I am fairly certain that cinnamon may be the spice equivalent of love. Think about it. When a room smells of warm cinnamon, you feel cozy and content. It evokes a sense of well-being. And eating a homemade cinnamon roll, with all its soft dough and sweet frosting, is like receiving a comforting hug from your mother. It really can’t get any better than that. The problem is that as a diabetic, these edible hugs are off-limits. At least the conventional, refined-flour-and-sugar-that-send-your-glucose-levels-soaring is off limits. But we low carbers are nothing if not resourceful and we find ways and means to get our share of sweet cinnamon love.
I’ve attempted low carb, gluten free cinnamon rolls before. They were decent, but they need some work and I have yet to get back to them. But in the meantime I have discovered what may be the perfect stand-in. And I have two fellow bloggers to thank for that. The inspiration for this recipe came from one of my newest favourite bloggers, Cassie of Bake Your Day, who just so happened to be guest posting for another of my newest favourite bloggers, Erin of Dinners, Dishes and Desserts. And the minute I saw the title “Cinnamon Roll Scones”, I wondered why the heck I had never thought of it myself. I love scones and I love cinnamon rolls, and to marry the two together is just so smart. And low carb, gluten free scones? Now that I can do!
It wasn’t hard to figure out how I wanted to make the scone base with almond flour. And although it’s traditional to use butter in scones, I went with coconut oil this time. I love butter, but I’ve found that coconut oil lends a tenderness to baked goods that I thought would be right for these scones. Cassie’s scones did not have a cream-cheese based icing, but I knew that I wanted one and that it wouldn’t be hard to make it low carb. For the cinnamon sugar filling/topping, I decided to do a mix of erythritol and a “brown sugar” sweetener I have called Ideal Sweetener Brown. It’s mostly sweetened with xylitol and maltodextrin, along with a little molasses for brown sugar flavour and colour.
The Results: Beyond wishing that these would rise a little more during baking, I was very pleased. These had all the cinnamon roll flavour in the wonderful texture of a scone, truly a match made in heaven. The cream cheese icing was rockin’ good, too. Finger-licking good, quite honestly. Interestingly, I found I liked these almost more a day AFTER they were made, which is usually not the case with baked goods. Usually fresh from the oven is the best, but these became more tender as a day or two passed. I think it may have been the coconut oil.
Regardless, I thank Cassie for her wonderful recipe and Erin for bringing it to my attention. They inspired a great new low carb treat, and I am forever grateful!
2 cups almond flour
2 tbsp granulated erythritol
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (butter may be substituted)
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 drops stevia extract
2 tbsp granulated erythritol
1 tbsp Ideal Sweetener Brown* (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp powdered erythritol
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops stevia extract
For the scones, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 325F. Whisk together almond flour, erythritol, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add in egg, coconut oil, cream, vanilla extract and stevia extract until dough comes together.
In a small bowl, whisk together filling ingredients. Sprinkle half of filling into dough and mix in, but do not fully incorporate, so that it remains streaky.
Turn out dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet and shape by hand into a rough circle, 7 or 8 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with remaining topping. Slice into 8 even wedges and separate carefully, then space evenly around the baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until scones are firm and lightly browned. Keep an eye on the bottoms to make sure they don’t burn.
Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
For the icing, beat cream cheese, butter and cream together until smooth. Beat in powdered erythritol, vanilla and stevia extracts until combined. Pipe or spread over cooled scones.
* If you don’t have any brown-sugar style sweetener, just add another tablespoon of granulated erythritol.
Serves 8. Each scone has 7g of carbs and 3g of fiber, so total NET CARBS = 4g.