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a pan of vanilla cinnamon rolls drizzled with vanilla bourbon glaze

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

By: Brittany Angell
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Prep Time: 30 mins
Rise Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Drizzled with the yummiest vanilla bourbon glaze, these homemade vegan cinnamon rolls are incredibly delicious, fluffy, and really easy to make!

Ingredients  

  • For the Yeast + Milk Mixture
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon 161 grams dairy-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fast-acting/instant yeast
  • For the Dough
  • 3 cups + 1 tablespoon 430 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces smooth applesauce regular or unsweetened
  • ¼ cup 46 grams avocado oil
  • ¼ cup 57 grams organic cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • For the Filling
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • For the Vanilla Bourbon Glaze
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ - 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • For the Pan
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter melted
  • 4 tablespoons vegan heavy cream or dairy-free milk divided

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200°F.
  • To a measuring cup, add ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon of dairy-free milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Warm the mixture up in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds, then give it a stir and make sure it is only lukewarm. If it’s hot, allow it to cool for a minute or two. Once lukewarm, stir in the yeast and place the cup on top of the preheating oven.
  • Add all of the dough ingredients (flour, applesauce, avocado oil, cane sugar, and salt) either to the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, being sure to weigh them out carefully using a baking scale.
  • If the yeast mixture has started to bubble and froth, you know your yeast is alive. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dough ingredients.
  • Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and mix starting on low and working your way up to medium. Keep the mixer on for about 7 minutes -- you will end up with a smooth, tacky, and sticky dough.
  • Prepare a large glass bowl by coating it with oil, and then, using a spatula, scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl into the prepared glass bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap, and turn off the oven. Place the bowl into the warm (turned off) oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. Keep the door open a crack for these 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, close the oven door (with the bowl of dough inside) and set a timer for 50 more minutes. You’ll know the dough is done rising when it doubles in size -- see tips and tricks below if you are struggling to get a good rise.
  • Remove the dough from the oven and turn the oven back on to preheat it to 375°F. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your work surface and sprinkle a good amount of flour across the surface. Add your cinnamon roll dough to the center by flipping the bowl upside down, then sprinkle more flour on top of the dough. (Use just enough flour to prevent sticking – try not to overdo it.) Press the dough out so that it’s 14 inches by 12 inches, then spread the softened butter across the surface, leaving ½ of an inch uncovered around the edges. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the buttered surface.
  • Using your hands or the parchment as your guide, roll up the dough. Start by rolling up a little at a time, moving back and forth across the whole width as you go. After you do your first roll, give the dough a tiny tug to make sure it’s nice and tight and continue the process. After each new roll, give the dough another little tug to keep the roll nice and tight. When you reach the end, roll it so that it is seam-side down.
  • Using a sharp knife, trim off the end pieces if they are less thick/uniform. Using your ruler and knife, mark every 1 ½ inches (this will give you 9 same-sized buns.) Using a sharp knife, bench scraper, or floss, gently cut each roll.
  • Place two tablespoons of melted butter into your pan, then add the cinnamon rolls to the pan, spacing them out a ½-inch apart if possible. Brush 2 tablespoons of the cream or milk on the tops and sides of the rolls, cover the pan again with saran wrap or a kitchen towel, and place it on top of the warm oven until the rolls double in size (30-60 minutes).
  • Once they have doubled in size, remove the cover on the pan and brush the rolls a second time with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dairy-free milk or vegan heavy cream.  Place them into the 375°F oven and bake for 20-23 minutes. Keep an eye on them and cover them with tinfoil for the last few minutes if they brown too quickly. When finished, they should be golden brown and you should see no raw pieces on the top of the buns.
  • While the rolls bake, make the glaze. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and bourbon to a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Spread over the hot buns when you remove them from the oven.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Tips and Tricks:
  • Use a baking scale: for best results use a baking scale to make these cinnamon rolls. The cup amounts are included primarily to give you an idea of the amounts needed. The flour and liquid amounts need to be exact for the recipe to turn out perfect.
  • The dough should be tacky/sticky: when fully mixed, this cinnamon roll dough should be tacky/sticky.
  • Make sure your milk is lukewarm: the temperature of your dairy-free milk should be lukewarm. If it’s hot, it will kill the yeast, and if it’s cold, you won’t be able to tell if it is alive and will work in the bread for you.
  • Use a glass bowl: using a glass bowl in step 4 is important. It conducts heat best and allows for the dough to warm and proof up nicely.
  • If your dough isn’t rising: if, after 45 minutes, your dough has not risen, this typically means that it’s not warm enough to do so. Remove it from the oven, turn on the oven to 475°F, place the bowl of dough on the warmest spot on your stovetop, and reset the clock for the proofing time. This can also be the result of not using the gram measurements and the dough being too dry, which requires a longer rise.
  • Use softened butter: make sure the vegan butter for the filling is a soft, easy-to-spread consistency. If it’s melted, it may just run off the dough.
  • Invest in an oven thermometer: I recommend investing in a little $10 oven thermometer that hangs on the rack so that you can make sure your temperature is what it is supposed to be. Oven temperature can make or break how bread recipes turn out.
  • Use the right pan: for the pan, a variety of sizes can be used. The most ideal pan size for these buns is an 11x9. A 10-inch deep cast-iron skillet or a 10-inch springform pan will also work. Make sure that the sides of your pan are at least 2 inches tall, but 3 inches is preferable.