For a long time after coming to the United States, I associated the smell of cinnamon rolls with shopping malls: not my favorite places. The reason being those ubiquitous Cinnabon chains known for their fluffy, delicious cinnamon rolls oozing with sticky frosting and a bazillion calories, no doubt. But there’s nothing like the warm smell of fresh-baked cinnamon to kick up your cravings and make you think you’re hungry when you’re not.
Of course, after going vegan and giving up all things of dubious origin, I had to stop treating myself to those mall-bought cinnamon rolls. And I was forced to come up with my own version.
I will not claim these rolls are healthy: but some treats are not meant to be, otherwise they stop being treats. But I am pretty sure they are much healthier than anything you can buy. Plus, they are vegan and therefore free of any dairy or egg products, which– I’d say– makes them better for you.
(Makes 12 rolls)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast + 1/2 cup warm (NOT hot) water. Stir together and set aside.
In a large bowl, add: 1/2 cup hot, but not boiling, soymilk (plain or vanilla) 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1/3 cup transfat-free vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp EnerG egg replacer + 2 tbsp warm water (use corn starch with the same amount of water as a substitute)
2 cups all-purpose flour
Mix at low speed if using a stand mixer, or by hand, for about 2-3 minutes until the ingredients are well mixed.
Add to this: The yeast mixture, and Another 1 to 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, a little at a time, to form a smooth dough.
Knead for a couple of minutes, by hand or on low speed if using a stand mixer.
Remove the dough to a bowl coated with oil and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (I leave it in the unheated oven with the light on).
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll it into a rectangle on a floured surface, about 14 inches in length and 9 inches in width.
Brush the surface with canola oil. Mix together: 1/2 cup sugar 1 tbsp ground cinnamon 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped .
Sprinkle the sugar-walnut-cinnamon mixture evenly on the dough.
Now, starting at the 14-inch side, roll up the dough and press the edges together to seal them.
Cut the roll at about 1-inch intervals, to make 12-15 individual rolls.
Place the rolls side by side in a standard rectangular 9X12-inch pan brushed with oil. You can sprinkle some sugar mixed with ground cinnamon at the bottom of the pan, before putting the rolls in.
Set the rolls aside, again in a warm place, for about 45-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (if your rolls are rising in the oven, be sure you take them out before you preheat!)
Bake the rolls for 30 minutes until nicely browned. Remove and place on a rack to cool slightly when you can go ahead and frost them.
“Cream Cheese” Glaze:
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese, like Tofutti
1/3- 1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients together, adding a little sugar at a time, until you have a smooth glaze.
Drizzle or spread the glaze over the still-warm rolls and serve. Enjoy!
(Nutrition Estimate: Serving Size 1 cinnamon roll with Tofutti cream cheese glaze. Calories: 245; Total Fat 7.5 grams (Saturated Fat 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.5 g); Carbohydrates 40.8 grams; Dietary Fiber 1.2 grams; Protein 3.9 grams)