When I lived in San Diego, and before I was vegan, our annual trip to the county fair always started at the cinnamon roll stand. These cinnamon rolls were thick, tender, loaded with cinnamon, and topped with a gooey icing. I looked forward to them for weeks before the fair. After I become vegan, cinnamon rolls fell off my radar: at that time, I couldn’t find vegan cinnamon rolls and it seemed like far too much work to make them.
Then I saw this recipe for Easy Cinnamon Rolls from the Minimalist Baker website. Oh. my. They were perfect…well, almost. I make them a little bit differently, but they’re still just as easy. These are the main reason I’ve thought about buying a bread machine–so I could set up the dough the night before and have it ready for final assembly in the morning. Given a choice, my husband would have these every morning.
These are wonderful with a cream cheese frosting, but we can’t get vegan cream cheese here and I rarely think far enough ahead to make it. I used to just make a simple glaze from powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and a touch of vanilla. Then I discovered the wonders of a peanut butter glaze (below). Yes, peanut butter on cinnamon rolls. You’re welcome.
Tip: whenever I cover a yeast bread or dough to let it rise, I use a plastic shower cap–the kind they give you in hotels. I find that I can reuse shower caps several times, which I can’t do with regular plastic wrap. The little elastic band holds the shower cap in place nicely.
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 3 Tbl refined coconut oil (or vegan butter)
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl cane sugar
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or substitute all or part whole wheat pastry flour)
- 3 Tbl vegan butter
- 1 Tbl ground cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, gently heat the non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and 2 Tbl sugar until the oil is just melted and the sugar dissolved. Don’t let it get too hot–it should feel just barely warm to the touch.
- Transfer the milk mixture to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and allow it to activate, about 10 minutes.
- Add the salt and mix.
- Add flour to the yeast mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go, until it’s too thick to stir. Remove from the bowl and kneed on a floured board for a couple minutes. The dough may be a bit sticky.
- Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap (or a showercap!). Allow to rise until doubled–about an hour or a little more.
- When the dough has risen, roll it out on a floured board into a rectangle. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.
- Melt the vegan butter. Brush some onto a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and onto the rolled out dough. Use about 1/2 of the butter.
- Sprinkle the dough with the 1/4 cup of sugar, then sprinkle the cinnamon over the sugar.
- Starting at the bottom edge of the dough rectangle, roll the dough tightly. Pinch the edge of the dough to form a seam. You’ll have a kind of dough log.
- With a serrated knife, cut the dough into 12 rounds.
- Place the rounds into the buttered baking dish. Leave some space between the rolls. Brush them with the remaining melted butter.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place the pan on top of the oven. Set the oven to 350 degrees (F). This gives the rolls a nice warm place to rise while the oven heats.
- When the oven is hot, remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes. They should be just starting to brown. If you like your cinnamon rolls slightly crunchy on the outside, let them brown a little longer.
- Remove the rolls from the oven and allow them to cool slightly. If you’re using a glaze, pour it over the rolls while they’re still warm.
- Enjoy the cinnamon-y deliciousness warm!
If you have any left over, you can reheat them in a toaster oven.
Peanut Butter Glaze
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 tsp salt (if your peanut butter is unsalted)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3-6 Tbl non-dairy milk (depending on the thickness of your peanut butter)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Start with 3 Tbl of non-dairy milk and add more, 1 Tbl at a time, until the glaze is pourable but not too thin. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls and prepare for peanut buttery, cinnamony bliss.