Vegan Cardamom-Cinnamon Rolls, adapted from Naturally Ella
In my ongoing quest to make delicious vegan baked goods (only one week left for the Vegan Experiment, though we might extend it), I decided to make cinnamon rolls to welcome back my honey from the wilds of upper peninsula Michigan. He returned late last night so I volunteered for morning tea duty, mostly so I could sneak a few of these delectable morsels into the toaster oven to warm without him knowing (the element of surprise is sometimes the best part of baking). We found them to be the perfect slow-and-sleepy wake-up/return to reality treat — and no animal products were involved to boot. There’s a bit of whole wheat pastry flour here, some maple syrup, and cardamom which serves to elevate these little rolls into something rather extraordinary – vegan or no. I didn’t include nuts in this batch, which was my mistake; the recipe fairly begs for a scattering of toasted walnuts, almonds, or a mix of both. Next time.
Makes 8-10 rolls (10 if you cut them small)
For the dough
3/4 cup almond milk, warmed
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
3 tablespoons water
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
1/2-1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamon
optional: 1/2 cup sliced almonds or chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dash maple syrup (optional)
In a small bowl combine ground flax seed and water, set aside. Gently warm almond milk in a saucepan over low heat.
In a large bowl, mix almond milk, yeast, and maple syrup. Let sit for about five minutes or so to activate the yeast. Add oil, flax seed mixture, salt, and the whole wheat pastry flour. Stir well until a shaggy dough begins to form, then begin adding the all-purpose flour in 1/4 cup at a time. Add flour until dough is soft (but not sticky). Knead for about 5-7 minutes then form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover, and let rest/rise in a warm, draft free spot for 1- 1 1/2 hours.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 8 by 12 rectangle. Whisk the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamon together in a small bowl. Brush oil and maple syrup over the entire surface of the dough, and sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly across surface. Scatter the nuts evenly, if using.
Beginning with the the edge closest to you and rolling away from you, tuck the dough in as you go to form a log. Squeeze it just a little and mark out eight rolls. Place in a round cake pan (I used a springform pan) that has been greased lightly with oil. Cover with a warm towel and let rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.
After about a half hour of rising, turn oven to 350˚, then bake for about 20-25 minutes (perhaps less; my oven runs slow). Rolls should be firm to the touch and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
To make the icing, place powdered sugar and vanilla extract and maple syrup if using in a bowl – add only enough almond milk to get a thick consistency. Generously drizzle the icing over the rolls, then dust with granulated sugar.