I’m so excited to share my first recipe with you all! I can’t really explain how grateful I am for your support and I really hope you enjoy this amazing treat as much as I do. Now let me just preface this with a disclaimer, this is not at all a quick bake. I know most people will probably be turned off by that but I had to start my blog out with my absolute favorite thing to make. That just happened to be Vegan Cinnamon Rolls with “Cream Cheese” Icing! So please stick with me and try it out. It’s the perfect recipe for a relaxing weekend morning and I promise it’s worth the effort. After all, the best things in life take patience and time!
- 2 1/4 tsp ( 1 package ) Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup Warm Water
- 5 tbsp Melted Vegan Butter ( I use Earth Balance Butter Sticks )
- 1 1/4 cups Plant Milk ( I use Soy )
- 3 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Melted Vegan Butter
- 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 cup White Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2-3 tbsp Soy Milk
- 3 tbsp Vegan Cream Cheese ( I use Miyoko's)
- Mix warm water, yeast, and 1 tbsp of dark brown sugar together in a liquid measuring cup. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes until it fizzes up and activates.
- In a small sauce pot over medium heat, first 5 tbsp of butter, once melted add plant milk, whisk together to combine and turn off heat.
- Once yeast mix is activated whisk it into the milk and butter pot and set aside
- Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl
- Add yeast mix to dry ingredients and incorporate with a wooden spoon or form the dough using your hands. It should be slightly tacky at the end but not enough to stick to the pot. Form it into a rough ball and place it into another greased bowl to complete its first proof. I use coconut oil to prepare mine.
- Cover the proofing bowl with cling wrap and let proof at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. If your kitchen is pretty cold then you could do what I do, which is preheat my oven to 100F then turn it off and place my covered dough in there to rise. It works like a charm in 30 minutes.
- While that's proofing, melt 2 tbsp of vegan butter in the same small pot used earlier and set aside, then in a small bowl mix filling sugars and cinnamon. Finally, prepare your work space by flouring a rolling mat, rolling pin, and knife. As well as lining your baking dishes with parchment for cooking.
- Once the dough is ready it should look very puffy and no longer like the ball from earlier, it will also be a lot more sticky. Fold in the last 1/4 cup of flour and delicately reform a ball. Lay it on your prepared rolling mat and roll out into roughly a 9 in by 12 in rectangle.
- Brush the surface of the dough with half the melted butter and evenly distribute the filling, leaving about a 1/2 in around the perimeter.
- Starting from the horizontal bottom, tightly roll your dough into a cylinder, it helps to put a bit of pressure on the dough when rolling, and to continuously tuck the dough under. Once rolled cut into 1 1/2 in sections. I usually get about 8-10 rolls.
- Place the rolls (first cut side down) in the prepared baking dishes and cover with a kitchen towel for the second proof. Leave at room temperature for an hour or allow to rise in the oven, with same technique as earlier mentioned for about 45 minutes.
- After the dough has doubled, or more, in size, preheat the oven to 350F. When the oven is preheated brush the rest of the melted vegan butter onto the rolls and pop those bad boys in the oven for 25-28 minutes.
- While they're baking prepare your icing by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and using an electric mixer of some sort to combine them all until a slightly runny consistency is reached. If it's too thick add an extra tbsp of soy milk. The icing should slowly run off your spoon.
- After the Cinnamon Rolls are golden and ready, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes before spreading on the icing, don't let them cool to much though because we want the icing to melt into every inch!
- Now enjoy all your hard work with the best home made cinnamon rolls ever!
* I HIGHLY suggest using a ceramic baking dish for this recipe because the helps keep the bottoms fluffy and soft. I find that when I use metal non-stick pans the heat distribution makes the sugar caramelize on the bottom a bit much for my liking, resulting into a crunchy bite. * For quicker proofs, preheat your oven to 100F (or as low as it goes) and then turn it off once it reaches it, then just pop your dough in and it will keep it ideally warm for the rising process! * Feel free to substitute with your favorite brands of products or types of dairy free milks. I have not tried this recipe with coconut oil as a substitute for the vegan butter but I'm sure it would work "well enough" apart from some textural differences, let me know if you try that.
For more detailed description and my process read my detailed post below!
I used to love going to the airport in Anchorage just because it had Cinnabon! There really is nothing in the world that beats a good, fluffy cinnamon roll. Especially fresh for breakfast! That’s why I worked so hard on developing my perfect recipe. I wanted it to taste authentic, like your mom just made it in your childhood kitchen, but you know, without the gross animal products. I think that’s what everyone is really after when they eat something like this. It’s definitely not a “balanced and healthy” vegan meal but hey, I live by a 60:40 ratio. Sometimes you just need something that tastes like home and let’s be honest I don’t know a better way to start the day then with sugar!
Now let’s get into it! Remember that these little guys need two proofs, one right after forming the dough for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen, I do have a hack to speed things up that will be in the notes. Then another after they’re fully rolled and cut; for an hour. So make sure you start this recipe when you have about 3 hours free and yes, while you technically can skip the last proof, please don’t. It really is integral to getting the most amazing fluffy dough and if you just bake it right away then you’re losing the very thing that make these the BEST cinnamon rolls ever!
Start out by grabbing all of your ingredients, for the main part of this recipe you need the basics; all purpose flour, vegan butter, dairy free milk, cinnamon, organic white and dark brown sugar, salt, and some active dry yeast. Start out by measuring out your yeast mix, if you’re using the individual active dry yeast packets then its just 1 pack, but if you’re using a jar like I do then measure out about 2 1/4 tsp and put it in a liquid measuring cup. Then add a tbsp of firmly packed dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of slightly warm water to the same measuring cup. Stir the yeast mix up and let it sit for at least 10 minutes, it should fizz up a bit and virtually double in size. Ensure that the yeast is warm enough for it to activate because the proper reaction is pretty important to our end result. I keep mine by the oven while I’m melting my butter so the residual heat keeps it a happy temperature. While that’s working go ahead and cut/scoop 5 tbsp of vegan butter and plop it into a small sauce pot. Turn it on medium heat and begin to melt the butter down, be careful not to let the butter bubble or burn, it helps to just mix it consistently. When the butter is melted add 1 and 1/4 cups of your preferred plant based milk, I use unsweetened Soy, to the pot. Give this a good mix to thoroughly incorporate everything and warm up the milk then turn of the heat and allow the mixture to sit for a minute. No need to have it be cold, we just don’t want it boiling hot, slowly mix in the yeast mixture to the melted butter and plant milk and stir it all together. Now set this aside for a minute.
After finishing that up go ahead and measure out your flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. This is a quick step, just 3 and 1/4 cups flour and 1/2 tsp of salt, then incorporate that together. To get ahead of the game and keep things less messy, prep your first proofing bowl now as well. You are welcome to use whatever you want to do this, be it oil or butter, but I usually use coconut oil. Just ensure that you’re spreading it evenly throughout the bowl so that your dough won’t stick too much, also use a decent sized bowl, the dough gets pretty big at this proof stage. After that’s all ready start to pour your yeast mixture into your flour. You’re more then welcome to start stirring this with a wooden spoon or whatever suits you but I’m going to be honest, I mix this up and form the dough using my hands. It’s a lot easier (hence why I suggested your prep the mixing bowl prior because your hands may get messy). Now if you plan to do this in a stand mixer just be careful not to over mix because that will bake your dough tough and not fluffy. It’s a lot harder to over do it by hand so don’t worry to much if you’re using the suggested method. After everything is thoroughly incorporated your dough should be slightly tacky but not enough to stick to the bowl or anything. All of the excess flour should be gone from the mixing bowl and you should be able to plop your dough ball into the prepared proofing bowl without too much trouble. If the mixture is way to wet then add extra flour but most the time as long as you can kind of form it and move it to the proofing bowl then it’ll be okay.
Now wrap your proofing bowl in cling wrap or with a towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to an hour. I usually end up taking mine out at about 45 minutes because my kitchen is slightly chilly. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is by actually preheating my oven to 100 F, turning it off, and putting my dough in there. It shouldn’t cook as long as your oven is off after the preheat, it will just keep it nice and happy! Now allow it to sit, when it’s done it should poof up a lot and no longer look like a dough ball but rather fill the bowl.
While you’re waiting I recommend prepping the next steps, melt 2 tbsp of vegan butter and in a separate bowl mix together your sugars and cinnamon. Set out your silicone placemat, a rolling pin, flour, a sharp knife, and the baking vessels. This part is important, I really suggest using a ceramic baking dish of some sort. Ceramic, as apposed to non stick metal, helps prevent the bottom of the rolls from getting too caramelized and crunchy. I find that they taste the best when made this way, however if you would like a crunchy bite feel free to use what you want. Anyway, line your baking dish with parchment, flour your silicone mat, flour your rolling pin and make sure everything is set up and ready for assembly. Once your first proof is done your dough will be very sticky and look pretty rugged but it’s supposed too so don’t worry. Add in the last 1/4 cup of flour and gently need your dough into a smooth ball. Place this out on the floured mat and roll it into roughly a 9 by 12 in rectangle. Once it’s rolled take your melted vegan butter and brush it onto the surface of the dough, then evenly spread your cinnamon sugar mix on top. Now starting from the bottom, horizontally, and roll your dough up tightly while making sure it’s even. Once it’s rolled you should be able to cut it into 1 1/2 to 2 in slices and put it into your baking dishes for the last proof.
Now cover the baking dishes with clean kitchen towels and either leave at room temperature for another hour, or place into the oven for a bit of a quicker process. Again, I typically will preheat my oven to 100 F then turn it off and place my rolls in to proof for about 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes is complete I will take them out and preheat my oven for real, to 350 F.
During this free time you could clean up your kitchen from the baking mess, or just hangout and watch some T.V! It’ll be done before you know it and totally worth the wait. After this process is complete your cinnamon rolls will have doubled (or more) in size and look very light and fluffy. If they still look compact or the same then something went wrong; your kitchen could be too cold or even the yeast wasn’t properly activated at the beginning. Now preheat your oven to 350 F ass the remaining melted butter to the tops of the proofed rolls and pop these babies in the oven for 25-28 minutes (If you’re using a metal baking dish like the ones photographed then start with 20 minutes and work your way up, they carry heat quicker then ceramic) or until properly browned!
While they are cooking you can make the icing! This is my favorite part because it really takes these cinnamon rolls to the next level. With some form of electric mixer, beat together 1 cup of Vegan powdered sugar, 3 tbsp of Vegan cream cheese, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and about 2-3 tbsp of soy milk until creamy and smooth. Taste the frosting and adjust the sweetness to your liking by adding more powdered sugar. Once the rolls are golden brown and ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool for 3-5 minutes. We still want them warm enough so the frosting will melt into every inch but not too hot that it will melt off.
After they’re cooled well enough, add the frosting to the top of your cinnamon rolls and boom! All of your hard work has resulted in the most amazing breakfast on the planet! Gooey, sweet, fluffy, and comforting. That’s what this recipe is all about.
I hope you enjoyed this first recipe, I had so much fun creating it and it truly is my favorite. Please stay tuned for many more, I will be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!