Almond Meal Cinnamon Buns with Condensed Coconut Milk

I just…I just don’t know what to say.

Initially, I was more than a little dubious about this recipe. Almond meal cinnamon buns? Come on…

I’m not easily offended by healthy makeovers of traditional recipes (I’m thinking my vegan brownie love puddings vs chocolate pudding - I'm cool with that), but sometimes times I just need the type of recipe my great grandmother, Nana Brown, would recognise, in all its floured, sugared, yeasted glory. And I expected these almond meal cinnamon buns to offend such sensibilities. Classic cinnamon buns are an art form - warm, soft and goey dough, lavished with melting and sweet cinnamon. They are quite literally the stuff dreams are made of.

However the yeasting and rising time required to produce these beauties means I do not make them frequently. Perhaps if I did, they might lose some of their scrolling, swirling charm…perhaps. Regardless, my brunch brain generally does not kick into gear early enough to allow for pull-apart cinnamon buns of a morning. Hence my eagerness to try this rather instant cinnamon bun version. What did I have to lose? I had a bag of almond meal, a few dates and a craving for sweet buns. I was keen. So I did it.

And I just…I just don’t know what to say.

They’re freakin’ awesome, that’s what I’ll say. These darling, slightly ugly little buns are surprisingly doughy and satisfying. They’re light, they're gentle, they’re lovely. The filling is bonkers scrumptious, I made sure to save some for a porridge topping during the week. I also made a little condensed coconut milk to drizzle on top of the buns, and though this addition is not necessary, we found it to be outrageously yummy. I shall be making it again. I shall be making both of these recipes again. And I even think Nana Brown would approve.

Ben and I were decidedly ungracious when it came to deciding who got the last one. We split it. I gave myself the bigger half. I just…

Almond Meal cinnamon buns.jpg

Almond Meal Cinnamon Buns with Condensed Coconut Milk

Recipe only slightly adapted from the super smart George Eats'Almond Meal Cinnamon Buns

Makes 5 buns (I doubled the recipe for the above pictures)

Bun Ingredients
1 & 1/4 cup Almond Meal
1/4 cup Spelt Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Egg, lightly whisked
2 & 1/2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (it its liquid state)
1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
A pinch of Sea Salt

Filling Ingredients
80g pitted fresh Medjool Dates (~5 dates)
1/2 cup Coconut Milk
1/2 cup crushed Walnuts
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 tablespoon ground Cinnamon (add more (yes, even more!) if you desire a stronger cinnamon flavour)
1/2 teaspoon ground green Cardamom

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Add the almond meal, spelt flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine with a wooden spoon. Shape into a ball and then place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, then leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
3. Boil your kettle then pour some water over the dates in a small bowl (just enough to cover). Leave for a couple of minutes until soft, then drain. Add the soaked, drained dates to a food processor along with the coconut milk, then blitz until it turns into a paste. Pour into a bowl then stir through the honey, cinnamon and cardamom.
4. Place the chilled bun dough between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rough rectangle (mine was ~40cm x 20cm, not paper thin but not too thick - just know that you're going to have to roll it up!). You can use your fingers here to patch up any uneven bits.
5. Remove the top piece of baking paper and spread the filling evenly across the dough (reserve some if you feel there's enough, as I did. Save it for a porridge topping). Sprinkle the crushed walnuts evenly over the base, then get ready to roll!
6. Starting at the shorter end of the dough and using a pastry scraper to help you lift the base, gently roll the dough over itself. Once you have a long log, cut it using a sharp knife into 5 little rolls, then place them on baking tray lined with baking paper (with the filling facing up).
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and cooked but still moist. Allow to cool for 10 minutes (an important step!), then drizzle with condensed coconut milk (see recipe below) or eat them plain. Fight over leftovers.

Blisssedout's Condensed Coconut Milk:

1 can full fat Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Honey - or sweetener of choice, i.e. maple syrup, agave... (use less if you don't want such a sweet blend)

Method: in a small sauce pan, let your coconut milk simmer. Once you see the fat dissolving, add your sweetener and bring to a gentle boil. Let it reduce by a third, watch and stir occasionally. To test if it's done, stick a spoon in and if it coats the back evenly, you can turn off your burner and let your mixture cool before setting more in the fridge. Store in a jar.

Happy Easter, friends. I hope your weekend is filled with joy. And perhaps these cinnamon buns.

Heidi xo