Whole wheat adds a nutty flavor to cinnamon rolls. (Los Angeles Times photo by Kirk McKoy / March 16, 2010)

Admittedly, if you're wanting a highly nutritious breakfast, you'll probably be making granola instead of cinnamon rolls. That said, you can try making whole wheat cinnamon rolls.

By switching out half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour (more than that and the dough becomes too dense), you get the benefit of whole grains without changing the ontological properties of your favorite breakfast indulgence.

With the whole wheat, there's a little more buttermilk, a little more cinnamon. But the major difference is that there's a 15-minute resting time added to the mixing process. (Go away, read the paper.) This resting time, called an autolyse, allows the gluten in the flour to develop, and effectively creates a softer dough than you would have had without it.

The result is much the same as regular rolls, but with the added flavor — which combines beautifully with the spice, as well as with nuts, ginger or blackberries.

Having mastered a basic recipe, making cinnamon rolls becomes not only easy but easily repeatable — even when it's not a holiday. No malls, no truck stops, no jelly beans necessary, just the spice route to your kitchen.

ctc-goodeating@tribune.com

Whole wheat cinnamon rolls

Prep: 25 minutes Rise: 2 hours, 15 minutes Cook: 20 minutes Makes: 12 rolls

1 cup buttermilk plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, at room temperature

Zest of 1 orange

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons plus 3/8 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) softened butter, cut into cubes, plus 6 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup brown sugar