Gluten-free Cinnamon Rolls

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Fill your kitchen with the irresistible smell of melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and see how fast the family gathers. When I took some next door, hot from the oven, both kids came running downstairs the second they smelled them and grabbed a plateful. Walnuts and currants round out the filling in this tender pastry that no one will guess is gluten-free.

And before you point out that currants aren’t on the low FODMAP diet, check out the new iPhone Low FODMAP app that Monash University recently released. It provides up-to-date, accurate information about foods that trigger IBS symptoms. The app is particularly helpful in a couple of ways. One, it gives the amount in a serving by weight, or volume measurement in some cases, so that you don’t have to guess what is meant. Even better, it tells you whether or not a food that is normally considered unsafe to eat, such as currants, may be safely eaten in a smaller portion.

The original recipe called for raisins, but even in a smaller serving, raisins still contain too many oligo-fructans. When I checked currants, though, I discovered that a half serving is low in FODMAPs and is generally tolerated by most individuals with IBS and fructose malabsorption. A half serving is 1 tablespoon (15 ml). My version of the cinnamon roll recipe uses 1/3 cup (5.66 tablespoons) of currants, which equals less than 1 1/2 teaspoons per roll. That means you can eat two rolls and still be within safe limits for currants. The iPhone app is the only place I’ve found that gives actual weights and measurements for servings of food on the low FODMAP diet, which is extremely useful.

Green, orange and red stoplights are used to categorize foods according to their level of safe consumption. It includes a one week trial designed to help you record your dietary intake when you begin the Low FODMAP diet, as well as some recipes and a shopping list. The food list is more complete than the booklet published by Monash, but neither one has as much information as Dr. Sue Shepherd and Dr. Peter Gibson’s new book, The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, which I will be reviewing in my next post.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, or you’re lactose-intolerant, use soured milk instead. Add one tablespoon (15 ml) white vinegar to the bottom of the measuring cup and fill to the top with regular or lactose-free milk. Stir and proceed with the recipe.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 (2.5 inch/6.25 cm) rolls, adapted from Fine Cooking

1/3 cup (80 ml) packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) currants
1/3 cup (80 ml) chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon

148 grams (1 cup or 240 ml) superfine brown or white rice flour
57 grams (1/3 cup or 80 ml) potato starch
35 grams (1/4 cup or 60 ml) tapioca flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
6 tablespoons (90 ml) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk or soured milk (regular or lactose-free), see above

Additional potato starch, as needed to roll out the dough
2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted, unsalted butter
12 inch (30 cm) piece of dental floss

Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425º F (218º C). Add the brown sugar, currants, walnuts and cinnamon to a small bowl and mix with your fingers until thoroughly combined.

In a large bowl, add the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then whisk together. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the flour until it looks like cornmeal with a few larger bits of butter scattered through-out. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the buttermilk. Mix until the flour is moistened, then use your hands to knead the dough 10 to 12 times. Place a 12 inch (30 cm) square of foil on the table and scatter a tablespoon of potato starch on top. Scrape the dough onto the foil and knead until a pliable dough forms, sprinkling with potato starch to keep it from sticking. Lift the dough and dust the foil with more potato starch, then gently pat the dough into a 5 inch (12.5 cm) square. Dust the top with potato starch and use a rolling-pin to roll the dough into a 12 inch (30 cm) square. If the dough cracks, fold it up and knead it a few more times before rolling it out again. You should see streaks of butter and the surface should be smooth. Unlike wheat pastry, you can’t over knead a gluten-free dough.

Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Brush the rolled out dough with the melted butter and evenly spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) bare space at the top. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough into a round cylinder, grasping the edge of the foil to guide the dough into place. Peel back the foil and continue rolling up the dough, gently squeezing the dough back together if it breaks.  End with the dough seam side down. Use a knife and ruler to mark score lines on top of the roll, so that it’s divided into 12 pieces, then slide the dental floss under the dough and line up the ends of the floss with the first mark. Cross the ends and pull tightly until the floss slices through the dough. You can use a serrated knife, but the floss makes neater slices. Carefully place each roll on the parchment lined baking sheet before cutting the next slice. Space the slices 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.

Bake the rolls until golden-brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Move the rolls to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving.