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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Good Enough to Pay People With

January 17, 2017

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls Good Enough to Pay People With

We decided against getting trash pick up service when me moved in June; we live pretty close to a transfer station now and figured it would be convenient, and also we that it would be a good way to commit to a lower waste lifestyle. The latter has proved to be true, we don’t make a lot of trash. We do however keep missing the odd hours of the transfer station, and as of today we hadn’t gone in over a month. In a stroke of genius, I texted a nearby friend with a giant pick up truck and a contracting business, asking if he would be willing to barter a loaf of fresh bread or a pan of cinnamon rolls for trash pick up. I got an enthusiastic yes, and started working on the dough for the rolls. I have been making variations of these for a few months, and they are not as difficult to make as you might think cinnamon rolls would be. These rolls can be vegan or not, but the vegan option is no less delicious, and the more budget friendly option if you’re using high quality ingredients.

I use my Instant Pot on the Yogurt setting to rise or “proof” the dough in because it’s a nice steady 90F degrees, but you could use a dehydrator set to 90 or turn your oven to 350F for five minutes and then shut it off, and in either case cover your bowl of dough with a damp cloth while it rises. The oven method may take slightly longer, just be sure the dough doubles in size. This recipe fills two 8″ round pans (this is the best option, pan for you and a pan for someone else!), or one 9×11″ pan.

  • 3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup dairy, almond, or coconut milk (the drinking kind not the one from the can)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbls flax meal soaked in 3 tbls water) or one egg
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tablespoons instant yeast, I really like Saf brand yeast

Mix all these ingredients together, and knead by hand for 10 minutes, or use a stand mixer if you’re fancy like that. The dough should be springy and cohesive and if you poke it the poke spot should bounce back easily. Let the dough rise using one of the methods above for 90 minutes, or until it at least doubles in size. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface, or, as I prefer for less mess, a non stick baking sheet, and gently flatten as if you were making a rectangular pizza.  Then mix together:

  • 3 tbls molasses
  • 1 tbls cinnamon
  • 2 tbls granulated sugar
  • 2 tbls melted coconut oil

Spread this mixture evenly across the surface of the dough. If you like raisins, sprinkle some over the whole thing. You could even add some small walnut or pecan pieces if you wanted to get fancy. Now slowly roll the dough lengthwise to create a long log. Then you are going to cut the log into rolls. You’re going to use dental floss. Stay with me here. Here’s a really great video on how to do this.  This is the secret to perfect looking rolls! Thanks internet. Place each roll in your pan, leaving room for them to each double in size again. Let your oven preheat to 350F for two minutes and then turn it off. It obviously won’t get to 350F in that time, but it will get warm enough for the dough to rise a second time. Cover the pan with a damp cloth, and set the rolls in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the rolls are plumply filling the pan. Take the rolls out of the oven, place on top of the stove to keep them a little warm, and preheat your oven to 350F for real this time. Remove the damp cloth if you haven’t already, and bake the rolls for about 15 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve warm! You can warm them back up with a damp cloth over the top in the oven for 5 minutes or so.

I hope you love these as much as I do, and that so you your friends so that you can pay them in cinnamon rolls too. If you try any variations I would love to hear them, especially gluten free or with less sugar.


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  1. […] I also do a lot of vegan substitutions in my baking. Flax eggs instead of chicken eggs, and coconut oil instead of butter are my go to budget options since I do a ton of baking. A dozen local free range eggs can be more than $5, so I prefer to save our eggs for breakfast time scrambled or fried, and keep a bag of flax meal around to make a quick flax egg whenever I need it for baking. Same goes for local grass fed butter, it’s not cheap stuff, but I can get a giant jar of organic virgin coconut oil at Costco for $17 and it lasts me a few months. Coconut oil is a one to one substitution with butter, so it’s an easy swap to make and one you don’t notice in most baked goods. These vegan cinnamon rolls are amazing and a really affordable treat/gift/method of payment for favors. I will share the recipe in a post soon! (edited to add, here it is!) […]

  2. […] I have struggled with milk supply at different points in my journey with nursing, most recently early this winter when I let my calorie intake dip too low and came face to face with the decision to wean or not. I decided to hang in there and really commit to building my supply back up, and eating a diet rich in galactagogues was a big part of my success. Also now that my period has finally returned post-partum, I have been working to increase my iron intake as well. There are tons of recipes out there for lactation cookies, but I have yet to see one for lactation cinnamon rolls! These rolls are packed with ingredients to meet all three of these goals; upping my calorie intake by having one handed food rich in healthy fats available, packing a ton of galactagogues into a single package (I have marked them with a *) , and adding some iron rich foods in as well (Marked with Fe). Prepare this recipe with the exact same directions as my vegan cinnamon rolls. […]

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