Deliciously Gooey Molasses Cinnamon Buns with Step by Step Guide

I put out a request a little while ago for a challenge.  Some great ideas came up–and the one I picked from Vivi over at  She suggested cinnamon buns!  Ever since I started working with dates a lot, I had wanted to make cinnamon buns…what stopped me was probably time, and the fact that I hadn’t yet figured out a fluffy healthy dough recipe yet.  This was the push I needed!  The result was soooo yummy and gooey and wonderful.  The recipe takes a little time, but it does make lots of buns! Here’s what it looks like when you slice it in half:

I based my recipe very very loosely off of this one, from  More than half of my ingredients are probably different.  What helped was some proportions, and significant rising time. I’m a little impatient with rising time, so it always helps to get a little reminder from a seasoned blogger on what true patience really is!

In true Cravings Gone Clean fashion, I couldn’t just go for a a classic cinnamon bun. I had to mix things up.  One thing I never liked about most traditional cinnamon buns was the plain-ness, and white flour dough nature of the dough.  I went for full flavor by using molasses in the dough.  I’ve also pulled this off without any refined sugar or butter!  Don’t worry…it tastes like there is plenty 🙂  I’ve even snuck  some fruit in.  Here we go!

Deliciously Gooey Molasses Cinnamon Buns with Step by Step Guide
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • Dough ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ⅙ cup molasses
  • 1 t salt
  • pinch baking soda
  • pinch baking powder
  • 2 and ¼ cups flour (I used spelt)+ more for rolling
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 T ginger (fresh pelled minced)
  • Filling ingredients:
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 cup dry pitted dates
  • 2 T ginger (fresh minced)
  • 4 T cinnamon
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  1. heat milk, coconut oil and molasses in a pot, just to warm and melt together, but do not boil
  2. When it's warm (but not hot) remove from heat, add in the yeast, stir, cover, and set aside (allow it to rise for a 5-10 minutes)
  3. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in 2 cups of flour, and mix gently. Cover with tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  4. While it's rising, work on your filling!
  5. Fill a glass 2 cup measuring cup with dates (make sure to pack them a little bit), add 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes
  6. Meanwhile...
  7. In a bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients for dough, and set aside
  8. Peel and Mash bananas
  9. back to those dates!
  10. Drain the dates, keeping 1 cup of the water, tossing the other cup of water
  11. In a medium saucepan, combine dates + 1 cup date water, mashed bananas, and remaining ingredients for filling
  12. simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  13. set aside and allow to cool
  14. go catch up on your blog reading while dough continues to rise, or set up a pastry mat, some flour, and the coconut
  15. When the dough has risen:
  16. add bowl of remaining dough ingredients to the dough, kneed, punching, really get in there and relieve some stress! Divide dough into two balls, and cover again, letting it sit for an additional 15 minutes.
  17. Now it's time to roll!
  18. on a floured surface, start with one of your balls...and roll it out into a rough rectangular shape (if you go too thin you'll lose the visual style or definition of the swirl, but it will be delicious and melted together...that's what I did!)
  19. Spread with filling mixture
  20. Sprinkle with Coconut
  21. Roll from the narrow side
  22. Cut into 2.5" sections, place on baking sheet cut side down
  23. Let rest for 45 minutes in a warm place, covered
  24. Bake 25 minutes at 370
Please allow for rising time on top of prep and cook time!

I used a big scooper to put the topping on, and then followed with a spatula to smooth it out, and make sure it covered the whole surface:

Now it’s time to sprinkle with coconut!  (or chopped nuts, if you’d like to change it up!)

Now it’s time to roll it up!  Start at the more narrow end, and gently roll.  Be careful not to push too hard, as you want the filling to stay inside.

Next step is cutting the roll into buns.  Cut each log into 6 buns.  Be gentle, with this step.  For me, this is where things went a little aesthetically awry.  It didn’t affect the taste…but I’m thinking it might be good to do 2 things differently:  roll the dough less thin (=more structural integrity), and chill the dough after rolling it into the log (even more structural integritry!)…well, maybe next time!

Arrange them on a cookie sheet, with some space.  Repeat with the other ball of dough. For the last time, cover with a tea towel, and let rise again for another 30-45 minutes!
You see, the shape is a little funny…not that regular swirl definition on the top.  Here’s one, ready to bake:

After it’s risen, bake at 370 for 25 minutes.Here’s one that’s baked.  I know it’s not the prettiest…but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a tasty cinnamon bun with a great personality.

Now, I’m not one for icing, and I had a little bit of extra filling, which is the perfect use for topping!  Also, when you put the topping on, nobody knows that your swirl isn’t perfect 😉

And it all melts together for a melty gooey treat (or breakfast…to be honest).

If you cut it in half, you CAN reclaim a swirl.  See!  If the dough was white it would be more pronounced, but hey, then you’d have boring white dough!

Enjoy!  What’s your favorite way to eat a cinnamon bun?  I like to unravel mine..but my fingers were too sticky to take a picture while that was happening.The perks:

      • delicious, gooey, wonderful
      • labour intensive, but you will give yourself a seriously big pat on the back when you’re done
      • vegan
      • no refined sugar
      • medicinal dose of cinnamon (awesome for metabolism!)
      • high fiber
Lauren Breuer

Author Lauren Breuer

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • AMAZING !!!! I totally unravel my cinnamon rolls too! mmmmm … I think I’ll have to make these like – RIGHT NOW!

  • Wow, these look incredible! Especially that filling, Yum!!

  • Lana says:

    These look fantastic! Is there something I could use in place of the bananas in the filling? I LOVE bananas, but my sister hates them in baked things. 🙁

  • Thanks for the complement, Lana! To be honest, I’ve used bananas more for sweetness, and I don’t think you taste them at all (I don’t think your sister would know)…the cinnamon and molasses are so flavorful. But, if you don’t want to risk it, you could use applesauce instead. Just add a spoon or two of flour to thicken it up. I think it would be roughly 1 cup and maybe 1/3 of applesauce. Let me know how it goes!

  • Kirsty Schultz says:

    Do you think I could cut the coconut oil in half for the dough and replace with apple sauce? They look delicious!

    • Hi Kirsty! If it was a cake I’d say for sure on the substitution, but since you need to be able to roll it, I’m just a little wary. It might be too sticky without the full amount of coconut oil. If you try it, do let me know how it goes!

  • Lana says:

    WELL, the first time I tried them they failed spectacularly (my yeast was dead…), but today they worked magnificently! These are DELICIOUS! I did change a couple of things, just with the filling – I just used date puree, and then sprinkled coconut and cinnamon on top of it, because I kind of sort of fell in love with the date puree when I made it, and couldn’t bear to put anything else in it.

    I’m envisioning a chocolate version wherein you replace the cinnamon in the dough with cocoa powder, and either just have plain date with coconut as the filling, or have a nut butter maybe? or maybe a homemade chocolate nut butter?

    Oh, and I omitted the ginger, because I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered grating it. LOL.

    One question, though: do you think homemade coconut butter would work in place of the coconut oil in the dough? I’ve just run out of coconut OIL, but have plenty of the homemade stuff. Or, could I use another oil, like avocado or grapeseed or something, do you think?

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Lana, thanks for trying it out, and twice! I’m so glad it worked the second time…There’s definitely nothing wrong with falling in love with the plain date paste and leaving it at that 🙂

    I love your ideas for other flavors! I definitely want to give one of those a try, especially the homemade chocolate nut butter…that’s an idea to drool over!

    I’m not sure about the coconut butter idea. I think I would go with another oil instead, because it needs the liquidy-ness. Just make sure that’s it’s a heat stable oil. Let me know how the variations go!

    • Lana says:

      Yeah, I honestly think it WAS just that my yeast was too old, because it all worked like a charm the second time. Since then, actually, I’ve been having the date paste with oatmeal, on toast. It’s so good, and now I’ve run out. Oh well, it’s to the market with me tomorrow anyway – we’re out of peanut butter, too! (Not an acceptable state in this house.)

      I turned a bit of our peanut butter last time into chocolate peanut butter, just by adding cocoa to it – I love dark chocolate, so the bitterness was fine with me, but for someone like my sister who loves milk chocolate, I think it’d need sugar. The other one I LOVE is CCK’s homemade nutella; when I make it for my sister it’s very sweet, but I want to make it for myself one day with just hazelnuts and cocoa.

      Okay, that makes sense. I might use canola or maybe even avocado, or a mix, or something. Coconut oil is so expensive, that’s all. 🙁 (The homemade coconut butter was great to top the cinnamon rolls with, though!)

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