Saturday, November 7, 2015

Vegan cinnamon rolls

vegan cinnamon rolls

“Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast food?” A notable quote from the show Parks and Recreation. A show that I happen to be in the midst of binge-watching, starting from season one, because holy shit it is good. I had heard so much about it that I couldn’t resist trying a few episodes for myself, and now it’s too late—I’m addicted.

Which is extremely unusual, because I never watch TV. And I don’t say that in a bragging sort of way—“Oh, I don’t watch television, I’m not a little sheep, haha you plebs”—all that time the average person spends watching TV, I spend browsing the internet. Like many people my age. So I’ve never really gotten obsessed with a show like this before.

Now I understand.

(I am also grateful that I live in an age where entire seasons of shows are available through various streaming sites, instantly, and I don’t have to schlep over to Blockbuster or wherever the hell people went before Netflix.)

But that’s a whole other conversation. Back to breakfast food.

People are idiots, Leslie. source

I’ve been meaning to make cinnamon rolls for the longest time. I think we can all agree that cinnamon rolls are empirically delicious and addictive and have perhaps one of the best smells in the world. Their only drawback? They take a loooong time to make, compared to other breakfast foods (waffles, anyone?). There’s the mixing and kneading of the dough. The first rise. The rolling out of the cinnamon rolls. The second rise. And finally, you get to bake your rolls, five years after you first pulled out the recipe. Not exactly the easiest recipe to pull out for an impromptu brunch.

Don't get me wrong! We still love you, cinnamon rolls!

So naturally, I procrastinated. It was only last month when I finally pulled myself up by the bootstraps and decided to bake the rolls the day before we would eat them.

Friday afternoon, I baked the rolls. Saturday morning, we heated them up on the stovetop for a few minutes before drenching them in glaze and eating an unreasonable quantity of these fluffy, cinnamon-y, sweet dough babies. Worked out pretty well.

In addition, because this recipe makes so many rolls, you might find that, if you don’t live with a hungry family of four, you can’t eat all of the rolls at once. That’s okay! Just wrap up the leftovers and freeze them for emergencies and impromptu brunches. I mean, imagine how convenient that could be someday!

Friend: Okay, so we’re having brunch at your place. What are we eating?

You: Hmmm, I don’t know. Oh wait! I have some FRESH, HOMEMADE cinnamon rolls in the freezer. Lemme just heat them up in the oven while I make some coffee.

Friend: Danggg fancy. [is impressed]

Yeah. That’s exactly how it would go. 

There's nothing more impressive (and life-changing) than homemade cinnamon rolls.

And let me assure you, these rolls are fancy. The dough is so impossibly soft and fluffy and buttery, primarily thanks to the sugar-and-butter “pan sauce” the rolls are baked in. Don’t leave that out. It works.

Also, don’t leave out the glaze. It is essential to maximize deliciousness.

Here’s the recipe.


Vegan cinnamon rolls

Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Makes about 16 large rolls


Yeast mixture

16 grams • active dry yeast • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

4 grams • granulated sugar • 1 teaspoon

244 grams • water, 110 degrees F • 1 cup


244 grams • nondairy milk • 1 cup

134 grams • granulated sugar • 2/3 cup

150 grams • coconut oil • 2/3 cup

12 grams • salt • 2 teaspoons

8 grams • Ener-g egg replacer • 1 tablespoon

45 grams • water • 3 tablespoons

816 grams • all-purpose flour • 6 cups


112 grams • vegan butter, melted • ½ cup

300 grams • granulated sugar • 1 ½ cups

24 grams • cinnamon • 3 tablespoons

Pan sauce

112 grams • vegan butter, melted • ½ cup

68 grams • granulated sugar • 1/3 cup


120 grams • powdered sugar • 1 cup

30 grams • nondairy milk • 2 tablespoons

2 grams • vanilla extract • ½ teaspoon


Combine ingredients under “yeast mixture” in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Set aside to proof.

For the dough, start by combining milk, sugar, coconut oil, salt, Ener-g egg replacer, and water in a small saucepan. Heat until coconut oil is melted and ingredients are combined. Do not over-heat—the mixture should feel warm to the touch, but not too hot, lest you kill the yeast.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into the stand mixer along with the yeast, which should be puffy and nicely proofed by now. Mix to combine. Add flour and mix well.

Fit the stand mixer with a dough hook and knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, not sticky.

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.

Once risen, gently punch down the dough and turn out onto a well-floured surface. Roll out into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle. Brush the melted vegan butter (under “filling”) onto dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over dough. Starting from the long side, roll up dough into a tight roll. Use a serrated / very sharp knife to cut the dough into slices.

Pour melted vegan butter under “pan sauce” in your baking pan of choice. I used two 9-inch round baking pans, but a casserole dish or a 9 x 13 baking pan would work equally well. Sprinkle with 68 grams • 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Place cinnamon rolls in buttered-up baking pan, leaving plenty of space between them. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cinnamon rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

If you want to make glaze, simply whisk together ingredients under “glaze” in a small bowl. Drizzle over buns. Munch.


The background is white because the rolls are so heavenly.

For more doughy breakfast foods, click the following links.

Baklava pull-apart bread. Ridiculously rich and delicious.

Chocolate peanut butter swirl bread. You never knew it was possible before, but now you do.

Chocolate hazelnut babka with streusel topping. A game-changer when it comes to babka.

Cinnamon roll pancakes with "cream cheese" glaze. For those who are too lazy to make cinnamon rolls on the reg (read: me). 


  1. Mmmm I love cinnamon rolls :D These looks absolutely amazing, and so fluffy! :D

    1. They are SUPER fluffy. I'd never had such fluffy cinnamon rolls :)

  2. These look so delicious and perfect! So envious that you've got some in your freezer! I do the same thing but it doesn't really work as a deterrent to my family-they eat them within a couple of days...I've never tried baking with vegan butter before so shall have to give it a go!

    1. Actually, we *don't* have any in the freezer anymore--we ate them all :P They're just too tempting! I hope you do try these--and let me know how you like them :)

  3. Now that I've seen this post, I canNOT stop thinking about cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
    *checks freezer*
    *sees there are no cinnamon rolls*
    Also, I haven't gotten on the Parks & Rec train yet and I literally thought I was the only person in the world who hasn't seen it yet. Obviously I need to give it a try, because everyone is raving about it!

    1. I'm pretty sure it's impossible not to love Parks and Rec, you should totally try it out :D