These vegan cinnamon rolls live up to the title of the book they come from: “Epic Vegan” is full of deliciously over-the-top treats that are totally free of animal products. This recipe for ooey-gooey cinnamon buns with vegan cream cheese frosting is like the best Cinnamon you’ve ever had, but completely plant-based.
Tips: You can make your own flax meal (or flaxseed meal) by briefly blitzing flax seeds to a powder in a blender, spice grinder, or small food processor; don’t over-process. If you’re new to yeasted dough, see our beginner’s tips for baking with yeast.
Variations: There are several easy ways to upgrade cinnamon rolls (store-bought or homemade); one that the author recommends is to sprinkle ¾ cup Quinoa Bacon Bits over the cinnamon-sugar spread before rolling up the dough. Sprinkle another ¼ cup over the rolls once they’ve been iced.
For the dough:
- 1 cup (235 ml) plus ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water, divided
- 2¼ teaspoons (5 g) active dry yeast (¼-ounce/7 g packet)
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) plus ½ cup (100 g) organic cane sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons (14 g) flax meal
- 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
- 1⁄3 cup (75 g) vegan butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Canola oil or cooking spray
For the filling:
- 1 cup (225 g) packed organic dark brown sugar
- ½ cup (112 g) vegan butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons (21 g) ground cinnamon
For the icing:
- 1½ cups (150 g) organic confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tablespoons (84 g) vegan butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup (60 g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pinches sea salt
To make the dough:
- 1In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup (235 ml) of the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the cane sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy.
- 2In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Set aside for 5 minutes, until thickened.
- 3In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar, flour, butter, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the flax mixture. Mix until everything just comes together. Knead on a floured surface or with the dough hook for 2 to 4 minutes, until a stiff, elastic dough forms. Coat the dough on all sides with canola oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Lightly coat a 9 × 13-inch (23 × 33-cm) baking dish with canola oil or cooking spray.
- 4Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 16 × 12-inch (40 × 30-cm) rectangle, about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick, with the long edge toward you.
To make the filling:
- 1In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll up the dough from the bottom to the top as tightly and evenly as possible; set it on its seam. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1½ inches (3.5 cm) thick.
- 2Place the rolls, cut-sides up, into the prepared baking dish. There should be 4 rows with 3 rolls in each, with some space between each roll. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes, or until they have risen and expanded. While they are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4).
- 3Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Let cool in the baking dish for 30 minutes.
To make the icing:
- 1In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
- 2Spread the icing over the tops of the rolls; it will melt a little. Dig in right away, but they’re better if you let the rolls sit for an additional 20 to 25 minutes for the icing to solidify.