Down here in the south residents love slow roasted barbecue, heavily creamed everything, and anything with shrimp in it. Growing up, these were foods I adored as much as the next southerner. However, as I’ve come to realize, those foods came with a hefty price. It was a price I have decided, ultimately, I can no longer pay, and therefore I am now a healthy, happy vegan living in South Carolina. This presents a wide range of responses from those I run into on a daily basis. Let me just tell you, we do NOT have many vegans around these parts! We have the occasional vegetarian, or those who go on veggie binges for the sake of health, but as for bona fide vegans….I have yet to meet one. Now, that is certainly not to say there are none, but at this moment in time, I have yet to have been made privy to another with my diet. Maybe they will read this post and comment in the section below. I’d like that…hint hint, nudge nudge. Lonely vegan over here!
This being said, South Carolina is slowly but surely offering more and more vegan friendly options. I am always delighted when I accidentally stumble upon some delectable looking morsel to find that it is vegan, bonus if it is marketed as such too! So naturally I was ecstatic when I found some tasty looking cinnamon rolls at my local farmer’s market this Saturday. These bad boys were on a tray all of their own next to a chalkboard sign that read “VEGAN CINNAMON ROLLS”. Yes, I had already stuffed my face with a toasted everything bagel topped with red pepper hummus, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast….but that was savory…my sweet side was still empty, right? So I sauntered on up the counter and excitedly ordered my cinnamon goodness. The owner, Mimi, was telling me how I wouldn’t even notice the difference since it was vegan. I happily told her I was actually vegan myself so this was a wonderful treat to find! We shared a nice look of understanding and then I wondered off with my hands full of fresh veggies, vegan wine (more on that in another post coming up), and this cinnamon roll.
As I walked to my car with my arms full, I started thinking about the last time I had a cinnamon roll….and went blank. Once I reached my car I told myself I would get home and then heat up the roll a bit in the oven. I had hardly turned the car on though before a snuck a forkful into my mouth. Pure, heavenly, bliss touched my taste buds! Before I knew it, I was shoveling bites in at every stop light. By the time I made it home there was nothing but a few crumbs and the container it came in for proof it even existed. Why had it been so long since I’d had a cinnamon roll?! I mean, what was I doing this to myself for? Memories flooded back of Saturday mornings rich with the scent of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven; my mother letting me slather on the icing and always picking the one with the most on it! *sigh*
So, on Sunday I decided I needed this whole experience again. Being honest with myself, I know baking is not my strong suit (yet), so I elected to find a recipe online from a pro. I chose to model my recipe from the wonderful blog of John and Dana, The Minimalist Baker. They have a fabulous looking recipe called “The World’s Easiest Cinnamon Rolls”. It was fate, these cinnamon rolls were going down. I ended up changing a good bit from their recipe and….holy cow! Talk about boosting my baker ego! I am amazed at how delicious they turned out! I was mainly surprised because I only had whole wheat flour on hand. For baking purposes, this often makes your dough drier. However, it also made my rolls packed with fiber. The best part, turned out to be perfect cinnamon roll texture!! A little bit crunchy on the outside while remaining soft on the inside. I added pecans too so there was a delicious layer of flavor in every bite….mhmm….and there I was again. Pure. Cinnamon. Bliss. Now, allow me to share!
P.S. Do you have any secret cinnamon roll ingredients you add? I got to thinking afterwards that there are numerous ways you could mix this recipe up. Let me know in the comments below!
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1½ cup non dairy milk (I used plain soy)
- 5 tbs vegan butter
- medium pinch of salt (about ¼ tsp)
- 2½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tbs cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbs + ½ tsp water
- Place small sauce pan on stove on medium heat. Add milk and 3 tbs butter. Once butter is melted take off stove. Feel with finger **be careful in case it is hot!** The milk/butter sauce should be luke warm. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast, too cold and it won't activate it....you don't want that.
- Pour the milk/butter into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast packet on top. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Now, add the flour in ½ cup segments, stirring as you go. Dough should be pretty tacky. If it is dry, add a splash more water. Once dough is tacky, remove from bowl and place on lightly floured area. Knead for about a minute then rinse the mixing bowl out. Pour a little oil in it (I used safflower oi) and place dough ball back in bowl. Cover with damp cloth. Let dough sit in a warmish area for 1 hour.
- After 1 hour, dough should be about twice the size as when you started. Punch the dough ball. I am not actually sure this part is necessary but it is fun as shit.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface. Attempt to roll dough into a thin square or rectangle. I say attempt because this is easier said than done. It is ok if it is a weird looking circle, it will taste good just look a bit funny.
- Melt remaining 2 tbs of butter and spread onto flattened out dough. Sprinkle, sugar, cinnamon, and pecans evenly on dough.
- Take one end of the dough and tightly roll it until you have a log.
- Slice into about 10-12 pieces. I recommend a serrated knife for this part.
- Place your mini dough rolls into a greased 8x8 baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- While rolls are baking, prepare your icing. If you are like me you want a ton of icing, so double the above icing recipe. Also, I do not keep powdered sugar on hand, but you can make it in a flash. Just add whatever type of sugar you choose into a small blender like a bullet and blend until it forms into powdered sugar. Voila!
- Pour icing on warm rolls. you can wait until they are cooled if you would like. I prefer the warmth of the rolls to even the icing out for me, it seeps into every crevice this way. If you wait until they are completely cool, you depict exactly where you want your icing though. You decide what works for you! Enjoy!