Saturday, July 5, 2014

And now for vegan cinnamon rolls

I take no credit for this amazing recipe. It comes right from Chloe Coscarelli's amazing first book, Chloe's Kitchen, and it makes you understand immediately why she has become so famous and so beloved overnight. Because these cinnamon rolls also become famous and beloved overnight.

And don't forget the raisins. They're important.

While this recipe is easy, it's still messy, and does require important resting and rising times for the dough. So, do yourself a favor -- and prepare the dough overnight. Much like making pizza dough, the process is simple, but the waiting is not. So, there! Now you know. And you can mentally steel yourself for having to watch, mouth-drooling and eyes longing at these lovely balls of dough until they are ready for human consumption.

But they are worth the wait.

The cinnamon rolls were my workplace's first introduction to my vegan baking skills, and received a hearty round of mouth-filled, unintelligible phrase from my 10 non-vegan coworkers and said something along the lines of: "um! nom nom nom nom NOM! mmmm!" Etc.

I now present -- Chef Chloe's Ooey Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup warm water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

  1. 3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
  2. 2 Tbsp sugar
  3. 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. 2 1/2 Tbsp Earth Balance, melted
  5. 3/4 Cup raisins

Drizzly Glaze:
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water

It's time.

Start by heating the soy milk, 1/2 Cup sugar, salt, and Earth Balance in a small saucepan over low heat until the EB is just melted. Remove the mixture from heat, stir it up real good, and add vanilla. Set your mixture aside until it is just warm to the touch -- you will be adding this to the yeast later, so make sure to wait until it's cool!

Meanwhile, mix together the warm water, 1 Tbsp sugar, and the yeast in a glass measuring cup. Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes, or until the yeast doubles in size. (This helps to test to make sure your yeast is still actively doing its yeasty job! If this step doesn't work, you need new yeast.)

In a bowl, combine the Earth Balance mixture with the yeast mixture. Add 2 1/2 Cups flour and continue to mix before adding another 2 Cups of flour. Some folks like to do this part of the job using an electric mixer, so don't be afraid of really putting some elbow grease into this step.

Lightly flour a surface, and then remove your dough from the mixing bowl and place it on your prepared surface. Don't be afraid if the dough seems sticky. It should be. Just knead it for about 2 minutes with your hands, and then oil-up a large cooking bowl (either with spray or buy rolling some oil around in the bowl). Place your dough in the bowl and roll it around so that the dough is covered so it doesn't stick later on!

You're getting to the almost half-way point. I promise. While you're waiting for those 10 minutes to pass, combine the tasty "innard" ingredients -- the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon -- in a small bowl. Also, lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan. A square pan will be waaaay too small, and you want to give the rolls room to breathe.

Once your dough has risen, punch it in the center so that the dough deflates. Take out any hidden aggression. Then, lightly flour your countertop or other flat surface and plop your dough out of the bowl. Roll it out using a rolling pin until you have a rectangle approximately 20" x 13". Melt your Earth Balance and spread or brush it evenly over the whole rectangle. Now spread out your cinnamon-sugar mixture and then dollop on some raisins. It will look like a lot of raisins, but it's not. Don't worry.

Now it's time to start rolling. Starting with the edge closest to yourself, turn your rectangle of dough into a nice, even log. You're next going to cut about 12 rolls from your log, but to keep things even, we'll first cut your log in half. And then in half again. And then thirds. So, that's, what? 4 x 3 = 12, right? Yeah, 12 rolls. There you go. Simple. Or, if you prefer to do things the more fastidious way, measure out 1.5" and cut at each 1.5" mark. You may end up with more or less than 12 rolls, but they will all be the *perfect* height.

Now take each roll and plunk it into your greased pan. I like to slide the knife underneath the roll during this short transportation process to keep brown sugar and raisins from spilling out. Make sure to leave a little space between each roll, because these things will expand, just like they're meant to do!

Now leave your cinnamon buns, rolled up and cut up and placed in a glass casserole pan, to sit overnight, or for at least 1.5 hours (covered by cling wrap). Do yourself a favor and let these guys sit someplace warm if you're in a hurry for them to rise:

Then bake uncovered at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius) for 20 minutes, until they're starting to look just brown on the tops. Don't bake for too long, or the ooey-gooey-ness will be lost to eeky-crunchy-ness.

Now let them sit. Again. I know, I'm sorry, but you're just not ready yet. The things that are worth having in life are either worth working for, or worth waiting for. You're at least lucky that you didn't really have to work hard for these.

While you're waiting, assemble your drizzly glaze by combining the powdered sugar and water and whisk until you have a smooth paste. Once the rolls have cooled down some -- using a fork, knife, spoon, or even your friendly whisk -- drizzle your lovely sugar glaze all over them, crissing and crossing as your heart desires!

Final step: Admire and Eat.

The finished product:


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