Cinnamon Swirl Rolls


Allergy-Free Desserts

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

This image courtesy of Shutterstock

Hands down, this is my favorite recipe in this entire book. Inspired by both the French pain au raisin and the American Cinnabon, the texture is doughier. They are chewy and gooey and just like what we used to eat when I was growing up. I have burned my mouth more than once trying to eat these the minute they have come out of the oven.

NotesIf you don’t have a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer, here is an easy trick to tell if your rice milk and water are the right temperature: If you place a drop of the warm rice milk and warm water on the top of your lip, it should feel very warm but not hot enough to burn.

Bear in mind that this dough will rise much differently than a dough made of wheat flour. Do not be alarmed if the dough does not double or triple in size, it will still work.


Cooking Methodbaking


Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursesnack

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch


Taste and Texturechewy, rich, spiced, sweet

Type of Dishbread, yeast bread


  • ½ cup warm gluten-free rice milk (105° to 110°F)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (105° to 110°F)
  • ½ teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
  • 3¾ cups Betsy’s Baking Mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup organic palm fruit oil shortening
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon organic palm fruit oil shortening
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup organic palm fruit oil shortening
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. To make the dough, mix together the warm rice milk, sugar, 2 tablespoons of warm water, and the yeast in a medium bowl. Allow the mixture to “proof” for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the top of the liquid should appear somewhat foamy. (If the yeast does not foam, then it is no longer good.)

  3. While the yeast mixture is proofing, in a small bowl, mix together the 3 tablespoons of water and the flaxseed meal and allow to thicken for 3 to 5 minutes. In another small bowl, mix together the baking mix, baking soda, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the shortening and applesauce. Stir in the flaxseed meal and mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in the yeast mixture. Fold in the raisins with a spatula. Cover the mixing bowl with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. When the dough has risen, roll it out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to ½ inch thick; this should make a rectangle that is about 15× 11 inches. Peel off the top sheet of parchment and spread the tablespoon of shortening over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, then, starting at the shorter end of the rectangle and using the parchment to help you roll the dough, tightly roll the dough into a long log. Smooth out any cracks in the dough with your fingers, from the outside of the parchment paper. Using a very sharp knife, cut the log into 12 slices.

  5. To make the glaze, heat the brown sugar, shortening, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until the shortening has melted. Stir in the Lyle’s Golden Syrup, then spread the mixture on the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Place the rolls, cut side down, on top of the glaze.

  6. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Immediately turn the rolls out onto a cooling rack placed on a sheet of parchment paper; the glaze will run down the sides of the rolls and drip onto the parchment. Serve the rolls warm or let them cool completely and spread them with my Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, if desired.

  7. Store these rolls in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.


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