Cinnamon rolls belong to those sins that one cannot resist! So when I decided to make vegan cinnamon rolls I tried a lot to make them as sinful as possible – fluffy, chewy, with aromas of freshly baked brioche and cinnamon and an addictive taste, just like the store-bought cinnamon rolls I ate once. As they are delicious, the last three-four years I bake a bunch of them during the Holy Week instead of the traditional Greek brioche and I share them with friends.
The recipe is very simple and it really deserves a try. Firstly, because these vegan cinnamon buns are much healthier and lighter compared to what is commercially available. Additionally, unlike most homemade buns, they remain fresh for days, they have a chewy texture and they are absolutely fantastic! The secrets to texture is to use good quality special flour for brioche and kneading –a lot of kneading!
Usually I prepare them during Holy Wednesday and I keep them unbaked in the refrigerator overnight. On Thursday morning I let them rise in a warm place and then I bake them for breakfast. This is an unforgettable, intense moment when I eat the first bite of these just baked, homemade, hot cinnamon rolls!
The next day we simply heat them a bit and they are like having been just baked. Prerequisite of course is to keep them in airtight container, preferably in the fridge. Besides this is the perfect way to consume a little more cinnamon, as it is considered one of the most healing spices. You can check some of the health benefits here! It’s amazing, isn’t it?
- 1 ¼ cups lukewarm vegan milk (I use almond milk)
- 1 sachet (8 g) dry yeast
- 3 ½ – 4 cups special flour for brioche
- ¾ cup (125 g) brown raw cane sugar
- 75g vegan butter melted
- 2-3 tbsp brandy or cognac
- 1 tbsp natural vanilla extract
- vegan milk for brushing
For the filling
- 1 cup brown raw cane sugar
- 80 g vegan butter at room temperature
- 3 ½ -4 tsp ground cinnamon
For the vanilla custard cream
- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- 4 tablespoons raw cane sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons natural vanilla extract
- Dissolve the yeast in half a cup of the lukewarm milk. Wait 10 minutes to activate. There should be formed dense bubbles on the milk surface. If not, the yeast is inactive and you have to throw it away and repeat the process with another package of yeast.
- Pour in the mixer bowl the yeast mixture, the remaining milk, the sugar, the brandy and the vanilla and mix well until sugar dissolves.
- Add in 2-3 doses two and a half cups of flour and mix for five minutes. Stop the mixer and continue kneading with hands adding gradually the remaining flour until it forms a smooth and soft dough that does not stick. The more you knead the dough, the less sticky it’ll be. Knead for about 10 minutes.
- Mold a ball with the dough and put it on a working surface. Dip your hands in the melted margarine and press the dough so as to widen. Then fold its four sides, dip again your hands in the margarine and press once more the dough so as to widen. Repeat the process until you use the entire amount of margarine.
- Mold the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Loosely cover with an oiled clear film and leave for 2-3 hours in a warm place to rest and double in volume.
- Prepare the filling: In a bowl mix well all the ingredients until creamy.
- Assembly: Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. When the dough has doubled in volume press with your hands to deflate, fold and knead lightly. Mold a ball and put on a lightly floured surface. Flour lightly and using a rolling pin roll out a rectangle 1 cm thick. With a spatula spread over the filling, leaving 1-2 cm from each side. Roll into a roll, cut and remove 2 cm from each end (use these pieces to make a small bun!) and then cut your roll into slices 3 cm thick. Place each slice in the baking pan, leaving a distance of 3 cm between them. Brush their surface with vegan milk. Cover with an oiled film and let rise in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hours or until doubled in volume.
- Bake in preheated oven to 200 oC or until golden.
- Make the custard cream: In a saucepan stir with a whisk all the ingredients and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until bubbles form on the surface and the custard thickens. Turn off the heat and stir for a few more minutes. With a spoon spread the hot cream over the cinnamon rolls and serve.