for an easier rise and letting us rush the process a bit by adding more yeast. And they’re buns.

How do you like my buns?


Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if using flour that contains xanthan gum already)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I used a non-hydrogenated variety)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups nondairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Icing Ingredients

  • ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons nondairy milk

Dough-making directions

1. Combine flour, xanthan gum, salt, sugar, yeast, cream of tartar and cinnamon in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (no stand mixer? a large bowl will do). These are the dry ingredients.

2. Grease the wells of either a standard 12-cup muffin tin or a jumbo 6-cup muffin tin, and set the pan aside.

3. Add the shortening, vanilla and eggs to the dry ingredients one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk in a steady stream. The mixture should come together as dough. Once the dry ingredients have combined well with the wet ingredients, turn the mixer on at least medium speed and mix for about 5 minutes to activate the xanthan gum. The dough should be very thick and smooth, and even a bit sticky to the touch. In the end, it’s easier to work with dough that is tacky at first. Trust me. Go with it.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and allow it to rest for a moment while we prepare the filling.

Filling directions
Place all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be grainy. Keep this mixture handy as you shape the dough.

Dough-shaping & assembling directions

1. These directions assume you are making 6 buns. If you are, in fact, making 12 buns, just modify the directions accordingly.

2. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces. For each piece of dough, roll it back and forth on the lightly floured surface into a cylinder about 6-inches long. Flatten the cylinder with your hands into a rectangle 6-inches long and 1 ½-inches wide. As you work, sprinkle the dough lightly with flour in sticky spots. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Stack them horizontally, like the stripes on the American flag.

3. Scatter the filling evenly among the dough, gently pressing the filling into the dough so it doesn’t come off as you roll the dough into buns.

4. Next, roll each piece of dough as tightly as possible into a bun, from one short side of the rectangle to the other.

5. Place each bun into a well of the muffin tin, and place the tin in a warm, moist, draft free location to rise for about 30 minutes. Don’t worry about its doubling in size. These are quick(er) buns.

Baking directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the muffin tin in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges of the buns are lightly brown and the center is solid to the touch. If you bake too long, the bottom will begin to burn. You have to judge the bottom by what you see on the sides.

2. Allow the buns to cool completely before icing them. If you ice them when they’re still warm, the icing will melt and disappear right into the bun. And it’s just plain prettier when they look iced.

Icing directions
1. Combine the sugar and milk and mix well. If you like thicker icing, use less milk. And vice versa.

2. Once the buns are cool, pour or spread the icing atop those beautiful buns.

3. Eat them all yourself. In a closet. In the dark. In the middle of the night. Quietly.

Warm regards, and warm cinnamon buns,


Nicole Hunn

Gluten-free on a Shoestring, 125 Recipes For Eating Well on the Cheap



Carli says:

Thanks so much for making gluten free products. Thank goodness I can buy them in Smithers. I just can’t deal with wheat products anymore, since removing wheat from my diet, I’m a much happier camper.

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Becky says:

Is the amount correct for 1 1/2 c. non-dairy milk? I added that much and my dough is the consistency of pudding.

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