Submitted by Jim Becker.
This is a "veganized" version of my grandma's famous cinnamon rolls. She used to get up early on Christmas and make them for us so they'd be ready when we got up. My dad continued to make them for us most of my life and passed the recipe on to me. When I went vegan, I was determined not to lose this treat from my recipe box, so I set about the painstaking process of perfecting a recipe that would fool even my dad. The first time he tried it, I got a thumbs up. Mission accomplished! —iSchool Staff Connection
2 hours 30 minutes
active dry yeast
water, around 110 degrees
plain, unsweetened soy milk
vegan butter (I use Earth Balance sticks)
vegan egg replacer eggs (I use Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer)
unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
Filling and Frosting
1 1/4 cups
vegan butter/Earth Balance, divided
1 3/4 cups
sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
vegan cream cheese. I like Trader Joe's or Tofutti brand
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture and set aside to proof.
In a small sauce pan, combine the soy, sugar, butter, salt and ener-g eggs and heat until the butter is melted and everything is combined. Don't let it get too hot or it'll kill the yeast when you add it. Should be warm, but not too warm to the touch.
Once the yeast mixture is nice and foamy/poofy, pour the saucepan mixture into the bowl and stir to combine.
Add 4 cups of the flour into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Work it all together with a wooden spoon. It'll be pretty wet and more batter-like than dough-like. Add in two more cups of flour and mix it in a little. Don't panic that it's a mess, it's supposed to look like that. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it. Be gentle at first. It'll take about 5 minutes of kneading to get it together. Work all that flour into the dough. It should be smooth, kind of tacky, but not sticky.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 90 minutes on a warm surface. I usually start up my oven on the low setting and then turn it off and let the bowl sit on top of the oven.
When it's ready, put the dough back out onto a floured surface and punch it down. roll it out flat into a rectangle that's about 15x20. Melt 1/2 cup of Earth Balance and pour it onto the dough and brush it around so it covers the whole surface. It'll pool up here and there, but that's fine. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle it evenly over the dough.
Melt 1/4 cup of Earth Balance and pour it into a 9x13 baking dish, using a pastry brush to spread it around and make sure the sides are coated. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of sugar around evenly.
Roll your dough up slowly and gently, starting from a short side and working over. Set the rolled dough seam-side down and cut out your rolls. You should get about 12 rolls out of this. Put the cut rolls into the pan. Really pack 'em in tight. Let that rise for about 45 minutes if you're going to be baking them immediately. I sometimes do all this the night before and bake them in the morning. If you do that, just cover them and let them rise in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake them for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool completely before adding the frosting, or it'll melt and thin out.
Set 1/4 cup of Earth Balance and 1/3 cup of the vegan cream cheese out to soften up a bit. Put the into a bowl and use a stand mixer or handheld mixer to blend them together. Add the vanilla and combine. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing while you do to incorporate it. If you're whisking this by hand, you'll think I'm crazy and that it'll never come together. Don't give up hope! I promise, it'll smooth right out if you use a whisk and some elbow grease. Just when you think it's hopeless, it gets to where it's the right consistency. You'll be tempted to add some milk or other liquid, but don't!
Once the cinnamon rolls have cooled, spread the frosting over them evenly. Dig in and enjoy.