Even if you're on a sugar-restricted diet, it's important to use SOME real sugar in the dough because the yeast needs that to "feed" on and grow. But the amount used is not enough to affect you, when it's divided among 15 cinnamon rolls (so make sure you DO use that real sugar!)
Holiday CARAMEL CINNAMON ROLLS
1 cup warm milk (any kind ~ I like unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk ~ about 40 seconds on high in the microwave)
1/3 cup butter, melted ………………. 1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups regular flour......................2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar (or 1/4 cup real sugar + 1/4 cup plain white SPLENDA for sugar-free version)
2-1/2 TB fresh yeast
1 cup brown sugar, packed ~or~ 1/2 cup brown Splenda blend
1/2 cup butter, softened.....................3 TB ground cinnamon
2 TB caramel syrup or ice cream topping (regular or sugar-free)
4 oz cream cheese, softened ….…….. 4 TB softened butter
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar ~or~ 1 cup regular white Splenda whisked w/ 1/4 cup cornstarch
2-4 TB caramel flavored liquid coffee creamer
Combine warm milk, yeast, sugar/Splenda, salt, butter, and eggs in the bowl of your electric mixer. Gradually add in the flour. Switch to dough hook and turn mixer on low.
When the flour starts to blend into the dough, increase speed to medium. Add more flour as necessary so that dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. (The dough mixture should be tacky and soft, but not stick to your hands.) Add more (if needed) flour until the dough feels right.
Grease or spray (I use buttery non-stick spray) a large mixing bowl and put the dough into the bowl (turning dough over so that all the dough gets greased). Cover with towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour. (If your kitchen is cool, good places are on top of dishwasher or dryer while running, or on the counter next to the refrigerator.)
While the dough is rising: (1) Generously spray 9x13” pan with buttery non-stick spray. (2) Combine filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Punch down the dough and roll into a 12”x22” rectangle. Spread the filling mixture all over the dough. Roll up tightly across the short side (for the 9x13” pan) or lengthwise (for 2 8” pans) so you have one long roll. Then cut the dough into 1-1/2” slices (you should have 15 slices ~ since the log tends to squish out a little as you slice it.) TIP: use a long serrated knife and keep pushing the log back in place. Put the slices (cut-side-up) in the prepared pan. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, until light golden brown on top.
While rolls are baking, beat together all frosting ingredients. Spread frosting on warm rolls, so that the frosting melts into the roll. Add some holiday sprinkles, if you want.
TIP: Reheat leftover cinnamon rolls about 15 seconds in the microwave for fresh-baked flavor