I love a really good homemade cinnamon roll. It is actually one of my favorite desserts (or breakfast desserts?). We were looking for a kid-friendly cooking project and just threw these together – perfect in time for a long Easter weekend.
The dough is store-bought puff pastry dough, so it certainly isn’t as good (or even a similar texture, really) as homemade, but it is easy and quick!
They are also only sweetened with dried dates (or another dried fruit). The flavor of the dates compliments the cinnamon really well, but they would be fun to experiment with using other kinds of dried fruit. I added ground almonds too, to give them a bit of texture and something other than sugar.
- 1 cup dried dates (packed and slightly rounded. I counted this to be 19 dates in my batch). You could try other dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, or even plums, just make sure the fruit is the only ingredient (no added oils, sulfur, or powdered ingredients) or it won’t work well.
- 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) melted butter, unsalted*
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 pouch vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds (you could probably use 1/4 cup or less of ground almonds)
- 1 package of rolled puff pastry (cold or frozen section of the grocery store). Follow thawing directions so it is ready to roll out.
- 1 pinch salt *omit this if you used salted butter
- 1 egg (optional, but I recommend this if you aren’t using a glaze or icing)
- Put the dates in a heat-safe bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 20 minutes then drain.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
- Place the drained dates, melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and nuts in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. I used the food processor attachment for my immersion blender- it isn’t super-powerful but it did the trick. You can add a few splashes of water if the paste is too thick to blend (also try pulsing).
- Unroll the thawed pastry and spread the paste out on top. Leave a bit of space at both longer sides to allow for rolling later.
- Roll it up from the long side so it is in one long roll.
- Cut into 3/4 inch rounds and place on a baking sheet.
- Brush with the beaten egg (optional) for extra shine.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Feel free to go a few minutes longer if they don’t look quite ready.
- Cool. For kids (and those who don’t consume a ton of sweets) these really are nice without an icing. If you really want to you can mix up a simple icing and drizzle on top. They’re fairly light and thin, so you may not want to overwhelm them with more than a light drizzle.
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