During my high school marching band days, our director always organized a trip to Southern California during December, usually with Disneyland and a parade down Main Street as our final destination. However, my senior year, we stopped by Arroyo Grande on our way down (the director’s hometown) for a quick field show competition too.
Before we left, he announced in class that we all needed to try the best cinnamon rolls in town, from a small store called Old West Cinnamon Rolls. While describing the treats, he held up his thumbs and index fingers fairly far apart in a large circle—practically the size of my head—to demonstrate their diameter. He advertised them so well than all 200 of us set our alarm clocks an hour early to make time to visit the shop!
My two best friends and I wandered over from our Best Western hotel room, just a mile away. But with both places just a few steps from the beach, we ignored the sidewalks, kicked off our flip flops, and walked barefoot on the sand to get there instead.
Upon arriving, we joined the long ling of band kids stretching out the door, and when we reached the register, we quickly ordered their classic cinnamon rolls. My friends asked for theirs with cream cheese icing, but I requested mine plain (I’ve never been a big cinnamon roll frosting fan!), and we all asked for boxes to go so we could nibble on them as we strolled back to the hotel.
By the time we clambered onto the buses, I had barely finished half and had to set aside the rest for dessert later that night. The cinnamon roll was so sweet, so buttery, so tender… So perfect! Well, minus the small mid-morning sugar crash…
When that memory recently resurfaced, I decided to create a new sweet roll recipe, although I wanted mine to be slightly smaller, much healthier, and one that could actually count as breakfast—not just dessert!
After a little tinkering, I came up with these Overnight Whole Wheat Blueberry Rolls. With their mesmerizing spirals of pretty purple berries nestled among the tender maple-flavored dough, every bite will bring a big smile to your lips and linger on your tongue. Plus there’s more to be happy about: these rolls are low fat, low calorie, vegan, and completely clean-eating. Yes, they contain NO butter, refined flour or refined sugar!
If you scroll down and skim through the directions, they’ll probably look pretty long and complicated, but I promise these are the easiest sweet rolls you’ll ever make! I was just extremely thorough when typing out the directions to ensure they’d be fail-proof for you. So don’t be scared!
Just like the start of your typical cinnamon roll recipes, give the yeast a nice warm bath in the wet ingredients and let it create its own bubbles. (Or to use technical terms, “Proof the yeast.”) If you use coconut oil, it won’t foam as much as normal, but that’s okay! As long as you see some froth around the edges, your yeast is fine.
Note: If you usually chill your maple syrup in the fridge, wait to add it in until after the yeast proofs. Otherwise, the maple syrup will re-solidify the melted coconut oil and really slow down the proofing process.
After mixing in the whole wheat flour and kneading the dough (see here for my detailed description of how to knead!), just let the dough ball rest for 10 minutes. This allows the gluten some time to relax before we roll it out into a rectangle.
Wait to prepare the blueberry filling until after rolling out the dough. You’ll use frozen blueberries, which means you can make these all year round, but the tiny berries rapidly thaw as their outer ice crystals melt. Waiting until the last second prevents too much purple liquid from getting all over your countertops! Then spread the blueberries in a single layer across the dough, leaving a 1” margin on the two longer edges to make rolling it up easier.
After rolling up the dough into a log from one longer edge to the other, brush a little water onto the edge you can still see, as well as the spot on the roll where it’ll touch to seal. My dough had a little too much flour on it and wouldn’t seal properly, so the water helps “rinse” it off so it’ll pinch shut.
To cut the log into the rolls, use dental floss! Wiggle a long strand under the dough log, bring the two ends upward, trade hands to cross them at the top, and gently pull. The floss will slice through the dough and filling without squashing the rolls into misshapen rectangles like a knife would. Just try to use unflavored floss—we don’t want any fresh minty aftertaste!
Once you’ve cut all the rolls and set them in a pan, cover and chill until the next morning. When you wake up, pull out the pan to allow the rolls to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before preheating the oven. Somehow, the oven works magic and the rolls surprisingly puff up to double their size as they bake. Trust me—I made these a few times just to double check!
Pure blueberry bliss.
Soft and juicy, moist and tender, these skinny Overnight Whole Wheat Blueberry Rolls will basically knock your socks and slippers off—or at least wake you up as well as your morning cup of coffee! Their sweet fruity flavor completely masks that they’re packed with fiber and whole grains that’ll keep you full. But go ahead and reach for another anyway… These rolls are so low in calories your waistline won’t mind!
With how easy these are to bake and how addictive the maple-berry combination tastes, I just might turn into a blueberry like Violet from Willie Wonka with how many I’m planning on eating this summer!