One-hour Cinnamon Rolls

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As someone who eats almost entirely vegan but indulges in dairy on rare occasion, my strategy for coming up with particularly tricky veganized versions of classic dishes often involves attempting to make the original versions first. In order to try to make a vegan version as similar as possible, I’ll taste some of the original to get an idea of what I’m aiming for, and give the rest away to friends. I try to avoid making non-vegan food whenever possible, but with cinnamon rolls, I knew I needed a reference point; I’d never made them before, and had no idea what homemade ones should taste like!

And this slightly modified version of a recipe from Averiecooks turned out amazingly. In fact, I was shocked at their resemblance to Cinnabon, especially considering that these only took an hour. The insides were tender and buttery, and the sweetness was perfectly offset by the tartness of the cream cheese frosting; my friends devoured them within minutes. I even added a splash of Bailey’s to the frosting for some St. Patrick’s weekend spirit!

As for the vegan version coming up: hopefully, curdling some soymilk will have a similar effect to the buttermilk called for, Earth balance should easily replace the butter, and I’ll be substituting Daiya cream cheese in for the frosting. If you try these (or other) substitutions, let me know how it goes!

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Makes about eight 3″ cinnamon rolls

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, warmed
  • 2 & 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Inside filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), very soft
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, very soft
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (Or more if you like it sweeter)
  • ~1 tbs half and half, milk, or Bailey’s, to your desired consistency
  • Dash of vanilla

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Directions

(See photos of the whole process below!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ round or square pan.

2. Combine flour, buttermilk, yeast, oil, salt, and sugar in a bowl, and mix until it begins to form a ball. Turn onto a large cutting board or other clean surface, and knead for about 5 minutes either by hand or with a stand mixer. The ball should be smooth, no longer sticky, and getting difficult to knead.

3. Using a rolling pin or similar shaped object (since my rolling pin is back home, I had to use a jar!), roll out the dough until it is about 9″13 inches–you can use your 9″ pan for reference.

4. Spread the butter across the dough leaving a small margin at the edges. In a bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon; sprinkle the mixture across the top of the butter in an even layer.

5. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough relatively tightly into a log. Depending on how large you want your cinnamon rolls, cut the log at 1-2″ intervals using a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss.

6. Arrange your rolls in the pan leaving at least 1/2″ between them, and reshape them a bit if they got squished during the cutting process. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the exposed parts of the dough aren’t squishy when tapped. (Warning: if you don’t leave a bit of space between the rolls when you first put them in the pan, the dough between them could end up raw, and they will be hard to separate! They’ll spread out into each other as they bake, so leave them a little room to do that.)

7. While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla, and add liquid(s) of your choice until it reaches your desired consistency.

8. Remove the rolls from the oven, top with glaze, and serve immediately! Some of the cinnamon-sugar-butter sauce will be at the bottom of the pan; we found scooping it back on top of the rolls was a fun sort of second glaze!

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