Somewhere along my healthy eating journey I heard a concept that stuck in my head. I’m not sure who said it, Michael Pollan? Mark Bittman? but the message was this: eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself.
Sounds kind of odd, right? A health advocate condoning eating whatever junk you want? However, over time, it really started making so much sense to me. A majority of people talk about how difficult/time-consuming it is to eat healthy. However, if you apply this principle, then really, it takes a lot more time and effort to eat unhealthy.
Go ahead- think of your favorite guilty pleasure food- Oreos? French fries? Ice cream? For me, it’s potato chips and onion dip.
Now think about if you had to make it yourself in order to enjoy it. My particular scenario would mean thinly slicing potatoes, frying them in oil, salting them and letting them drain and cool. Then I’d have to slice and caramelize onions, add herbs and whip it all together.
And still, once I went through the effort, the final product would still be healthier than the store-bought variety because chances are I wouldn’t have monosodium glutamate or Yellow 5 in my pantry to add to it, which is in most popular store-bought onion dips.
Now I realize this method isn’t realistic, nor is it practical for everyday modern living, but it’s worth considering for some perspective.
And in that same vein, let’s chat cinnamon rolls!
These are real cinnamon rolls, made with butter, sugar and flour. Only a few short years back, I tried to healthify every recipe I made and while I do believe many recipes can and should be made healthier, for occasional recipes, I just want to make the original, for several reasons.
One of those reasons being that while I love that Hailey identifies and eats edamame and quinoa with ease, I don’t want to make less nutritionally-dense real foods taboo.
Like I’ve mentioned before, those foods just don’t show up as often. However, when they do, we enjoy them! I want her to know the joy of licking cinnamon and sugar off her fingers (it was just for us- I wouldn’t serve finger-full baked goods to friends!… or would I? wink).
I want her to experience the deliciousness that is a warm cinnamon roll with a hint of pumpkin, fresh out of the oven and drizzled in glaze.
And I want her to enjoy and know the process it takes to make it.
However, she’ll have to wait a couple years on the coffee. A young kid on caffeine is what nightmares are made of.
So there it is. Somehow I managed to get philosophical over cinnamon rolls. So without further adieu…
- For the dough
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 4¼ cup all purpose flour (King Arthur recommended)
- ¼ cup milk (warmed)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp yeast
- For the filling
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- (optional) raisins
- For the glaze
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1½ Tbsp milk (I used vanilla almond)
- Combine warm milk and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine pumpkin, eggs, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in large mixing bowl. pour in the milk and yeast combination. Using the beater attachment, mix on low until thoroughly combined.
- Switch to dough hook attachment and mix of medium to low, adding ½ cup of flour at a time until fully incorporated.
- *The above steps can also be done by hand using plenty of elbow grease.
- Cover and let it rise in a warm spot for 1½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle on a clean surface that is coated with flour until about ¼ inch thick.
- Sprinkle filling over the dough and spread out evenly.
- Roll the dough into a spiral loaf and slice into 12 even slices.
- Place uncooked rolls in a greased 9x13 pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
- As the rolls cool for 5-10 minutes, mix up the glaze by melting together the butter and milk, then whisking it with the confectioner’s sugar.
- Drizzle the cinnamon rolls with the glaze and serve warm.
Do you try to healthify recipes?
Are there any that you leave as they are?
What is your favorite ‘junk’ food?