These Healthy Cinnamon Rolls (!!) Are The Perfect Christmas Breakfast

Photo: Otto Norin

Is there anything better than waking up Christmas morning to the smell of warm cinnamon wafting throughout your house? These make-ahead treats from healthy baking genius Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations cookbook are vegan and paleo, so people of all dietary preferences can enjoy a Christmas treat.  The protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugar stable, avoiding that inevitable 11 a.m. post-present crash—but they’re still sweet and indulgent enough to satisfy any child.  In other words?  Your Christmas breakfast is sorted.  Here’s how it’s done.  

Cinnamon Rolls

“I created this roll especially for everyone who is egg-free,” Danielle explains. She also offers nut-free substitutions (see Tidbits, below).

Makes 10 Rolls

Ingredients, Dough

  • 3 tablespoons white chia seeds
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • 1½ cups arrowroot powder
  • ¾ cup raw cashew butter
  • ¾ cup finely ground golden flaxseeds
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons palm shortening, softened
  • 1 tablespoon grain-free baking powder (see below)

Ingredients, Filling

  • ⅓ cup ghee or coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup light-colored raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups whipped cream (recipe below), chilled for at least 6 hours


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch pie plate or a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the sides of the dish.
  2. To make the dough, in a blender, blend the chia seeds and water until smooth and thick.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, or using an electric handheld beater, combine the arrowroot, cashew butter, flaxseeds, coconut flour, coconut sugar, palm shortening, and baking powder. Add the thickened chia slurry and beat on high for 30 seconds until well incorporated. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb some of the moisture, then mix again for 30 seconds. Gather the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk. Roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to a ½-inch-thick oval.
  4. To make the filling, in a small bowl, mix together the melted ghee, coconut sugar, honey, and cinnamon to make a thick paste. Spread the filling all over the rolled-out dough, then use the parchment paper to help roll the dough tightly, like a jelly roll. Gently seal the seam with your fingers, then reshape into a cylinder, if needed. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 10 equal pieces each about 1½ inches thick. Place the cinnamon rolls cut side up in the prepared dish.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden on top and baked in the center. Cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack, then spread the whipped cream over the top so it melts slightly. Serve immediately or leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours.

Make it ahead:

The dough can be made the night before and stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before rolling out. Alternatively, slightly underbake the cinnamon rolls, cool completely, then wrap tightly and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through. The whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


For a nut-free version, substitute raw tahini butter or sunflower seed butter for the cashew butter. For a nut-free glaze, use the glaze for the Lemon Lavender Bundt Cakes (from the book) but omit the lemon and lavender.

Grain-Free Baking Powder

“Most commercial baking powders contain aluminum and cornstarch,” explains Danielle. “This homemade version allows you to control the ingredients and is quick to make.”

Makes about ¾ cup


  • ½ cup cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder


Mix together the cream of tartar, baking soda, and arrowroot powder. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Whipped Cream

“Raw cacao butter gives this structure and causes it to melt in your mouth,” Danielle says. “Using expeller-pressed coconut oil here is important so the coconut flavor doesn’t overwhelm the taste.”

Makes 3 cups


  • 1 cup (about 150g) whole raw cashews
  • 1½ cups full-fat coconut milk
  • ⅓ cup melted expeller-pressed coconut oil, softened
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 ounce raw cacao butter, melted (about 3 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt


  1. Put the cashews in a bowl and cover them with water. Cover the bowl and soak for 4 hours.
  2. Drain the cashews and transfer them to a blender. Add the coconut milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend on high for 60 seconds or until very smooth. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream until it holds soft peaks when the beaters are lifted out. Serve immediately.
  4. The whipped cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; just rewhip before serving. It can be stored in the freezer, tightly sealed, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then rewhip before serving. Leftover whipped cream can be used in coffee, to frost a cake, on top of pancakes or waffles, or spread on top of scones. I also love to dip fresh fruit into it.

Based on excerpts from Against All Grain Celebrations by Danielle Walker, with the permission of Ten Speed, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2016.


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