Throughout my childhood, my family rarely went to the Saturday Farmer’s Market in my hometown. Located on a tiny street in our minuscule downtown, people always packed themselves in like sardines on the walkways and between the vendor booths. Plus parking was practically nonexistent, and the only guaranteed open spaces were at the high school almost a mile away.
But on one special occasion, my mom dropped me off to spend the morning with my godmother. As a nutritionist, she set up an “Ask the Dietitian” booth partway down the street. The organizers assigned her the spot across from the warm baked cookies and two stands away from the freshly popped kettlecorn.
Oops… She probably would’ve gotten more business next to the fruit smoothie stand!
She brought along all sorts of pamphlets and fliers, spreading them out over the tabletop and holding them in place with interesting rocks she collected on our summer camping trips. They advertized classes and workshops she offered, as well as her regular office visits. A few people stopped by, usually after petting the adorable shelter dogs at the end of the street!
Always prepared, my godmother packed small bags of fresh fruit and nuts to snack on during her 5-hour stint. Although I rarely ate nuts back then (except for peanuts!), I was—and still am—a fruit monster, so the day I sat with her, she handed me a few cherries to nibble on.
Since my brother and I generally stuck to apples, bananas, and oranges—your typical childhood fruits—I had never tried fresh cherries before, so I plucked off the stem, popped it into my mouth, and bit down…
…only to discover that a huge pit lay in the center. Nobody warned me about that!
So I slowly nibbled at the flesh around it, but I had no idea what to do with the pit afterward. I couldn’t see a public trashcan nearby, and since I didn’t want to be rude and simply drop it on the ground, I tucked it into my cheek and politely refused any more, desperately trying to figure out what to do with that huge seed from the cherry’s center.
After about 10 minutes, my godmother looked over at me with a slightly bemused expression on her face. “Do you still have the cherry pit?” she asked. I nodded, slightly embarrassed. She offered her hand, saying, “Here, spit.”
I gave her a confused look, and she explained, “I do this with my dog all the time—it’s okay!” So I released the pit into her hand, and she dropped it into a trashcan she had hidden underneath her booth to avoid random passersby from filling it up with their own candy wrappers.
When I ran past families biking to the Farmer’s Market last weekend in my current town, that memory resurfaced, and I started craving cherries as much as the Cookie Monster craves his chocolate chip treats! I bought a large bag that afternoon, and when my supply started dwindling partway through the week, I decided to bake with the rest.
The result? These Overnight Whole Wheat Cherry Almond Rolls. Yes, that’s right—all of the prep happens the night before, so they’re practically ready to eat as soon as you wake up! Gorgeous swirls of juicy red cherries fill each tender roll, and with their sweet summery taste, nobody will guess they’re secretly skinny!
I know baking with yeast can be intimidating, but do NOT be afraid! I started helping my dad make yeast breads as a 6-year-old, and if I could bake bread that young, then I know you can handle it too.
To start the dough, we’ll mix together warm milk, sweetener, melted coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. I used Silk Almond Milk Protein + Fiber to add a subtle hint of almond flavor in the dough. This dairy-free milk is an easy and healthy way to sneak in extra fiber and protein into your diet, and if you visit Silk’s Facebook Page, they’re offering a coupon for a discount on their products!
You want the liquids to be warm, about the temperature of hot bathwater. I rarely use a thermometer; if I can stick my picky finger into the liquids and it feels hot but not scalding, then it’s just right. If it’s too hot, you’ll kill the yeast!
However, I noticed that the yeast didn’t froth as much with the melted coconut oil as it typically does with butter, canola or vegetable oil. As long as your yeast is within its expiration date, you should be fine—even if it doesn’t fluff and proof like normal!
Once you’ve mixed in the whole wheat flour, turn it out onto a floured surface to knead a little bit. It doesn’t need much: just enough so that it springs back when you gently press your index finger into it. Then let the dough rest for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.
You want to dice your cherries fairly small, about the size of chocolate chips. Larger chunks will cause tears and break through the bread dough. I added almond extract to the filling to bring out the almond flavor in the dough and because it’s my favorite baking extract flavor. I can never get enough!
After you’ve rolled the filling inside the dough and sliced it into rounds, cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight. About 30 minutes before preheating the oven, pull the pan out of the fridge. It won’t warm up all the way to room temperature, but the oven works magic and makes the rolls puff up while baking so they spread out into each other, similar to regular cinnamon rolls.
Too impatient to wait for them too cool all the way, I tore into one of these clean-eating Overnight Whole Wheat Cherry Almond Rolls straight out of the pan, barely 10 minutes after pulling them from the oven. I pulled off pieces like a little kid, unwrapping the tender dough to reveal the soft fruit inside, and popping them into my mouth almost as fast as I could chew. Pure bliss!
These healthy sweet rolls are perfect for family brunch affairs, serving to weekend guests, or even a quickly weekday breakfast. But just be warned… You might not want to share any. I certainly didn’t!
If you like this recipe, then be sure to follow my Healthy Breakfast board on Pinterest!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions, text, images and recipe are all mine.