Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls (6m+)

I’ve been putting off this post for a while because I am not super confident in my baking. When I make things for my family, they’re (usually) delicious, the kids (usually) love them, and they (usually) look great. 

But sometimes they don’t. So what if I share something, you spend hours trying to replicate it, and then it comes up… lacking? With something like a chili, you can add a little extra seasoning and voila, it’s fixed! With baking, sometimes at the end, it’s just not that great, and there’s only so much butter or icing you can slather on there to help. 

I tried this recipe (based off this cinnamon roll recipe I’d shared in the past) with some modifications. Once the first batch came out, it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it, and I made a few tiny changes. I tried the new re-modified recipe, and we liked it much better! So that’s what I’m sharing here.

IMPORTANT: This recipe is NOT a traditionally gooey and overly sweet cinnamon roll because it’s got almost no processed sugar at all (there’s a little maple syrup, which can be subbed out!). If you want yours to be sweeter in the end, simply ice some of them with a traditional cream cheese (or milk) + powdered sugar + vanilla extract sort of icing (or glaze). I stuck with the banana flavor all the way through.

NOTE: Using yellow bananas will make this more banana-y BUT less sweet. Using brown or spotty bananas will make this more sweet but less banana-y. Maybe using 2 yellow and 2 brown would be banana-y AND sweet. I’ve only done these with yellow ones, so mine weren’t terribly sweet. If I’d had spotty ones, I think I would do half and half!

NOTE #2: You can make these and freeze them. I wanted to freeze them for later so that if I wanted just 3-4 one morning, I could pull out that many, reheat them, then ice them. I did something called flash freezing. Once they were cooled, I separated them on a plate and froze them about 20 minutes. Then I transferred them to a silicone bag (any freezer safe container will be fine). That way, they won’t stick to each other, and I can pull out as many as I want. To reheat, just pop them in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes. You could use the microwave’s defrost option. You can ice them and then freeze them or ice them afterward. The icing below should be fine in the fridge for a week or so!

BANANA BREAD CINNAMON ROLLS
6 months and up (see my notes below the recipe)

INGREDIENTS

for the dough

  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110-115F)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  • 5 tbsp real butter
  • 1 banana, pureed
  • pinch of salt*
  • 1 egg (substitutes: 1 tbsp nut butter, flax or chia seed egg)
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour

*SALT?! I don’t know why, but salt is used in basically all baking. I’m a novice, but I just know salt is in every dough I’ve ever made. It’s such a tiny amount for such a big batch that it’s nothing to worry about. You can leave it out, and I’m sure it will be fine, though.

for the filling

  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 1 banana, pureed
  • 1 tbsp nut butter of choice
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (here’s some interesting info on “real” cinnamon)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg 

for the icing

  • 1/2 package soft cream cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/2 stick butter softened (4 tbsp)
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)

DIRECTIONS

for the dough

  1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes. You may not see a lot of foam since it’s not a lot of water. That’s okay.
  2. While that’s happening, place the milk, butter, banana, and salt in a pot on the stove on low heat. Once the butter is melted, you can remove the pot from the heat and beat in the 1 egg.
  3. Add that mixture to the yeast+water and use a fork or wooden spoon to combine.
  4. Add in the flour! Mix in a little at a time. I did 2 cups, then 1, then 1/2, then another 1/2. The amount will vary slightly, depending on the size of your banana! If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can use it. I do not have one, so I just use my hands to combine it. 
  5. Use your hands to knead the dough. You can do this on a floured surface or in the bowl if it’s big enough. If you punch it, it should feel like someone’s arm. 😀
  6. Cover with a towel, set in a warm place, and leave it alone for at least 2 hours. (I turn on the “warm” setting on my oven for about 5 minutes, then turn it off, then put the bowl in.)
  7. Once it’s risen, flour a clean work surface, dump out the dough, and do your best to roll it into a rectangle. I haven’t figured out the trick to rolling something into the shape I want. 

for the filling

  1. Melt the butter and spread it onto the dough. Make sure to spread the filling all the way to the edges!
  2. In a bowl, combine the banana puree, nut butter, and maple syrup. Spread that on top of the melted butter. You can mix the butter in with this step if you want, but it makes it sort of clumpy. It isn’t bad, though, if you want to save yourself a few minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg on all of this. You can combine them then sprinkle or just do them separately if you feel like you can do it evenly.
  4. Roll the dough up. Some of the filling will ooze out, so try not to make it TOO tight. You don’t want to lose all your filling!
  5. Cut the dough with a sharp knife or use a piece of string to cut the dough into 1-1.5 inch pieces. 
  6. Place the rolls into a baking dish. COVER (I know, again!) and let rise again in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake them for about 18-20 minutes until they don’t look doughy anymore.

for the icing

  1. Stick all the ingredients in a blender! 
  2. Glaze the rolls while warm. 
  3. If you want to make a sweeter version, just swap the banana for powdered sugar. 🙂

BEGINNER NOTES!

  • This is a treat! Even if it has no processed sugar, it’s still a treat food. I wouldn’t give a baby a whole bunch of these. Make a batch then freeze some for later!
  • These take a while. There are a handful of “quick” cinnamon roll recipes out there that use instant yeast and/or baking powder, but I haven’t tried my own version of those. I should, though, because sometimes you can’t wait around all day for dough to rise!
  • These have a lot of potential allergens. If you have tried dairy, grains, and eggs already, these should be fine. YES it’s possible for your baby to be allergic to yeast or bananas or nutmeg or any of the other ingredients, but my main focus is the 10-ish common allergens.
  • SUBSTITUTIONS: The butter can be subbed for any dairy-free butter substitute. The egg can be subbed with nut butter or a flax or chia seed egg. The nut butter can be subbed for a seed butter. As for gluten, I have not tried this with a gluten-free flour, but I imagine they will be fine. They will not rise as well, though I have heard good things about Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free baking flour. I’ve only made these with all purpose white flour. 

If you try these I’d love to know how they turn out. Tag me on Instagram @blwideas or comment here or shoot me an email (blwideas@gmail) or message me on Snapchat (also @blwideas).