Cinnamon Rolls for a Vegan Friend

Regardless of the ongoing plague and its social consequences, we managed to make some new friends in Toronto!

Since one of the things our species bond over is food, Achu decided to prepare some cinnamon rolls when we recently met our friends. (Some of the other things that our species bond over are tribalism, gossiping, common enemies, and angry pointless rants on social media, but that is a separate topic.)

One of our new friends is vegan, so some vegan-appropriate changes were made in the recipe. I am glad to report that both the food and bonding turned out quite well. I would like to share the recipe Achu used.

Look at these glorious cinnamon rolls!

We will make some dough, roll it out, add some fillings, roll the dough up, slice the rolled dough into smaller rolls, refrigerate the rolls overnight, bake them the next morning, and add some glazing.

For the dough, we’re using a modified version of a classic dinner roll recipe, with these ingredients:

We used cashew milk and virgin unrefined coconut oil. Don’t worry about the coconut oil: there will be no lingering smell or flavor of the oil in the final product.

We will need a few more ingredients to make the filling:

For the glaze:

Warm the milk until slightly hot to touch, about 45 to 60 seconds in a microwave oven. Add the yeast and coconut oil to the milk and let sit while you get dry ingredients together.

Take half the flour and 3 tablespoons of sugar, and mix well.

Dry ingredients in a bowl.

Pour the milk-yeast-oil mix into the dry ingredients, and mix well with a wooden spatula.

Dough preparation: add wet ingredients.

Add the remaining flour gradually as you continue mixing.

Dough preparation: combine dry and wet ingredients.

Once the dough comes together, transfer it to a lightly floured surface, and continue kneading for eight to ten minutes, until it forms a smooth round ball. Achu did all the kneading by hand, since we do not have a mixer.

Dough preparation: the kneading part.
Dough preparation: the well-knead dough ball.

Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough around to coat it with oil.

Dough preparation: the oiled dough ball.

Let the dough rest for ten minutes.

If using active dry yeast (and not rapid or instant rise yeast), let the dough rise until doubled in size (this will take about an hour or so) after kneading it into a smooth ball, then punch it down, roll it out, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Meanwhile prepare the filling: mix the powdered cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger with white or brown sugar.

The filling.

Then roll the dough out to a roughly 9"x16" rectangle. Use a pastry brush to brush coconut oil on the rolled out dough.

Brush with coconut oil.

Generously and uniformly sprinkle the filling over the rolled out dough.

Spread sugar-cinnamon mix evenly.

Starting with the longest edge closest to you, roll the dough tightly until you reach the seam, then pinch lightly to stop it from unraveling.

Roll the whole thing up.

Cut into twelve pieces or so. Use a sharp knife for clean cuts.

Cut the roll into slices.

You may want to pinch and join the ends of the sliced rolls.

Join the ends.

Arrange the rolls in an oiled baking dish. Cover with wrap or a cloth, and refrigerate overnight.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning, take the baking dish out and let it come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the rolls turn golden in color.

Baked rolls out of the oven.

For the glaze, powder sugar, or use confectioner’s sugar. Mix with vanilla and cashew milk until melted and gooey.

Make a glaze.

Then pour the glaze over right-out-of-oven rolls and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

The final product!

We waited for a little more than ten minutes before serving: we took the subway for the first time since the pandemic began, met our friends at Dufferin Grove Park, shared the food each of us had brought, and spent the whole day hanging out.

Final step: bask in appreciation.

And then together we proceeded to grab some food from Madras Masala, and hung out some more at Christie Pits Park, with some more really tasty food.

(Posted on August 16, 2020.)