In our house, Christmas morning has always involved eating cinnamon buns while opening our stockings – there’s something about sticky fingers and wrapping paper (and shiny new gifts) that just works. 🙂 As a kid, my mom’s cinnamon rolls were dripping with golden, cinnamon-y syrup, and studded with raisins – so good!!
When I was 19, I worked as a baker in a small coffee shop, and it was there that I learned to make huge, delicious cinnamon rolls that glistened under a hefty schmear of cream cheese frosting. This version quickly became the standard, but when we eliminated eggs and dairy from our diet four years ago, I feared these rolls were going to be relegated to the furthest recesses of my cinnamon scented dreams.
I should know by now that my stomach always wins out, and there was no way I was going to give them up that easily.
I decided to try using my favourite no-knead dinner roll recipe to create a veganised version of our old favourite. The dough worked a treat, but it’s the cream cheese frosting that really makes these, and all I can say is, thank goodness for Violife!! Their non-dairy cream cheese is so bang-on that there’s nothing but the cow missing from these babies!
These only take a few hours to make, but you can play around with the timing by adjusting the amount of yeast you use. If you want to start the dough the night before and finish them off in the morning, just use cool water and milk, instead of warm, and reduce yeast to between 1/2 – 1 teaspoon. This should result in a rise time of 8 – 12 hours. Alternatively, complete the recipe up to the point of putting the rolls in the pan, and then just pop the whole thing (covered well so they don’t dry out) into the fridge overnight. Bring them out and leave them at room temperature while the oven preheats, and then bake them off.
If you don’t want cinnamon rolls as big as your head (um, why wouldn’t you?), just cut the dough in half after the first rise, rolling them out into two smaller rectangles, and divide the butter and cinnamon sugar mixture between the two. Cut each resulting log into 12 rolls and divide them between two well-greased 9 x 12 baking pans (this will give you 24 decent sized cinnamon buns).
Considering how quick and painless these are to make, don’t feel like you have to reserve them for special occasions. They make a decidedly decadent weekend breakfast (or lunch, or tea, or dessert), and pair perfectly with a good cup of coffee. Wrapping paper napkins optional.
Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing (Vegan)
These vegan, cream-cheese-topped cinnamon rolls are squishy, gooey, and decidedly decadent. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or an afternoon treat.
- 1 cup water (warmed)
- 1 cup soy milk (warmed) (can use oat or other unsweetened, non-dairy milk)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp yeast (reduce if starting the night before – see note)
- 2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp aquafaba (the water reserved from canned beans)
- 1/4 cup non-dairy butter, melted (plus more for brushing)
- 6 cups (930 grams) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (softened)
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 pkg Violife Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1 pinch salt (optional)
Heat milk and water until just warm/body temperature. Pour into bowl of stand mixer (or large bowl). Add sugar, stir to combine, then sprinkle over with yeast.
Measure and melt butter; measure flour. Gather remaining ingredients.
Ensure yeast is alive and active (it should look foamy after several minutes; if not, you might have to replace it with fresh yeast). If the yeast looks good, add salt, aquafaba, melted butter, and flour to the bowl with the liquids. Stir (use the dough hook if using a mixer, the handle of a wooden spoon if doing it by hand) until well combined (a minute or so). Dough will be somewhat sticky.
Leave dough in bowl; cover with a plate or something to keep dough from drying out. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour and a half).
Once risen, turn dough out onto floured countertop and press flat. Roll dough into a rectangle that's approximately 16 by 20 inches.
Spread softened butter over the dough, getting right to the edges, but leave a one inch band along the long edge at the top of the rectangle (furthest away from you).
Mix cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl, and then sprinkle evenly over the butter.
Wet your finger and run it along the 1 inch band of dough at the top that has no butter (this will help seal the rolls).
Begin rolling the dough up, starting with the long edge closest to you. Roll it up completely, rolling towards the bare edge that you pre-moistened.
Pinch your log of dough along the seam to seal it, and turn the ends under so the sugar mixture is completely enclosed within the log.
Slice the log into 12 pieces by cutting it in half, then each piece in half (so you have four sections). Cut each section into three evenly sized rolls.
Butter an 11 x 17' cookie sheet and/or line with parchment paper. Place the rolls on the pan in four rows of three, evenly spaced (place the ends cut side up).
Melt an additional 2 – 3 tablespoons of non-dairy butter and brush the sides of the rolls where they will eventually touch once risen (to make it easier to pull them apart). Brush any extra over the tops of the rolls. Cover with a piece of wax paper and a tea towel (or use plastic wrap) and set aside to rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).
About 15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Once rolls have risen, remove covering, and bake rolls until golden, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Remove rolls from the oven, and allow to cool most of the way.
While rolls are cooling, combine cream cheese and butter in a medium sized bowl. Beat until well combined. Add remaining ingredients and beat until frosting is smooth.
When rolls are cool, but still slightly warm, spread frosting evenly over the top.
These are best eaten fresh, but can be made ahead of time and frozen, then thawed overnight and warmed in a low oven just before eating (be careful not to heat them too much or the frosting will melt and run off). Twenty or thirty seconds in the microwave also works well.
These only take a few hours to make, but you can play around with the timing by adjusting the amount of yeast you use. If you want to start the dough the night before and finish them off in the morning, just use cool water and milk, instead of warm, and reduce the amount of yeast to between 1/2 – 1 teaspoon. This should result in a rise time of 8 – 12 hours. Alternatively, complete the recipe up to the point of putting the rolls in the pan, and then just pop the whole thing (wrapped well so they don’t dry out) into the fridge overnight. In the morning, ]take them out and leave them at room temperature while the oven preheats, and then bake them off.