Raisin Pecan Morning Rolls, Gluten Free


These began as would-be Cheese Danish and ended up being Raisin Pecan Morning Rolls.  Sometimes a good plan is the one not intended.  Before the days of living gluten-free I enjoyed cinnamon and sugar Morning Rolls at Starbucks and Peets a little too much.

Of course they were loaded with way too much sugar and an hour later I’d be wondering if it was the gigantic coffee or the sugar rush that was making me hyper. I’m sure it wasn’t the coffee. Absolutely sure (ok, maybe not so certain).

When I decided these were going to be morning rolls, I made  them with just enough sugar to taste great but not enough to send anyone into a diabetic coma. I also added dried fruits and nuts – the melted butter is optional. You can certainly use your favorite dried fruit and nuts in this recipe. These are loaded with raisins and pecans because they were the first to fall out of the cupboard.

If this dough recipe looks slightly familiar, it is. This is pretty much the croissant dough prior to adding the butter packet. The dough is way less fragile without the butter packet and doesn’t mind being rolled and folded willy-nilly. Go to town – the dough will be fine.

It’s a great idea to keep a little container of Expandex handy. Expandex is a magical ingredient. A little bit added to dough helps make GF breads bendy and soft which is very different from the usual creak and snap we’ve come to expect.

You can make the dough the night before and leave it in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning you can make, oh say, morning rolls. It’ll make your house smell really great. And it is goes quite well with that giant mug of coffee.

Or tea.

Give these a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Raisin Pecan Morning Rolls, Gluten Free
These are fabulous for a weekend brunch. Make the dough the day before and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to roll and fill the dough. That makes these pretty easy to prepare in the morning. This is a forgiving dough and doesn't mind being rolled a million times. If you become familiar with making these, you are half way to mastering the croissant. Makes about a dozen.
  • 220 grams AP GF flour (110 g superfine brown rice flour, 55 g each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour) (about 1¾ cup)
  • 4 tablespoons Expandex Modified Tapioca Starch (see post for link)
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk powder plus 1 teaspoon more
  • ¼ teaspoon guar gum
  • ¼ teaspoon pectin
  • 2 tablespoons instant or bread machine Red Star or Saf yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
  • 8 tablespoons whole milk (not non fat)
  • 1 whole x-large egg plus one x-large egg yolk
  • 100 grams Pellegrino (1/2 cup)
  • 1 x-large egg for brushing the dough before baking
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 70 grams brown sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 50 grams toasted and chopped pecans or any nut (1/2 cup)
  • 90 grams raisins or other dried fruit (1/2 cup)
  • 215 grams powdered sugar (2 cups)
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot water
  1. Mix flours, Expandex, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, 2 tablespoons milk powder, guar gum, pectin and yeast together in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. Mix milk, egg and yolk together with one teaspoon of powdered milk.
  2. Drop the soft butter into the dry mixture and using a fork mash it around to incorporate it. Large chucks of butter/flour mixture are fine. Pour in the Pellegrino and stir. Pour in the milk egg mixture and mix with a fork until well combined. Using a silicone spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the dough scraping up the bottom. If you're using the dough the same day, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft free place for an hour or two until it just about doubles. Once the dough doubles in size, place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least an hour and two is better. If you plan to wait until the next day to make the rolls, you can just refrigerate the dough in the covered bowl right after mixing it and not worry about the initial room temperature rise - leave it to rise overnight in the refrigerator)
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured silpat or parchment surface. Knead a few turns using floured hands. The dough will be ragged and sticky yet. Flour the surface under the dough again and shape dough into a rectangle. Flour the surface of the dough lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and press and roll until it is about 12x8. Fold dough in thirds like a letter and turn so the fold faces you. Roll again the same way. Fold. Turn and repeat 2 more times.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle making sure the surface under it is lightly dusted with flour. The top should not stick to the plastic wrap - use another light dusting of flour as needed. Roll to a 14x8 inch rectangle. Remove the plastic wrap and brush off the flour from the surface of the dough.
  5. Brush the melted butter over the rectangle if using. Mix remaining filling ingredients together and sprinkle over the buttered rectangle leaving a small margin on the edges. Place the plastic wrap over the filling and give it a light roll just to make sure the filling adheres but don't press very hard at all. Remove plastic wrap. Fold in the edges. Roll the rectangle like a jelly roll. Place seam side down. Make sure the roll is snug. It should look like a log. Using a bench scraper or a pastry cutter or a very sharp knife cut at 1.5 inch intervals. Place each piece cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap loosely and let the dough rest and rise slightly, about 45 minutes to an hour. The dough will not double but it will look slightly puffy.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk the egg and brush each morning roll with egg wash. Bake about 20 minutes and rotate. Bake about 12-15 minutes more or just until the filling starts to look bubbly and the dough is golden brown. Cool for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet and move to a rack to finish cooling.
  7. Mix powdered sugar and hot water to form a drizzly icing. Use a piping bag or fork, drizzle the icing over the mostly cooled morning rolls. Let the icing set for a few minutes. Eat.


  1. Joy McGinniss says:

    Can you please tell me what Pellegrino is and where it can be obtained?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Joy. San Pellegrino is sparkling mineral water. You can find it in many grocery stores.

      • Joy McGinniss says:

        Oh, duh. Of course. I was thinking it was some kind of exotic gluten-free ingredient! Well, it sort of is, but… 🙂
        These sound wonderful. My husband has the celiacs disease and misses really good bread-type items. I’m excited to try these for him.
        I’m planning to try the oatmeal cookies and strawberry cupcakes this weekend. I like your website!

      • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

        Thanks, Joy. Enjoy!

  2. I don’t think I can get Expandex in Germany (yet). Is it worth a try without? Any suggestions?

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      I haven’t made it without Expandex so I can’t tell you what might happen. You can experiment. If I were in your shoes I might add a bit more x-gum and pectin to give it as much stretch as possible. Hope you can find Expandex or something similar in Europe – it really makes a huge difference.

  3. Hi, Lisa:

    Approximately how many recipes use the product “Expandex” in your new cookbook “Nosh on This”?

    I do not have Expandex, but would like to know how many recipes require this product in your cookbook in order to decide whether or not I need to buy Expandex.

    Also, what kind of recipes is the Expandex used in? What difference will it make in the finished baked product with or without using Expandex? What is the purpose of Expandex used in specific recipes?

    Please reply and advise. Hope to hear from you soon.



    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Edie – Those are great questions. In Nosh there are a only a few recipes that use Expandex. It’s primary purpose is to help yeasted dough have good chew and stretch. Challah, Babka or Danish would utilize Expandex. But in small amounts. Think of Expandex as a dough conditioner and not as a main ingredient. Having some on hand will be useful because it does make a difference in the texture of the dough, overall. It also reduces the amount of x-gum that you use in a recipe. It keeps for a very long time in a sealed container. Tapioca starch/flour can be used in place of Expandex in any of the recipes in the book as indicated, and the recipes will work just fine, but overall, I think Expandex is worth the effort to use in the recipes. Hope that helps.

  4. I keep strictly kosher (only using certified products). Do you know of anywhere to get Expandex that has kosher certification? I’ve been using something else in a somewhat modified version of one of your challah recipes (substituted in oat flour so that it could be used for ritual purposes) but would like to try the Expandex. What I’ve been using is “orgran gluten substitute”.

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi, Michelle. While Expandex is actually kosher certified, the repackaging is probably not. Wish it was. As more places start to carry it, we can hope it becomes kosher certified in the smaller packages.

      • Ok, thanks. Knowing that it is actually certified is one step closer to being able to buy it. Now if I could just find a place that is certified that is buying and repacking it….
        The Orgran Gluten Substitute seems to help with keeping my challah moister and chewier so for now I’ll keep using that in place of the Expandex.

  5. Rebekah Storey says:

    Can these be baked in a caramel topping to make a caramel roll instead? Maybe I’ll just try them both ways and see what happens! 🙂