Cinnamon Rolls

This is a great rainy day project for kids of all ages. It’s a bit involved, with a number of steps, but none are complicated or difficult. Under adult supervision, kids are able to participate in nearly every step along the way. Rolling out the dough and sprinkling the filling are especially fun for little hands. And the results—warm, delectable cinnamon rolls that are far more wholesome than the ones from the mall or the supermarket—make the whole exercise worthwhile.

Makes: 1 dozen


  • 1/4 cup light brown or natural granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  • 2 cups unbleached white flour or whole wheat
    pastry flour, or half of each
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil


  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine (such as Earth Balance), melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Combine the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda and stir together. Make a well in the center; add the applesauce and oil and stir together to make a firm dough.

Flour a large cutting board or other smooth work surface. Turn the dough out onto it and knead a few times. Add additional flour to the dough until it loses its stickiness.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 9 by 12 inches, to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch all over. Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Starting with one long end of the dough, roll it snugly, like a jelly roll.

With a sharp knife, cut the dough roll crosswise into 12 even sections. Arrange the rolls about 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon any filling that falls out back onto the tops of the rolls.

Combine the ingredients for the topping in a small saucepan or skillet and heat gently until the margarine is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Using a tablespoon, distribute the topping evenly over the buns.

Bake for 15 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, transfer to a large platter to cool. Serve warm.



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