These soft and fluffy bread rolls combine matcha and chocolate together, an underrated yet extremely delicious combo. They're vegan, refined sugar free, and include healthier swaps that you won't notice--adding more fiber and nutritional value!
I think I've made it clear at this point that I am obsessed with cinnamon rolls (hi Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls and Healthy Vegan Zucchini Cinnamon Rolls) but this time I wanted to change the flavor profile. So no, sorry, these are not cinnamon rolls, but they still have all the same amazing qualities: super soft, moist, and fluffy bread rolled with a sweet filling. The only difference is that there's no cinnamon...and chocolate instead!
Oh yeah, I should probably mention the best part (besides everything I already mentioned😛): the matcha!! Amazing on its own of course, but when paired with chocolate it's just something else🤩It's honestly such an underrated combo but one I keep coming back to.
I'm going to be covering quite a bit in this post: how to make these super fluffy while being high in fiber, how to make these vegan, dairy free, and refined sugar free, where to get the BEST quality matcha powder, ingredients you can substitute, and much more!
Of course, you could skip down to the recipe but I highly recommend sticking around. I've also included a pretty awesome discount code in the post, so be sure to use it before it expires! <<
If you're in a hurry, you can click here to save this on pinterest for later...that way you can always come back to it! Now let's get into the post 🙂
This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you make a purchase through them, at no additional cost to you. These funds help me keep this blog running for free! Please note that I only recommend tools that I personally use and love and I always have my reader’s best interest at heart.
Making the Dough
Making the dough is the thing that turns people away from making bread or rolls...but it's really not that complicated! The most important thing is that you're using the right ingredients, and each provides it's own necessary quality.
How to Make Super Fluffy + High Fiber Rolls
Traditionally, cinnamon/bread rolls/bread in general are made with all purpose, or white flour. This flour is refined but soft and will result in a light and fluffy texture and taste. There really is nothing else like it.
But almost EVERY health food blogger or recipe developer will tell you to use whole wheat flour, and for a good reason. It's higher in fiber, which means it keeps you fuller for longer, spikes your blood sugar less, and has a lower amount of net carbs. It's also less refined and processed than white flour. By the sound of it, whole wheat flour is a no-brainer substitute to enjoy your favorite treats while still eating healthier.
I'm guessing that the majority of you have tried this, and if you have then you know that it's not the same. I mean, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is🤷♀️ Whole wheat flour is denser and grainier than refined flour, so it does not result in the same fluffy and light texture you're hoping for.
This is why most people are making the switch to white whole wheat flour. Although it may seem like it, the "white" in the name does NOT mean that it's refined. Rather, it's made with a different variety of wheat than the traditional, giving it a lighter taste and texture with the same health benefits of regular flour. It is harder to come across, but you can find it easily online (this brand is my favorite!)
Still sounds too good to be true? Well, it kind of is. White whole wheat flour is a great substitute for regular whole wheat and you can get pretty much the exact results you're looking for when making things like muffins, brownies, or cookies. But for bread, it's a different story. Bread's purpose is to be light and fluffy, so it's really obvious when the texture isn't quite right. That's why the solution to this problem is combining all-purpose and white whole wheat flour.
This way, you're getting the fluffy texture of the white flour, plus the nutritional benefits of the whole wheat flour. And honestly? You can't even tell that the whole wheat flour is there (remember, we're using the lighter variety!). Be sure that your all-purpose flour is unbleached like this one, for obvious reasons 😉
But...using a mix of the two means that you're not getting as much fiber as if you used all whole wheat, right? Correct! And I have a solution to that problem😏
The answer is flaxseed meal! It's one of my favorite ingredients of all time, and for a good reason. In case you're not familiar, flaxseed meal is literally just flax seeds that are ground into a fine powder. They're often used as a vegan egg replacement, but the uses don't stop there! They are absolutely perfect to use in matcha chocolate rolls 🙂
Since flaxseed meal is ground up flax seeds, it'll have the same amazing health properties: high fiber, protein, healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and lots of nutrients! Pretty amazing, right? Some people even call it a superfood. And in this situation, they will add the "missing" fiber back in, as well as the truckload of health benefits that I just mentioned🤩
The reason this works instead of just adding more whole wheat flour is because of the fat content. While it may seem like a dry ingredient, flaxseed meal actually adds more moisture and doesn't dry out the dough like flour does. So you just made your bread healthier AND more delicious!🥳
And one more thing I want to mention: the type of flaxseed meal you buy makes a huge difference. I actually didn't think so at first, until I tried this brand and it really turned out so much better. It's ground much finer, and contains more moisture--just what we need.
Phew! That got a little longer than I anticipated, but I hope it cleared things up! I'll keep the next sections a little shorter 😉
Choosing the Highest Quality Matcha Powder
Matcha powder is originally from Japan, but there are many imitations and cheap versions sold around the world. Unfortunately, the difference is pretty noticeable and the cheaper ones don't taste all that great 🙁
So, I was extremely happy when I found this matcha powder—it's grown right by Mt. Fuji, Japan, and is truly authentic. The flavor is bold and high-quality and 110% worth spending a little extra money. I promise 😉
Oh yeah, you can also get 10% off your order when you use this link and my code NDELIGHTS10 (it also works on all other products from their website!). Just be sure to order before December 31, 2020 because that's when the offer expires.
There's tons of other recipes you can make with matcha powder too! Some of my favorites are Healthy Matcha Spinach Muffins, Vegan Matcha Almond Cookies, and Gluten Free Matcha Pancakes. I also love adding it to my oatmeal! I'll be posting a new matcha castella recipe in a few weeks, so stay tuned for that too👀
In addition to the incredible taste, matcha powder also offers a wide variety of health benefits. It's most known for it's high antioxidant content, especially catechins which can help prevent chronic disease. It also gives you a boost of energy from the caffeine, but without the crash that you would get from most caffeinated drinks.
The amount of powder you use depends on how strong you want it to be. For this recipe, I used 3 tablespoons, but you can easily adjust based on your preferences. 🙂
Ingredients for Vegan + Healthier Rolls
Besides the flour subs, there are plenty of other swaps to make these rolls both healthy and delicious.
Although many cinnamon roll recipes have eggs, it's very common to find eggless cinnamon/roll recipes. The harder part to making this vegan is replacing the dairy.
It's actually pretty simple! For the milk, I used oat milk—it's my favorite plant milk and the one I recommend, but you can also use almond, soy, or whatever your favorite vegan milk is.
Unsweetened applesauce is fat free, and has all the health benefits of apples (because it really is just grated apples) like fiber, potassium, and a variety of vitamins. It also adds a hint of natural sweetness—just make sure you get an unsweetened variety like this one, as many have added sugars and other weird ingredients.
Avocado oil is my favorite oil to use (apart from sesame oil, but that's more for cooking than desserts😂), for a number of reasons. First of all, it's got many health benefits similar to olive oil, like omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats. Unlike olive oil, however, avocado oil has a neutral taste and you won't be able to tell it's there.
There are other neutral oils like canola and vegetable oil, but those are usually genetically modified and chemically processed, while avocado oil is not. You can buy some here—it's a pretty good deal for the size 🙂
Instead of white refined sugar, we're using maple syrup. While yes, it's still sugar, it is better for you because it's unrefined and natural. It also contains some antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has a lower glycemic index. Make sure you are getting pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored syrup!
How to Use Yeast + Troubleshooting
Many people fear using yeast to make bread/rolls, but it's really not that complicated! Really the only thing you have to pay attention to is the temperature of the milk.
A lot of people use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the milk/water is right, but in all honesty? It's really not necessary! I've baked with yeast more times than I can count, I've never used a thermometer, and it's worked every time.
The temperature should be slightly warmer than room temperature, but not hot. The yeast will deactivate if it's too hot or too cold, but there is a pretty large temperature range so it's hard to get wrong.
You'll know when your yeast is deactivated because it'll look exactly the same as how it started. When your yeast activates, it'll get a strong smell (kind of like bread), and it'll foam. Here's the before and after pics:
This usually takes 5-10 minutes. If you're not seeing or smelling any difference after 5 minutes, it probably never will. If there is still no difference after 10 minutes, the yeast have been killed and you can't use it (even if you fix the temperature). If this happens, you'll have to start over. However, it will work as long as you make sure it's slightly warmer than room temperature.
Making the Filling
We finally graduated from the dough section!🤣I know that took a while but I hope you learned something! This section will be shorter, as the filling is a lot simpler 😉
The only ingredients you'll need here are cocoa powder, flaxseed meal, unsweetened applesauce, and coconut sugar! We've already talked about flaxseed meal and applesauce, so that leaves us with coconut sugar (because I'm sure you all know what cocoa powder is😂).
Like maple syrup, coconut sugar is an unrefined sweetener with antioxidants, vitamins, and a lower glycemic index. The main difference, and why coconut sugar works better here, is that it's granulated. This will create a spreadable, thick filling, as opposed to liquid like maple syrup. I've tried quite a few brands of coconut sugar, but I have to say this is my favorite.
As promised in the introduction, there are many ingredients you can substitute! Some I've tried and some I haven't. Of course, every ingredient is there for a reason, but I understand that everyone has preferences, or monetary restrictions.
White whole wheat flour: You can go ahead and use entirely all-purpose flour if you want! This is the only flour sub I've tried. If you want to make this gluten free, you can try to use a 1:1 gluten free flour blend, but I have not tested this and the texture won't be quite the same.
Oat milk: any plant based milk will work for this! Almond, soy, coconut, cashew, you name it...regular dairy milk is also fine if you don't need it to be vegan!
Unsweetened applesauce: if you don't have applesauce, you can make your own by grating an apple. You can also use 1 mashed ripe banana (it will yield the same amount), but it might leave a banana taste, and you should reduce the sugar slightly. Avocado oil will also work, or pumpkin puree like in these Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls!
Avocado oil: Sub with another neutral oil like sunflower, refined melted coconut oil (I haven't tried either of these but it should work out fine), or light-tasting olive oil. If you only have vegetable oil or canola oil, that works too. I do not recommend using no oil, but if you absolutely must, you can substitute with more applesauce, or one of the applesauce subs mentioned above.
Maple syrup: you can use any liquid/syrup sweetener like honey or agave, although honey is not vegan. I don't have experience with using simple syrup, but you can give it a try.
Coconut sugar: pretty much any granulated sweetener is fine. Cane sugar, brown sugar, and white sugar will all work. If you have a 1:1 sugar blend you are familiar with, feel free to use it here, just make sure it melts.
I really hope you like this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture/story and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see!💗
More recipes you might love:
Vegan Matcha Chocolate Rolls
- 3 ¼ cup white whole wheat flour not regular whole wheat
- 1 ¾ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup warm (not hot) oat milk or any nondairy milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 10 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or 1 packet
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- ⅓ cup finely ground flaxseed meal
- 3 tablespoons high-quality matcha powder see blog post for my fav brand
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup coconut sugar or any granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ cup finely ground flaxseed meal
- In the meantime, make the filling. Just whisk together all the filling ingredients (coconut sugar, applesauce, flax meal and cocoa powder) and set aside.
- Once the dough is done rising it should be about double in size. Fold in another ½ c all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, and matcha powder, then transfer to a floured surface. Use the remaining ¼ cup of flour as needed (you may need more or less) to knead. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Do NOT keep adding flour until the dough is dry; only add flour if it is really sticking to the counter/surface.
- Make sure the surface is well-floured so it doesn't stick, then roll the dough (make sure your rolling pin is floured too). Roll until it is about ½" thick. Cut off the edges to make them super clean. You can use the scraps to make more later. This is optional, but it will result in the best-looking rolls. Spread the filling evenly throughout.
- Grease 2 9"x 11" (or any similar size) pans and set aside.
- You can roll and cut the traditional way, but I find this method much easier and has a better-looking result: Cut the dough while it's flat, about 1" thick slices. Roll each slice individually and transfer to the prepared pan. Try not to pack them too closely; they will spread out. If using 9"x 11", you can fit about 6. Cover and let them rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- While the rolls are rising, you can make an icing: just whisk powdered sugar with a splash of plant based milk, and keep adding until you reach the desired consistency. You can also add a splash of lemon juice to help it set and harden.
- Once the rolls are done rising, bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes (depending on size and how fast your oven cooks--mine took 15). Serve warm with the icing or alone. If you aren't planning to finish them on the first or second day, freeze as soon as it cools, and microwave to reheat.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for supporting Nutritious Delights and allowing me to keep creating free content! 😀