Easter has never constituted a significant blip on my holiday radar over the past few years, but this past weekend, my friend Irma hosted a small Mexican brunch and it was everything. Chilaquiles—one pan with red sauce that she deemed too tomato-y, and one with homemade tomatillo salsa that was deemed authentic and devoured by everyone—eggs, perfectly ripe avocado, salty, crumbly cojita cheese, icy palomas, and a perfectly set chocoflan.
Five of us took down nearly half the bundt cake and it was not okay (but also very, very okay).
The deeply delicious yet peaceful nature of it all reminded me of the occasions when I’ve hosted meals–Irma pulled off a stunning from-scratch brunch AND showed up a classy dress, makeup and hair. A far cry from my typical “entertaining” where I’m hopping in and out of the kitchen like a crazy in a sweaty T-shirt. I hope to grow out of that someday.
Time is money, as they say, and I invested some time that really should have been put towards, say, reading the 200+ pages for my Leading Change class, and into practicing these almost-instant chocolate cinnamon rolls, which played a lovely chocolate sidekick to Irma’s chocoflan at brunch.
While I am in principle against using microwaves excessively (ever since a power tower scare in our neighborhood, long story), I can’t deny the great value a microwave can play in, say, a time-crunched student lifestyle. I think every once in a great while can’t hurt–just make sure to stand way back from the microwave while it’s on. At least two feet. Just in case. Because moderation but also safety.
These cinnamon rolls are almost cakey soft (my favorite texture of all time); they can made more structured with an extra tablespoon of oat flour, or even cakier with less oat flour and an extra dash of cocoa powder. They’re a riff off of Kylie’s single-serving cinnamon roll which means it’s mostly healthy but still ridiculously good. They’re not too sweet—in fact, barely sweet at all, which is why you can justify a generous drizzle of glaze over the top since the gooey filling is a sweet and harmless mixture of dates and cinnamon–and chocolate chips if you’re feeling extra-special.
They’re really much simpler than the number of photos in this post might indicate, but I’m practicing my process photos, so please forgive the excess. You can make one, start-to-finish in under 15 minutes, promise.
Remember that one time you left the lid of your date container askew in the fridge and all your dates dried out? No? Just me? Well, maybe I’m alone in my inability to acquire perfectly soft and ripe dates, but just in case you have this issue too, I’ve changed up Kylie’s recipe just a bit to a) adapt the date filling to transform even the toughest of dates into a paste-appropriate filling and b) make them chocolate, clearly.
To clarify: even though two cinnamon rolls are shown in this post, the following recipe makes just one individual (substantial!) cinnamon roll.
Single-Serving Cinnamon Roll
- 2 dates chopped finely
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- chocolate chips optional
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon oat flour for a more structured, firm dough
- 1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder increase to 2 tablespoons and only use 1/3 cup oat flour for an extra soft, cakey texture
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- scant 3 tablespoons mashed banana
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted
- For a glaze:
- powdered sugar yogurt, and/or milk
- Add enough water to cover the chopped dates in a small microwavable dish. Add the baking soda and microwave for 40 seconds. Set aside to cool.
- In another bowl, stir together the oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, then stir in the coconut oil and mashed banana. Flour a surface and roll dough into 2-3 long, thin ropes between your palms. Press the dough into long, thin rectangular shapes.
- Drain the date mixture and stir in cinnamon and chocolate chips, if using. Spread the date paste over the rectangles. You can either roll each rectangle into into 2-3 mini cinnamon rolls and place in a greased ramekin, or roll everything into one large roll by overlapping the ends of each rectangle (see GIF above).
- Microwave dough in a greased ramekin for about 1 minute and 15 seconds (depending on the power of your microwave; mine is pretty strong).
- To make a glaze, add about 1/4 teaspoon of water or milk to 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and stir until pourable. Adjust to desired consistency. Alternatively, you can sweeten some yogurt with sugar or maple syrup to use as a glaze.
Did you try this recipe?Tag @thepancakeprincess on Instagram!
Oh, that looks so good! I need to make this 🙂
Nora (A Clean Bake)
I’m unspeakably obsessed with this recipe, and now that you’ve made it chocolate, I think I need to take the ball and roll with it to the tune* of a grain-free version!
*yeah, I know I”m mixing metaphors. I’m just too excited about this recipe 😉
Mixing metaphors is totally a green light in my book. That’s pretty much all I did in creative writing class! 😉 I would LOVE to see a grain-free version of this! Take Kylie’s ball and keep on rollin’!
Shikha @ Shikha la mode
I love this ideaaaaaa. Student or not, I’d definitely do this cuz I’m always running around like a crazy lady. Do you think you could also bake these in ramekins or no?
PS. Can we cook soon?
YES crazy ladies unite! I definitely think so, I just didn’t test it out.
Um YES PLZ. I’ll keep you posted if I end up back in the Bay this summer!
Katie (The Muffin Myth)
Oooh, these look good! I’ve only just discovered the mug cake (where have I been?!) so I’m totally on board with some moderate microwave baking. This is going to be my breakfast on Sunday, can’t wait! And it’s nice to see that parlsöcker getting some use!
Kylie @ immaeatthat
Ohh I love all the process photos!! They’re always my favorite type of photos to look at but my least favorite to take. I’ve been in a breakfast rut (where I’m not even excited to make pancakes in the morning…it’s so weird)…so I’m gonna have to try these SOON. And I love your double rolling technique where you roll up one strip and then roll the other strip around the rolled up roll (did that make sense?)…brilliant!
Omg I can confidently say I want to ~date~ these more than 97% of the male population. Can’t wait to make them!
Katie, I love you. Puns are the way to my heart–thank you for the sweet comment! <333
betty | le jus d'orange
OMG. These rolls!!! Erika, these are just beautiful. And that gif – you and Alana are making my mind dance, in the best possible way! I love that these are single serving. If I did more of these I’d probably go to the gym less…
OMG, ingenious! I will have to try this ASAP.
I am reluctant to use the microwave too!!l My uncle’s house caught on fire because his microwave decided to stage an uprising.
I am all about the single servings right now (I’m doing long-distance with my boyfriend)! Cinnamon rolls are my weakness…you can get me to do pretty much anything if cinnamon rolls are involved. Putting this recipe in my virtual pocket and saving it for a rainy day!
Sarah @ SnixyKitchen
Ha – I’m also never done with dinner when hosting – hopping in and out of the kitchen in my tshirt! These cinnamon rolls sound crazy good! I love that they come together quickly because sometimes as a student you JUST DON’T HAVE TIME, but you MUST HAVE DESSERT (or breakfast – a cinnamon roll counts as breakfast, right?) NOW! Love all the process shots!
cool vine/video. great idea!
Thanks Auntie Carol 🙂
Oh man, this looks amazing and those shots are off the hook! (That gif!) I would like to shove that in my face right now. And I’m the QUEEN of leaving the lid off the dates, so thanks for looking out for people like me. 🙂
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
GIRRRRL-this is gorgeous. Delicious delicious delicious-and you’re sooo creative with how you made them so healthy!
Karen @ The Food Charlatan
I’m loving this one Erika! Gorgeous photos! Never stop GIFing! 🙂
Looks so beautiful and delicious!
Michelle @ Hummingbird High
I’m so intrigued by this recipe — 15 minutes, no bake, and single serving??? That’s like the trifecta when satisfying a craving.
I love your process pics! That gif is <3
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
I love that I could make this right now….like ASAP!!!! So excited to dive in.
Sara @ Cake Over Steak
Very cool! The more I learn about you, the more I think we’re the same person. I’m the same way where I feel like a total spaz when I host a from-scratch meal at my apartment (I’m working on this one), and I also like to stand at least 2 feet away from the microwave JUST IN CASE. I actually made a little comic about my fear of microwaves in college. I’m just convinced that the whole thing will explode and I will be impaled with microwave shrapnel.
15 minutes? No oven? I’m sold! These look crazy good!
PS i’m so with you on the hostess attire and general craziness. One day I’ll learn how to look polished at the same time as entertaining people…
Wow that is so cool! Love this idea!