Friday, May 14, 2010

Vegan Cinnamon Buns

So, you may have put together the fact that last Sunday was Mother's Day AND my mom was here. The stars aligned, which meant I needed to up my game. The plan? Completely homemade from scratch vegan (I got my allergies from her) warm, sweet, and delicious cinnamon rolls. She'll have to chime in here, but I'm relatively certain of my success.

This recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, is surprisingly easy, and (bonus!) flexible in terms of time. I made the dough on Saturday night and placed it in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight. If you are a morning person, though, you can make it in the morning, let it rise for a couple hours, and then cook it for breakfast or brunch. It calls for either bread or all-purpose flour, and I used a combination because I ran out of bread flour. You will probably get somewhat lighter results if you use bread flour, but I wouldn't take an extra trip to the store at 11pm for it. In addition, it calls for a food processor and I used the dough blade, but I would recommend just using the normal blade because the dough blade is shorter and doesn't get the edges very well. You can also do it by hand, of course.

Mother's Day Vegan Cinnamon Buns

3 1/2 Cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed and some for sprinkling your surface
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar plus 3/4 Cup for filling
2 Tbsp cold vegan butter, like Earth Balance
2 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer (equivalent of 2 eggs)
4 Tbsp water
1 Cup soy milk
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
softened vegan butter for the pan
melted vegan butter for brushing the rolls

1. In a food processor, combine flour, yeast, salt, 1 Tbsp sugar, and butter. Pulse machine on and off until the butter is mixed throughout the flour. Add the egg replacer, put the top back on, and add the water and about 3/4 of the milk through the feed tube with the food processor on.

2. Process until the mixture forms a ball (you may need to add the rest of the milk). The dough should be somewhat sticky. If dry, add a little more milk; if too sticky, add a little flour.

3. Flour your work surface, turn the dough onto it, and kneed it a bit with your hands. A couple minutes worth should do it. Form it into a smooth, round ball, place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise.
Option A: let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours
Option B: let it rise in the fridge overnight (around 8 hours-ish)
Option C: freeze by wrapping the dough very tightly in plastic wrap for up to a month. To use, simply put the dough in a bowl in the fridge or at room temperature.

4. When you and the dough are ready, form it into a nice, symmetrical, round ball and place it on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a bit more flour on the top, cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and let it rest about 20 minutes.

5. Butter a pan (something in the 9x13 range. The one pictured is 13 1/2 x 9 1/2 so I would tend toward smaller) or butter 12 muffin tins. Combine cinnamon and 3/4 C sugar in a small bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and make sure the rack is in the middle position.

6. Roll the dough into a large (about the size of your baking dish) rectangle. If your dough is very elastic and resists stretching into shape, you may need to let it rest a few minutes and then keep rolling. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar evenly all over the dough. It will seem like a lot, but go with it. If you have a spray water bottle, use that, but if not, put some water in a bowl/cup, dip your fingers in, and drip/sprinkle, flick onto cinnamon sugar. You'll use a bit (1/4 Cup-ish maybe?). Then use a fork to mix the water in and rub wet cinnamon sugar into the dough. It should be kind of paste-like.

7. Roll the dough lengthwise so you have a long log, and seal it as best you can. Slice it into about 15 pieces (if using a pan) or 12 (for muffin tins). Place each slice, swirled side up, into the buttered dish. Brush the whole top and any exposed sides with melted vegan butter.

8. Bake for about 30 minutes. The crust will appear golden and delicious. Let it cool a few minutes and enjoy! Serve from the pan- the buns should pull apart easily.

9. If you (or mom) would like, you can add a glaze. I just mixed some orange juice and confectioners sugar. Make as much and as thick as you want. I think I used about 1 1/2 Cups sugar and a few Tbsp of oj. The orange wasn't pronounced when eaten on the rolls, but I think of you add some zest you should get an orange layer of flavor. As I've mentioned, I'm an estimater. You can always eat "leftover' frosting.

I think it was a hit!


  1. My mom would have gone crazy for cinnamon rolls on Mother's Day! I wish I had thought of this myself!

    They're beautiful (and it's so cool that they're vegan)!

  2. Thanks! I loved that I could let the dough rise overnight while I slept. Mornings aren't my strong point.

    If your photos are any indication, I'm sure that whatever you concocted was tasty. Plus, it's the thought that counts, right?

  3. DId it taste different with the vegan ingredients? I love real butter and milk :)

  4. Well, my dad didn't believe they were vegan! I have never made cinnamon rolls at home before, so I don't have a comparable taste memory.

  5. Hi! I'd like to take these to a Memorial Day shindig. What do you think of preparing the buns through step 7 then refrigerating for a few hours. Once at the bbq, I'd probably let them sit at room temperature while the oven preheats, then pop them in. Recipe for disaster? Or deliciousness?

  6. hmmmm...I'm honestly not sure...I'm sort of inclined to say that it should mostly work but they may not rise quite as nicely? I think it will work better to do it your way if you do the faster first rise, rather than overnight in the fridge. Part of my hesitation is because the ener-g box mentions it's better to use cook your dish sooner than later if you're using it. But even if the rolls end up not rising as much, they'll still be delicious!

    Let us know what you do and what happens! Have fun at the shindig :)

  7. I packed my bag for the party with the ball of risen dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, a container of cinnamon sugar, a tub of Earth Balance, and a glass baking dish. At the party, I did the second rise, rolled out the dough, and sugar'd it up. I forgot to seal the ends of the log which led to fountains of cinnamon sugar paste at either end - oops! Once baked, the rolls came out fairly nicely. They were not as light as I had hoped; that might be partly attributed to the whole wheat bread flour I used along with the all-purpose...and maybe also the jostling on the bus ride and inexact rise times. I added a glaze with orange extract, so the flavor was quite pronounced. All in all, the drunk people liked them!

  8. ooo orange extract sounds delish! I would not have thought to bother with trying to make them healthier with whole wheat flour, but more power to you!


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