These cookies might sound too good to be true. But they are very true, my friends. These cookies are…
- Low calorie
- High protein
- Keto friendly
- Soft & gooey
- Insanely easy to make
- Ready in under an hour
I mean, just look at that soft center and try to stop yourself from drooling.
These cookies have all the flavors of a cinnamon roll, but with the consistency of a cookie. Don’t get me wrong, cinnamon rolls are incredible. But there’s just something about a soft, gooey cookie that cannot be beat.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use the technique here to turn ANY cookie recipe into cinnamon roll cookies. Not a fan of high-protein treats? Take some standard sugar cookie dough and roll it into some delicious cinnamon roll cookies.
But, considering you’re here, I’m going to assume that you ARE interested in high-protein cookies. And not just high-protein, but also gluten-free and keto-friendly.
Working with protein cookie dough
Since this dough is high in protein and so low in carbs, it’s going to be very delicate. This isn’t a dough that you’re going to roll out and cut cookies out of- it’s a dough you’re going to have to carefully form with your hands. Don’t worry, it still works out great! Here’s how mine ended up looking:
Granted, these aren’t perfect. In a perfect world, I would have been able to roll this up into a nice tight cookie dough log, cut them into perfect circles, and gotten cookies that have impeccable cinnamon swirls in them.
But perfection is overrated. We’re after taste and quality macros, and that’s what we have here!
Besides, I think that they came out looking more than good enough!
You can fix your mistakes along the way. Do you see how my cookies don’t look like great cookies before they went into the oven? Well, when I pulled them out after baking them, they will still super soft, allowing me to carefully shape them back into circles before they cooled. If any of your cookies decide to be difficult and lose their shape, it’s a very easy fix!
You’ll find more substitutions at the bottom of this recipe, but I wanted to touch on a couple things:
- I use Bowmar’s Frosted Cookie protein, which is a whey protein. It’s a very similar flavor to vanilla, so you can sub a vanilla whey protein here (or cinnamon if preferred). I know that PEScience is a very popular powder, so if you’re going to use it, just keep in mind that it’s a whey/casein blend and is going to require more liquid. If you use something like that, you’re likely going to need to add another 20-30 grams of applesauce.
- I’ve always liked using Swerve sweeteners, but any brand you have will work- even “regular” sugar. I would try to stick with a regular granular sugar for the cookies, rather than a liquid sweetener, to keep the proportions the same, and stick with a brown sugar for the filling. The brown sugar filling is what is going to keep the insides of these cookies super moist… sorry for saying moist.
- I use light butter to save some calories, which is a butter/oil blend. I know that some people are not too keen on the ingredients, so you can absolutely use real butter, just make sure it’s soft enough to work with. I can’t promise the same exact results with full-fat butter, but I’d imagine it would work just fine.
I have always used parchment paper to bake on, but I recently discovered silicone baking mats and they have made my life SO much easier. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s just a mat that you lay on top of a baking sheet instead of something like parchment paper and is non-stick, not requiring any kind of spray. I bought a cheap 2-pack on Amazon and they work great. I highly recommend using one of these mats for this recipe, because it will make rolling the sticky cookie dough much easier.
If you’re curious about certain substitutions, visit the notes below the recipe card.
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Cinnamon Roll Protein Sugar Cookies
Macros for one cinnamon roll cookie
*5g total: 2g fiber, 1.5g sugar (sugar substitute not included)
Ingredients for Cookies
Ingredients for Filling
Ingredients for Icing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Make the filling: Whisk together the light butter and brown sugar. Since light butter is liquidy, once combined with the brown sugar, it’s going to be a very loose mixture. Take some coconut flour and whisk it in a little bit at a time to thicken the mixture. I used 14g (2 tablespoons) but you can use less if it comes together sooner. You want a mixture that is spreadable. Set aside.
- Make the dough: Add all of your dry cookie ingredients and mix well to avoid clumping. Add your light butter and applesauce, and use a silicone spatula to mix everything together until a dough ball forms.
- Form the cookies: Transfer your dough ball to a silicone baking mat. You can use any non-stick surface, but silicone baking mats will absolutely change the game and make your life so easy. Fill a small bowl with cold water to keep nearby, then dip your fingers lightly before pressing the dough down into a rectangle shape. Try to keep it as uniform as possible to help with the rolling. The cold water will work really well to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands, or else this dough can get a bit messy.
- Fill the cookies: Take your filling, add it to the top of the dough, and use a silicone spatula or spoon to carefully smooth it out. Sprinkle cinnamon over the mixture. Dip your fingers in the cold water again to prevent sticking, and then carefully begin to roll your cookie dough from the top, keeping it as tight as possible. The dough is going to be delicate, so make sure you do this slowly, working your way slowly across. If the dough breaks at all along the way, simply smooth it out. The extra bit of water from your fingers will work a bit like a glue to patch things up. Continue until the entire thing is rolled, and then cut the roll into 8 cookies.
- Bake the cookies: Spread the cookies out evenly on your silicone baking mat (or parchment paper). If they fell apart on you at all during the process, dip your fingers in the water and press them back into cookie form- they don’t need to look perfect! Bake for 8-10 minutes. I pulled mine at exactly 8 minutes because I wanted them to be soft- all the ingredients are safe to eat raw, so I prefer mine slightly undercooked. You can absolutely bake them for longer, especially because oven temperatures can vary. Just keep in mind that once removed from the oven, you need to let these rest for 20 minutes to finish cooking, so they will firm up on you if they seem too soft!
- Make the icing: While the cookies cool, making your icing by adding confectioners sugar to a bowl (you can start with about 50g, but adjust based on how much icing you want) and then very slowly adding the milk of your choice. Add 1 teaspoon at a time while stirring until you have an icing you’ll be able to drizzle. Add this to the fridge while the cookies finish cooling in order for it to firm up slightly.
- Dig in: After 20 minutes, the cookies should still be soft, but firmed up enough to hold together. Drizzle your icing on top and dig in! If you want the icing to solidify more, these cookies can be stored in the fridge and should last you a few days.
- Note that the cookies require baking SODA, not baking POWDER. Baking powder will make the cookies more “cakey” which is not the consistency we’re after here.
- You can use regular butter in place of light butter- if anything, it may even work better, but obviously it will kick the calorie & fat content way up. If you do use regular butter, you may need to add in slightly more applesauce to compensate for the lack of liquid.
- Since the ingredients in these cookies are all safe to eat raw, feel free to taste the dough and adjust the sweetness if needed. I don’t find these overly sweet, but you can always start with less sugar and add more as you feel fit.
- You can add the cinnamon right into the filling, I just like for the flavor to really stand out by adding it on its own.
- Coconut flour in the filling might make these feel a little bit grainy if you add too much, so be careful not to be too heavy-handed with it. If you don’t have (or don’t want to use) coconut flour, you can use anything else to help thicken the mixture. Xanthan gum is popular, but tends to get very sticky. Almond flour will likely be too gritty, but a small amount of regular flour or oat flour would work.
- I do not count the sugar substitute in my carb count. If you are very strict about carbs, you’ll want to take that into consideration and/or change up the quantities. Since sugar substitutes don’t actually contribute to the total calories (as they are not utilized by the body) I don’t find it worth counting them towards the carb totals.