Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mountains, Orchids and Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Last Wednesday was Jason's birthday, and we went all out to celebrate! On Thursday we went to see John Mayer at the Staples Center (we had AWESOME seats), and then went to the Eastern Sierras for the weekend. Jason is a photographer who shoots landscapes (check out his site: and so we went on a quest for the perfect shot (or several of them). We started up towards Mammoth, first by Lake Crowley and then up to Mono Lake, still surrounded by snow. Gorgeous. While Jason shot the landscape, I shot Jason and his dog Indy on their many adventures.

On Day Two we stayed in the Bishop Area, shooting in the Buttermilks, a popular climbing area, then headed South to Lone Pine for the Alabama Hills and dinner with my parents who were staying at their trailer that weekend.

Sunday took us to Trona in the desert near San Bernadino. We had a wonderful time, and it was great to have some wonderful time as a couple, without work (I often work both days on the weekend) complicating things!

At breakfast on Sunday at the Alabama Hills restaurant in Lone Pine (best breakfast in the Eastern Sierras) I had a MAJOR gluten craving. After eating out all weekend (dangerous, since I'm limited in my food choices when I eat out), all I wanted for breakfast was a pastry. Or pancakes. Or the special: Cinnamon Roll French Toast with Bananas. It was AWFUL. Usually, I can remember what something would taste like and knowing how bad it would make me feel now, be okay with not having it. Sunday, though.... Oooh. That was rough. I wanted something flaky and bread-y and sweet. The only thing that kept me from breaking down was the certain knowledge that if I ate something gluten-licious, I would be so sick for two days I wouldn't be able to function.

Fast forward to today: I thought I was supposed to work at Redondo High School. Turns out, due to a kink in the crazy electronic sub-finder system that I am NOT working. This means... GLUTEN FREE CINNAMON ROLLS! My personal dream. :)

I made these twice at Christmas-time and they were delicious. Better than any cinnamon rolls except for those of Cinnabon. All others pale in comparison. :) So go ahead, bake away! And think of me when you bite into one of these delicious little pastries!

OH! And the orchid that my gardener grandfather (86 years old) gave me when I moved into my house is blooming. Welcome, Spring!

My Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls (Recipe Below):
Check out that beautiful dough! It's been rising for an hour. :)

All rolled out and ready to go into the oven!

Final Product! Maybe not perfect looking, but SO delicious!


SERVES 8 , 8 rolls



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup skim milk, warmed
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened


  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


1. Dissolve the yeast in large mixing bowl with warmed milk. Let bubble for a few minutes.

2. Add sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla to milk/yeast mixture. Stir to combine.

3. Add egg and combine thoroughly.

4. Sift together salt, potato starch, cornstarch, quinoa flour, baking soda, baking powder, and xanthan gum.

5. Slowly add flour mixture to mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

6. Remove dough from mixing bowl and place in a greased container and put in a warm place to rise for 45-60 minutes. The dough will be extremely sticky, do not worry, this is normal.

7. Preheat oven to 400°F.

8. Roll dough to 1/4" thick 13 x 13 square between 2 pieces of well floured parchment paper.

9. Remove top sheet of paper from rolled dough and spread softened butter on top of dough.

10. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough surface. Leave a 2" strip of dough uncovered at one end of square.

11. Using bottom sheet of parchment paper has an aid, roll the dough into a log. Start at the end opposite of that which you left uncovered.

12. Carefully cut into 8 equal pieces using a serrated knife. Place rolls in a greased baking dish, leaving about half an inch between rolls to allow for expansion. Put any remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture in the bottom of the dish.

13. At this point you can either bake them or allow them to rise a bit longer.

14. Bake in oven for ~18-22 minutes until tops are golden brown and delicious. Check for doneness by running a knife between rolls in the center of the dish. Dough should not easily stick to the knife.

15. While the rolls are baking, whip together frosting ingredients until soft and creamy. Spread on top of warm rolls. Enjoy!

*I froze half of the batch after baking to use for my pastry cravings later!

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