For our winter trip during my senior year of high school, our band director signed us up to participate in a marching band field show competition hosted by a smaller town in the Santa Barbara area. For the first night, he booked us rooms at a sprawling hotel right on the coast near one of his favorite golf courses.
Before we left, he mentioned how a little family-owned bakery just a mile down the road from our hotel sold the best cinnamon rolls he had ever tasted in his life. At over sixty years old, we completely trusted his judgment, so even though we returned to the hotel close to midnight after the competition, my friends and I still set our alarms to ring bright and early on Sunday morning.
After pulling on clothes and packing our suitcases, we headed down to the beach right outside the hotel’s back steps and walked a mile south, the warm sand squishing underneath our bare feet and between our toes. When we spotted the swing set and alley that led out to the beach next to the bakery, the two landmarks our band director told us to watch for, we turned left, slipped our sandals back on, and joined the queue of people snaking out through the front door and partway down the sidewalk.
Once we entered the shop, we scanned the rows and rows of cinnamon rolls displayed in the glass cases, watching as bakers pulled oversized pans of fresh ones out of the ovens in the back to replenish the dwindling supply. Those pastries sold faster than any breakfast treats I’ve ever seen!
The menu boasted their award-winning plain and cream cheese glazed cinnamon rolls as their most popular options, but they also offered ones topped with chocolate glaze, maple glaze, coffee glaze, blueberry glaze, and even orange-flavored cinnamon rolls with orange or cream cheese glaze. So many options!
I ended up selecting a plain one with no glaze (I’m actually not a big glaze or frosting fan!), and I held the white paper bag tightly in my hand as we dashed back up the beach to load our luggage onto the buses before driving back home. When I peered inside to take my first bite, I gasped…
That cinnamon roll was almost as big as my face!
And our band director was right… It was the best cinnamon roll I had ever eaten! (Well, at least up to that point in my life!)
Warm, gooey, almost caramel-like swirls of spiced filling surrounded by light, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth dough… Supremely tender, supremely buttery, supremely sweet, and supremely satisfying!
When I stopped by the grocery store last week, I spotted cans of refrigerated cinnamon roll dough as I browsed through the dairy aisles, and as I glanced over, I noticed one set of cans prominently displayed and labeled as orange-flavored cinnamon rolls with orange icing, just like the ones at that little family-owner shop many years before. I left the store-bought cans untouched, but I headed straight for the produce section…
And after picking out a few oranges, I baked my own homemade batch instead: these Healthy Orange Cinnamon Rolls! With their mesmerizing gooey cinnamon swirls and tender citrus-flavored dough, they taste just as delicious as the ones from that small coastal bakery.
Yet unlike those original ones, and also unlike the store-bought canned cinnamon roll dough, these healthy homemade orange cinnamon rolls contain no refined flour or sugar (and no eggs either!). Plus they’re just 109 calories!
Continue reading & see the rest! ›› Healthy Orange Cinnamon Rolls