Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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I love cinnamon rolls and making them always seemed so labor intensive (I was right, they are pretty labor intensive, but it's a lot more about waiting for the dough to rise). I also went apple picking recently and have been thinking of ways to use my apples. With these two desires, I sought out an apple cinnamon roll recipe and then made it vegan. So set aside an afternoon, turn on some Fall-themed shows and make this recipe!

Prep: 4.5 hours or overnight
Serves: 12 Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashew milk (or any other high non-dairy fat milk. I use Elmhurst 1925 brand)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons activated dry yeast (2 standard size packets)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup of Apple Sauce + 2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/rolling

Filling

  • 6 Tablespoons non-dairy butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups chopped apples (peel if you'd like, about 2 medium apples)

Icing

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (make sure there's no bone char!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons almond milk (this made the icing lighter, not sure about other types of non-dairy milk)

Steps:

  1. Make the dough: Heat cashew milk to about 95°F (35°C)-- use microwave or stove top. (I used the microwave for about 40 seconds to get this temperature. If you don't have a thermometer you can also stick your figure in it, and it should feel slightly warm compared to your average body temperature).
  2. Pour the warm cashew milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal OR you can use just your hand like I did). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast.
  3. After it is mixed, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast.
  4. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the apple sauce + baking powder and then the salt. The butter won't really be mixing into the mixture, so don't be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. (Here's a tip: turn the oven on to 200°F (93°C). Once heated to that temperature, turn the oven off. Stick the covered dough inside the oven and allow it to rise in this warm environment. OR if your oven is on and you're making something else, you can also stick it on top of the stove, letting the oven's heat go through the dough)
  6. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12x18 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  7. Fill the rolls: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the brown sugar and cinnamon together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Top evenly with chopped apples. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. Cut into 12 equal rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil. (If the rolls are not the same size when cut, they equal out in the oven)
  8. Allow rolls to rise in a warm environment again for about 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size 
  9. Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Bake rolls for about 25 minutes until they are golden brown. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  10. Whisk all of the icing ingredients together and drizzle over warm rolls. Serve warm.

Overnight instructions: To prepare the night before serving, prepare the rolls through step 4. Cover the rolls tightly and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise on the counter for 1-2 hours before continuing with step 6.

Freezing instructions: Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm up before enjoying. You can also freeze the unbaked rolls and here's how: bake the rolls in step 6 for only about 10 minutes at 375°F (191°C). Cool completely, then cover tightly and freeze. To serve, take the rolls out of the freezer and put into the refrigerator a few hours before serving. Then, finish baking them.

Note: This is my veganized version of Sally's Baking Addiction recipe! Thanks Sally for this awesome recipe!

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