Thursday, May 8, 2014

Easy Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls

Guys. Guys. Guys! And by "guys" I mean everybody. I have something to tell you today that is very exciting to me and probably will be to a lot of you, too! But first I'm going to entice you to read on with a photo:

You know you want that. Read on to find out how easy it is to get it! It really is easy. Like... probably easy enough to be dangerous.

But let's back up slightly, first!

Have I mentioned at all on my blog how much I love Aldi? They're an excellent little grocery store if you're unfamiliar with them. They keep their prices low by staying small, minimizing the need for dozens of employees at each location, get fewer shipments than other stores, etc., etc., I don't know all the details of how they do it, but they do. Recently they introduced an organic line, after trying out organic stuff from time to time in the past. The prices are good, and I guess it was a popular addition because they always have at least a few organic choices these days! Another specialty line they have toyed with is gluten-free products. Personally I have never seen any in the store until yesterday, but I don't get to go very often because we don't have an Aldi in town and we rarely go anywhere else to shop! Anyway, Aldi decided that they were going to try out a whole line of gluten-free products recently and as of yesterday, May 7, 2014 had the line available at all Aldi locations. I saw the kind of prices they were going to be offering this line at and knew we had to go! So go we did, in the middle of the week and for no other reason at all we went up to Belton to try stuff out. We brought a little cash and got a whole stash of goodies! Brownie mix, pizza crust mix, yellow cake mix, baking mix, soft baked cookies, baked chewy bars, mac & cheese, and chocolate chip cookie mix. We spent a grand total of $22.93 for all of this you see in the photo below, plus the brownie and pizza crust mix we already gave away and used. Way more than I would usually spend on "splurge" foods, but a very worthwhile experiment and FAR cheaper than buying similar items at any other store. Seriously, we spent $6 at HyVee recently on a 10oz box of gluten-free cornflakes for casserole topping for Easter! Compare and awe.

We gave the brownie mix to my mother-in-law, and she made it up into cupcakes that very night for a church event. She gave us one to try out and it was delicious! It didn't taste weird or "gluten-free" like some of these things do. It just tasted like authentic brownie goodness! The taste, texture, and appearance was all great!

Then we decided that we just had to try the pizza crust mix that night rather than wait for the weekend! Once I saw that the mix would make 2, 12 in pizzas I knew I had to experiment. I made one half of the dough into pizza and with the other half I made up some cinnamon rolls! I've been craving cinnamon rolls for my entire pregnancy, but never found a recipe to make them that looked remotely easy and also had good reviews, so I have done without until last night! The few recipes out there that promise to be truly amazing were always complicated, often featured on blog posts longer than I could stand to even read once, detailing how tricky it was and how everything had to be done "just so" for them to turn out right! Well no more. I am here to rescue you from that problem, thanks to Aldi!

But first, a quick, poor quality photo of my pizza. It, too, was amazing. The crust was one of the best gf crusts I've had, though I think I like the mix best for cinnamon rolls, rather than pizza! But I would definitely eat the pizza again with no hesitation. Over and over if it were offered. Ha.

This pizza was topped with Italian chicken, onion, and deli-sliced Mezzetta peperoncini peppers. DELICIOUS! Side note: I've been obsessed with these peppers through most of my pregnancy so far. I want them all the time, and would probably eat them plain if I wasn't so tight with our grocery budget!
 Now for the really important part of this post though. The easy peasy, delicious gluten-free cinnamon rolls! It's so easy you don't even need any actual measurements. Really! Rough measures are all fine here. As I mentioned, I used half the dough, but if you need or want more cinnamon rolls, go ahead and use it all! We definitely did not need 16 cinnamon rolls between the two of us though, especially considering it wasn't our official "cheat" day and therefore the fact of having them (and PIZZA) at all was a big treat!

Easy Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 8, 2 1/2 inch cinnamon rolls

1/2 liveGfree pizza crust mix, prepared (not baked!)
Butter (I used a little over half a stick for the entire process)
Powdered sugar


Powdered sugar
Cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl (like the type for condiments, small) combine 1 1/2 tsp-1tbsp melted butter with a tablespoon or so of powdered sugar. Stir until combined. Pour into the bottom of your pan (I used a glass loaf pan and fit my 8 rolls perfectly so adjust according to how much you're making).

Roll out your dough until it is approximately 10-12 inches long, 5-6 inches wide, and about 1/2 inch thick (remember, this is a rough guess so adjust as you feel fit!). Slather the dough in butter, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/4-1/3 cup powdered sugar over top, and carefully roll dough up. I rolled my dough out on a silicon pad, so I was able to use the pad to help me roll the dough nice and tight.

Now take a piece of non-waxed, non-flavored floss (thread will work too if you don't have floss. Wait... why don't you have floss?) and cut dough into 8 equal portions. If you're not familiar with this method, watch this YouTube video: How to Cut Cinnamon Roll Dough

Arrange rolls in pan -- it should be a fairly tight fit but go ahead and cram them in if you have to. Now spread a little more softened butter over the tops, and sprinkle again with just a bit of powdered sugar (the amount of sugar you use throughout this recipe can really be dependent on how sweet you want your rolls!). Bake 10-15 minutes or until rolls just begin to turn slightly golden and feel fairly firm to the touch.

Once they are done baking pull them out of the oven and set them aside while you make up your frosting! You want them to cool slightly before you frost them so the frosting doesn't all melt off.

For the frosting, I again have no actual measurements. Sorry about that, but it really is very easy! I took a spoonful of cream cheese (probably somewhere around 2 tablespoons) and warmed it in the microwave until it was very soft. Then added about 1 tsp melted butter (because butter!), a small splash of milk, about 1/4 tsp of vanilla, and then started adding powdered sugar in small portions until the texture and flavor was what I wanted (yes, keep tasting as you add it -- you'll know when it's right!). You will know you have the ratios correct when the frosting is smooth, and begins to lose it's translucent appearance. If it's still really thin looking, add more sugar! Pour generously over warm cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

These were amazing hot, but probably almost equally good cold the next morning with a cup of hot coffee!

See how easy that was?! No need for a video to demonstrate anything because it is simple, quick, and very much like any other gluteny cinnamon roll recipe you've ever made! YAY!


  1. Wondering the actual size of these cinnamon rolls. I did the same with full package of mix and my cinnamon rolls never rose. They were more like cinnamon bites. Still tasty, but tiny!

    1. They are about 2 1/2 in across. They are small. And don't rise, really, at all. The dough does rise ever so slightly when it's resting for 30 minutes after initial prep, but even that is very slight. Though if your water is not warm enough (or too warm!) it won't rise even the small amount that it does. Does that help?

    2. We've also found that nuts and raisins rolled up into each roll make them taste more "real" -- kind of helps hide that denser texture than you find in traditional cinnamon rolls.