Nothing spells comfort food more than an old-fashioned cinnamon bun, and these healthier Apple Honey Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns made with local apples are perfect for cold winter mornings (perhaps Christmas morning?!).
Healthier Cinnamon Rolls
I clearly recall the day that I spent with my grandma Laurin (my Dad’s mom) learning how to make her famous cinnamon buns from the expert herself: I was 16 years old, and was just starting to learn about health and nutrition. I rolled out the dough according to my grandma’s orders, and watched in absolute horror as she spread HANDFULS of butter over the dough. My jaw dropped further as she added the brown sugar in huge scoops and sprinkled it with cinnamon before rolling it all up. NO WONDER they tasted so damned good!
Fast-forward to this week when I decided it was time that I re-work this recipe to be a bit healthier and include some Okanagan apples, which seemed like a match made in heaven; yes?Jump to Recipe
I’ve learned many things in life, and my most recent revelation is that a cinnamon bun can only be so healthy before it’s not really a cinnamon bun any longer, at which point it’s also just not worth it in my books. My first attempt was an epic fail: dry, crusty, and not sweet enough. Blah. After many batches of bread and boxes of apples later, I found the right balance that is much healthier than my grandma Laurin’s, but still tastes sinfully good!
The Best Cinnamon Rolls
If you are looking for the best cinnamon rolls around, you HAVE to try my grandma’s old-fashioned recipe. Her original recipe for Granny’s Cinnamon Buns is on my blog if you are leaning towards the ultimate splurge. I make them occasionally with zero guilt and enjoy every single bite! She was famous for her cinnamon buns. I miss those games of crib and baking with her.
Baking with Apples
I’m a big fan of apples, and am so grateful to live in Kelowna where I have unlimited access to the best apples in the world here in Kelowna! There are endless varieties of apples: I used Gala apples for this recipe and they worked perfectly, but most apple varieties will work well here.
Some of my all-time favourite apple recipes are:
Apple Honey Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Buns
These whole wheat cinnamon buns are slightly healthier than a traditional cinnamon bun but just as delicious!
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg (well beaten)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter (softened)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups packed grated peeled apple (I used Gala)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-4 teaspoons milk
Combine the water, honey, butter and salt together in a small bowl, stir to combine and set aside to cool completely. Whisk in the egg once cooled.
Combine the water and sugar in a glass measuring cup or small bowl and sprinkle with the yeast.
In a large bowl, combine the cooled mixture from Step 1 along with the yeast mixture from Step 2 and stir in the whole wheat flour.
Gradually add the remaining all-purpose flour until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more all purpose flour as needed.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a clean dish towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough once and repeat.
Grease a 9×13" baking dish. On a lightly floured surface (use all-purpose flour for this), roll out your dough to form a rectangle, approximately 12" x 24". Again, it doesn't have to be exact!
For the filling: spread the butter evenly on the dough to cover and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon to evenly coat the dough. Top with an even layer of the shredded apple and raisins if using, and drizzle with honey. Roll the dough into a long log from the longest edge of your rectangle until it is completely and tightly rolled. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 even rolls. Place the rolls cut side up evenly in the pan as pictured, cover with a clean towel, and allow them to rise in a slightly warm and draft-free area until they are doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Once doubled, bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. Immediately turn the pan over onto a sheet of parchment paper on the counter once you remove them from the oven if not glazing; otherwise keep the buns in the pan and glaze. Make the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, vanilla and milk, one teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is a thick but "drizzable" consistency.
You may omit the egg if desired