Warning: The recipe that follows could result in spontaneous drooling, finger licking, and uncontrollable urges to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
After 2 long days of sitting at my desk pouring over business plans and paperwork, I crossed the fine line of frustration overload.
The only solution? More baked goods.
Soon my business scribbling turned into recipe scrawling.
My initial attempt at vegan cinnamon rolls was finally getting an overhaul. (Well, a few tweaks at least.)
The original batch was good, but nothing special. They were a little too “cakey” and had a little bit of bitter-metallic-y taste.
Apparently I didn’t need to worry so much about making them rise, so I nixed the flax egg and cut out the baking soda (my close personal friend Google told me that baking soda can leave a funny taste if not mixed with acidic enough ingredients. I didn’t feel like making buttermilk with almond milk, so the baking soda got the shaft & I upped the baking powder.)
I added a little more milk, and switched from hemp to almond milk because let’s be honest, almond milk rules. (I cut the flour down too, but ended up adding most of it back in at the end.)
The best part? I eliminated an entire rise (which is single handedly the most annoying part about baking. Besides the mess…)
And that was that. Time for some baking!
Step one- don’t burn the almond milk in the microwave. You want it slightly warm, but not hot. Kinda like a bath for a baby. Just so we’re clear, the yeast is the baby… Pardon my nonsense, I’m on a cinnamon roll high.
Mix the yeast & almond milk and set aside while you measure all the dry goods.
This recipe uses mostly whole wheat flour, with just a bit of bread flour for kicks and giggles. Use whatever you have on hand. I don’t like wasting whole wheat flour for kneading. I know, I’m weird.
Add some sugar. The real deal. Nothing fake here.
Throw in some baking powder, salt, & cinnamon and you’re done with the dry ingredients.
Time to pour in the milk & yeast mixture. It should be a little bubbly on the surface- if not, your yeast might be past it’s prime.
Then comes the applesauce time when you realize you’re out of applesauce.
Aha! Pumpkin! (Yes, I’ve been hoarding that since last fall since NC is stingy in selling canned pumpkin. And yes, that would be 3 jars of PB. I have more, I promise.)
So pumpkin it is! (Don’t worry, your cinnamon rolls won’t taste like pumpkin. Although I’m already planning to make an intentionally pumpkin batch.)
Now mix away. Only don’t mix too much. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
It probably won’t really come together like dough. Unless you’re superhuman. And if you’re superhuman, what are you doing making cinnamon rolls from scratch?
Knead the dough until it magically forms a ball. Add bread flour as needed or you’ll have a sticky mess and curse my name.
Now comes the fun part- roll out the dough. Ok, kneading is probably more fun. But I don’t really feel like I’m baking til I whip out a wooden rolling pin circa 1923.
Make as close to a rectangle as you can, but let’s not go crazy. I’d say my dough’s about 1/4 of inch, but that’s only because I feel like that’s what all recipes say. I don’t measure. It’s as thick as it looks. It won’t matter either way.
Melt a little vegan margarine (or whatever you have on hand) and pour it across the rolled out dough. Spread it with a pastry brush if you want to continue feeling fancy.
If, unlike myself, you happen to have applesauce on hand, you could use that here instead of the butter. But I kinda like the butter.
Sprinkle the butter with brown sugar and cinnamon. Use more than what’s in this picture. This is not the time to hold back. I got distracted by licking the brown sugar off my fingers….
Then roll ‘er up. Try to start with a tight roll so it doesn’t get loose and sloppy on the ends. You can always cut the ends off it doesn’t work. I may or may not have eaten the dough ends raw…
Slice away. I’m guessing these are about an inch wide? I think it made about 9. Or 11.
I hear you can use dental floss to cut dough so you don’t squish your pretty little rolls, but I only have mint flavored. Who wants mint flavored cinnamon rolls? Eck.
Spray or butter a pan and fill with the cinnamon rolls.
Here comes the hard part. Stop. Put down the dough. Step away from the pan.
Well, before you step away, cover it with plastic wrap & put it in the fridge. Then step away. Go to sleep. Dream of cinnamon buns dancing in your head.
Ok fine. If you’re impatient like me, throw a few extra in a pan for semi-immediate consumption.
Put them somewhere warm-ish [I use the DVR box…] and go clean up that mess you made.
After 30 minutes or so, pop them in the oven for about 20 minutes and give your batch a test run. All in the name of baking, right? 😉
But on to the real deal….
Time to make the best breakfast ever. If you’re nice enough to share these with someone special, they will love you forever. I’m not that nice.
Bake the Buns!
Pull the buns out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take a little bit of cold margarine and spread it on the tops of the buns. Nobody will fault you for using your fingers. Then sprinkle the cinnamon rolls with granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Oh yes.
When the oven’s ready, bake them for 20 minutes. The key to this insanely delicious bun is to ever so slightly under bake them.
That bears repeating. Ever so slightly under bake! For me, it was 20 minutes on the dot since they were cold from the fridge.
While they’re doing their under-bake thing in the oven, mix up the icing.
Honestly, I’m not giving you measurements on purpose. Powdered sugar has a life of it’s own- I swear it has multiple personalities. Just pour a bunch of sugar in a cup, and add a splash of almond milk and tiny bit of vanilla.
If it’s too thick, add more milk. Too thin? Add more sugar or a bit of cornstarch.
When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, let them cool just a tiny bit. I know, it’s hard.
But if you do that, when you drizzle them with icing they’ll stay nice & pretty!
Now eat away! Don’t hold back! If you don’t want to finish the pan, find somewhere to lock it up. Don’t come complaining to me when they’re gone the same hour day.
I’ll stop torturing you now.
Oh, I guess you want the recipe, huh?
I don’t blame you- cinnamon rolls so healthy you can legitimately call them breakfast? Yes please.
Here you go:
Whole Wheat Vegan Cinnamon Roll Recipe
aka The CinnBuns that kicked Cinnabon’s you know what.
1 c almond milk
1 packet instant yeast
2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c bread flour (plus 1/4-1/2 c for kneading)
2 t baking powder
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
4T pumpkin puree
2 T vegan margarine
4 T brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
Go. Bake. Do not collect $200.
Woahh hold up –> Check out the updated version of this vegan cinnamon roll recipe!