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Date Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe was inspired by The Sweet Life: Natural Macrobiotic Desserts by Marcea Weber (Japan Publications, 1981). I chose to find a happy whole food medium between intensely sweet conventional pastry and Marcea's macrobiotic version.  The dates add whole food sweetness and moisture. These are a wonderful for holiday breakfasts or brunch.
3 cups apple juice, divided
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dry yeast                                            
2 beaten eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
½ cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon zest


1 ½ cup pitted dates
2 cups raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped
4-6 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar

½ cup sour cream
2-3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Warm ½ cup apple juice and honey in a small pan.  Transfer to large mixing bowl and add yeast.  Stir and set aside for 5 minutes until mixture bubbles.  Add eggs and enough flour to form a thin batter.  Beat until smooth.  Clean down sides of bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot until doubled; about 30 minutes.
While dough is rising, prepare filling ingredients (dates, raisins, walnuts).  Place dates in small pan and cover with 1 cup apple juice.  Heat to a simmer, uncovered until liquid is absorbed; about 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Puree with immersion blender and set aside.  Place raisins in a bowl and cover with 1 ½ cups apple juice.  Soak at least 15 minutes to soften and plump.
Return to dough.  Beat in butter, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and zest.  Begin adding flour to yeasted mixture.  When it is too hard to stir, place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Clean and oil bowl.  Place dough in it, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough to a rectangle.  Strain juice from raisins. Spread half of the date puree, raisins, and walnuts on the dough.  Sprinkle with unrefined cane sugar and cinnamon.  Roll up from the side like a jelly roll.  Cut into 1-inch slices and place cut side up on an oiled cookie sheet or in muffin tins. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.
While rolls are baking, place all ingredients for icing in a small bowl and whisk together well.  When rolls have baked 15 minutes, spoon some of the icing on top of each roll and bake another 10 minutes.
Preparation time: 2.5 hours
Makes 2 dozen cinnamon rolls



Tomena Reed
Okay, so I cannot WAIT to make these! My family loves cinnamon rolls...but I hate how sugary they are. I already make them with whole wheat but you just helped me take it to the next level. BTW.. filling is more appetizing than innards...LOL.
December 22, 2010, 9:17 pm

corrie sebire
yuuuuuuuuuuum! I love cinnamon rolls too but oh the amount of butter that is required! it would be much nicer to enjoy these wholesome rolls! thanks for sharing!
December 28, 2010, 11:40 pm

Teresa Lintner
These are utterly delicious! Made two batches - they went so fast and we also gave some as gifts! Easy and very satisfying to make.
January 8, 2011, 11:22 am

Carol S
These look awesome! I can't wait to make them for a Sunday morning...mmm... I just love all the shows I've seen on here! Funny video and recipes that are realistic with a family. Thank you!
March 31, 2011, 3:54 pm

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