A couple years ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals. It didn’t have too much effect on my life at the time (I was dating a vegan and in Vietnamese culture you eat vegan after a family member dies for awhile anyways), but it’s echoed since then in the form of my friend Edward , who became vegan after reading it during a visit to me. A few months after that, I visited him in Seattle and made these bomb cinnamon rolls. They’re just incredible, you can’t tell they’re vegan, and sometimes when people find out they’re completely incredulous. But you have to make them while watching TV/doing laundry/blogging because they take about THREE HOURS (maybe 20-30 minutes of active time).
The story was to explain why I sometimes do vegan baking. My math big brother is also vegan, so I sometimes bring in baked goods and he can have them. These cinnamon rolls are the first vegan thing I ever baked.
That said, I failed this time because I didn’t have any Earth Balance in my house, and my roommate shops at Costco so it’s hard to justify buying it when we have something like five pounds of butter sitting in the freezer.
It’s around 3:14 but it’s not pumpkin pi time… it’s pumpkin cinnamon roll time!
First, mix your yeast with your hot water. It’s a packet to a tablespoon, and it smells awful, and you need to do it asap to give the yeast time to do their thang. Then turn on your oven. Basically to whatever temperature- I did 350 because it’s the default. The point is to heat up the oven, and then after a few minutes you turn it off so you have a “warm place free from drafts” for your dough to rise in.
While you’re waiting for your yeast to chitchat and the oven to warm up, you can prep the rest of your ingredients/workplace. Mix up the pumpkin, melted margarine (oops), sugar (only a heaping tablespoon!), and soy milk. That’ll mix with your yeast in a few minutes. Meanwhile, clean your countertop or table, then sprinkle a bunch of flour all over it. Put 3/4 cup of flour in a bowl nearby with a tablespoon.
The skeptical Canadian was always suspicious of canned pumpkin. “You say that’s pure, eh?”
There’s no plaid at this prep school, but there are lots of flour prints
Sift together the flour and spices and salt (I skipped this because I was using salted butter) (Also I skipped this step because I don’t sift things). Point being, measure out your stuff.
By now you can turn off your oven, hopefully it’s around 150 in there. Crack it open while you mix your wet ingredients with the yeast, then add the dry.
Pumpkin puree, there ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you, babe. Even if that mountain is covered in spices.
I just used a fork- you’ll get very sticky dough. Just keep mixing it until it’s smooth. Then it’s KNEADING TIME. Throw that dough onto your floured surface, and start tossing flour on it a tablespoon at a time. Knead, knead, turn, flour, knead, knead, turn, etc. for about ten minutes. Honestly I’m awful at kneading so I won’t tell you how to do it, just try.
I’m just such a commitmentphobe- I hate being kneady.
It’ll be a beautiful soft ball, a little sticky but not nearly as much as you started, and if you poke it it’ll gently bounce back slowly.
It’s so beautiful, I might start crying. Even BALLing.
Throw it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and chuck it in your heated-then slightly cooled oven. Close that up and let sit for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size. I
was productive played a lot of Candy Crush during that time.
After that hour, pull it out, punch it down, cover, and re-flour your surface. Clean up all your bowls etc. and prepare the filling while you let it sit.
If we crossed Hansel and Gretel with a scandalous show about vampires, could we call it Struesel Blood?
Filling is a standard streusel- I suggest doubling the recipe. Sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cut in chilled pieces of margarine until it looks like coarse crumbs, or in my case, until you’re sick of cutting it up.
Now you can uncover your dough, throw it on your floured surface, and roll it out. You really won’t need extra flour because it’s already oiled so it won’t stick to your rolling pin.
It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but this version of pinball is way older than that newfangled version the kids are playing in them arcades nowadays.
Roll it out to a giant rectangle- it’ll be pretty thin (like 1/4 inch) but it’s pretty easy to make a rectangle. Then sprinkle your filling all over it, and start rolling it up tight, from the long edge.
Though a rolling stone gathers no moss, a rolling pastry gathers lots of filling.
Then pinch the ends and seam to keep in the filling, and cut it up- I do cut in half, then cut each half in thirds, and then those in half to make 12 “even” sized pieces.
If you cut me, I will bleed deliciousness. So be careful to not lose too much filling on these.
Now tuck them all in an oiled 9″ dish (circle or square) and cover it. Let sit for about half an hour.
Actual bake time, for all that waiting, is happily quite short: 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Top it with a quick icing, made by mixing lots of powdered sugar, a little vanilla, and some warm water:
Time to cop a powder(ed sugar)
As with Chicago, all lines lead to the gLoop
Cool, drizzle, and eat!
Recipe from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk, just slightly modified:
1 package yeast
1/4 c warm water
Turn on your oven. Let the yeast sit for 5-10 minutes while you mix:
3/4 c pumpkin
1/4 c soy milk
1/4 c melted margarine
1 heaping TB sugar
And sift together:
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp each nutmeg, ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Turn off your oven. Mix the yeast, the wet ingredients, and the dry ingredients until smooth. On a floured surface, knead the dough for ten minutes, adding
3/4 c flour
a tablespoon at a time, until soft and slightly sticky. Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and leave in the oven for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Pull it out of the oven, punch down, cover, and let sit for another five minutes.
6 TB each white sugar, brown sugar
4 TB flour
1 TB cinnamon
in a bowl. Cut in:
4 TB chilled margarine
until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Roll out your dough to a 9″ by 12″ rectangle. Cover with the filling, then roll up tightly from the long end. Pinch to seal seam and ends, cut into 12 1″ pieces, and place into a greased 9″ baking dish. Cover and let rise for half an hour or until doubled in size.
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
3/4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 TB hot water
with a fork- you’ll get a thick, drizzle-able mixture (add more water if you can’t drizzle). Drizzle over your cinnamon rolls. Delicious!