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Chocolate Cheer Rolls: healthy cinnamon rolls for the holiday season

In an ideal world, we'd wake up to these every single morning during the holiday season. They make the whole house smell festive. There's pure peppermint, melted dark chocolate, and crunchy granola. It's like a cinnamon roll went to a holiday party, dropped their cinnamon, and found chocolate-dipped candy canes and a lot of crunch. The whole thing happens to be Paleo, gluten-free, and plant-based.

Our dear friend Simone partnered with Legit Bread Company to make an awesome gluten-free "Everything Dough Mix by Zenbelly." You can use it to make a huge variety of allergen-friendly baked goods that have all the stretch and breadiness of conventional treats. When we saw her recipe for cinnamon rolls, we knew we had to make them. 

Our version is vegan: we replaced the honey with maple, butter with Miyoko's dairy-free butter, and eggs with flax eggs. In place of the cinnamon glaze in the center, we melted Hu Kitchen dark chocolate with Three Trees almond milk and covered it with our new festive flavor, Paleo Chocolate Cheer, for extra chocolate and a peppermint flavor that sings through delightfully. You can watch us make the entire recipe in 60 seconds right here, and the full recipe is below!

Recipe adapted from Zenbelly. Find her original cinnamon roll recipe here!


For the Rolls:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 package active dry years (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 flax eggs (recipe below)
  • 6 tablespoons melted vegan butter (we used Miyoko's), plus a bit more for greasing
  • 1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 package Legit Everything Dough Mix

For the chocolate filling:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate pieces (we used Hu Kitchen dark chocolate gems)
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free milk (we used Three Trees Almond Milk)
  • A few organic candy canes (we used Yum Earth)
  • A cup or so of Paleo Chocolate Cheer

For the icing: 

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the dry mix in a small bowl.
  2. Make the flax eggs: whisk together 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds (also known as flax meal) with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of water. Let stand for about 10 minutes, or until congealed. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease an 8×8 baking dish with vegan butter.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, maple, and yeast. Set aside for about 5 minutes. It should get foamy and active.
  5. Once the mixture is foamy, whisk in the butter, flax eggs, and apple cider vinegar.

  6. Pour in the mix and whisk for about 30 seconds, until it is well combined and starts to thicken a bit. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. It will start off very thin, but will thicken as it sits.
  7. Meanwhile, make the filling! Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat up the milk until it's hot enough to melt the chocolate (about a minute or two in the microwave), then pour it over the chocolate. If it doesn't melt, you can always put the whole thing back in the microwave.
  8. Put the melted chocolate in the fridge to firm up a bit while you roll out the dough.
  9. Give the dough another mix and scrape onto a clean dry surface dusted with half of the reserved dry mix. Sprinkle the rest on top and flatten into a rectangle about 8×10 inches.
  10. Spread the chocolate filling onto the dough, spreading it out so it covers all but a 1-inch border.
  11. Chop up a few candy canes to your heart's desire!
  12. Crush up the Paleo Chocolate Cheer just a bit. You can use your hands or the flat side of the knife. 
  13. Sprinkle the Cheer and candy canes all over the chocolate filling.
  14. Roll up the dough as tightly as possible and cut into 9 rounds. Place in the prepared baking dish.
  15. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  16. Meanwhile, make the icing. Whisk together the sugar, milk, and vanilla.
  17. Allow to cool in the pan before drizzling with the icing.
  18. Enjoy the best holiday breakfast ever!

Watch us make the full recipe here, and stock up on Paleo Chocolate Cheer here!