Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 12 rolls
1 C plant-based milk (recommended: Silk unsweetened original almond milk)
2 Tbsp. organic white or brown sugar (your choice)
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2½ C all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
½ C organic white or brown sugar
¾ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, vegan butter spread, or applesauce
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 Tbsp. flour
¼ C organic white or brown sugar
1½ Tbsp. cinnamon, ground
⅔ C vegan butter spread (softened) or applesauce
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. plant-based cream cheese
4 oz. plant butter (recommended: Earth Balance buttery sticks)
2 C vegan powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Warm plant milk to 110 F (use a candy thermometer, if available); do not allow to boil. Stir in the sugar, sprinkle yeast on top, and set aside 5 minutes. (If the yeast doesn’t bubble up, either it is inactive or the plant milk was too hot or cold.)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ½ C sugar, salt and 2 tsp. cinnamon.
Combine the oil/butter or applesauce and the vanilla and add to the milk mixture; stir into the dry ingredients to form a dough. If needed, add more flour until the dough is dry enough to form a ball. Place the ball in an oiled bowl, cover loosely, and set in a warm place for 1 hour, during which time it should double in size.
After the dough has risen, punch to deflate. Knead for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a very thin rectangle (just under ¼”).
Combine the remaining sugar, cinnamon and butter spread or applesauce and spread over the dough.
Oil a 9”x13” baking pan. Cut the dough into long strips and roll each up as tightly as possible. (Alternatively, form as a jelly roll, beginning with the long end, and pinch the dough along the seam. Cut into 12 pieces.) Place the rolls in the oiled pan. Cover loosely and allow to rest for 30 minutes. (The rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight; bring to room temperature before baking.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until done in the middle. (If the center-most roll is sticky or raw-appearing, return the pan to the oven for additional baking time.)
Cool slightly; spread with the Cream Cheese Frosting. Serve warm.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
Allow cream cheese and butter to come to room temperature. Beat all the ingredients together with either an electric mixer or by hand (the frosting won’t be as fluffy, but still works). If it’s too thick, very slowly add a small amount of plant milk of choice; if too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Spread over the cinnamon rolls and enjoy.
Cinnamon rolls do take a bit of time to make, but they’re a great holiday treat. Plus, while the dough is rising, there’s time for you to decorate, wrap presents, or enjoy a peaceful moment. Share your love of baking with others by trying this cinnamon roll recipe or other vegan desserts this holiday season.
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR:
For many of us, the holidays mean baking season.
As I was growing up, our house was always stocked with homemade treats — even more so at Christmas. Cookies and candies would be found in containers all around the kitchen and dining room.
We made and enjoyed everything — chocolate-covered peanut butter balls, snickerdoodles, fudge, frosted sugar cookies, caramels. It’s not too much of a wonder then that I have a big sweet tooth and now love baking as an adult.
When people hear that I am vegan and love to bake, they often ask how I can do it without eggs or dairy. The easy answer is this: I find recipes for all the desserts I love that someone else has already made plant-based.
This cinnamon roll recipe is one of my favorites and uses plant-based dairy alternatives or applesauce in lieu of traditional animal products. I highly recommend you try this recipe using applesauce where it’s an option instead of oil or butter. It doesn’t change the flavor, but it does make the rolls a little healthier than the oil version.
As for frosting, you can top these cinnamon rolls with whatever makes you happy. I love a plant-based cream cheese frosting, so I’ve included a recipe for it.
If the rolls will not all be eaten immediately, I’d recommend frosting only what will be enjoyed at that time and save the remaining frosting to spread on the rolls as you serve them. This helps keep everything fresh and prevents the rolls from getting soggy on top.
The cinnamon roll and cream cheese frosting recipes are both from Chocolate Covered Katie, a blog dedicated to making healthier desserts.