Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Cinnamon Buns - Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

The weather of Summer '11 was already monumental, so of course it had to end with a bang. I had missed the East Coast Heat Wave '11 when I was busying eating vegan donuts in the Bay Area. And I didn't feel the earthquake on the first floor of my house, while everyone upstairs got to see the walls shake. It's likely to be a good thing that I seem to repel extreme environmental conditions, but I just want to be part of the fun!

Well, I don't know about you, but I felt like being productive during Hurricane Irene last night. So as part of an Early Birthday Brunch / Thank You For Staying Up And Hurricane-Proofing The House, I baked these Cinnamon Rolls for my dad. He later told me that every time he saw Irene's white swirl travel up the coastline he could only see a sugary cinnamon bun (not too surprising, I am his daughter). To be completely honest, I didn't even put the whole hey-cinnamon-rolls-kinda-look-like-mini-hurricanes thing together until they were in their second rising. And yet I had looked up earlier that day to frustratedly find there were no traditional Hurricane-themed desserts. I'll let my subconscious take all the credit.

Unlike Hurricane Irene, these Cinnamon Rolls went above and beyond all of their hype (in my town, where we are very fortunate). Which is most ideal, because without power I would be stuck trying to steam these cuties on the stove. These are the perfect Sunday morning cinnamon bun because you start them Saturday night, let them rise while you sleep, and upon waking up the only effort required on your part is putting them in the oven. Plus there is no refined sugar, sweetened only with agave nectar and maple syrup.

Feel free to get really creative with the Cinnamon Rolls; I found an easy chocolate sauce and pecans to really deliver. For the true Hurricane effect, make a white sugar glaze with powdered sugar and a touch of almond milk.

Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 1 dozen

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 package of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon flaxmeal mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water
2 cups warm warm (to activate the yeast, not too hot to kill it!)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For a chocolate pecan bun:
Chocolate Sauce:
1/2 cup water 
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup pecan pieces to garnish

In a large bowl, sift flours and yeast together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flaxmeal mix, water, canola, agave, and salt. Pour wet ingredients into the flour mix and stir. When dough begins to form, knead on flour-dusted surface. If dough is too sticky, add more flour. If dough is too dry and doesn't form into a ball, add more water. Knead until dough is smooth and not sticky. transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl, cover and let rise for one hour in a dry place.

Meanwhile, combine agave, maple, canola, and cinnamon for the cinnamon filling and set aside.
Next, bring the water, cocoa powder, agave, and vanilla to a boil in a small sauce pan and let boil for 3-5 minutes, until chocolate sauce thickens. Let cool and store chocolate sauce in the fridge.

When dough has doubled in size, punch down with your fist, and quickly knead it for a minute. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 16" by 20" rectangle. With a spoon or a brush, coat dough with the cinnamon filling. Roll dough working from one 20" side to the other. To cut into buns, slide dental floss under roll in 1.5" increments, tie in a single knot and pull both ends so the floss cuts completely through the dough. (You can also use a serrated bread knife, but the floss is much more fun.) Transfer buns to a parchment lined, deep sided baking pan. Try to leave as much space as possible between the buns, because they will  continue to grow in their second rising. Cover in plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, let rolls sit a room temperature while heating oven at 400F. Bake for about 15 minutes, until swirls are slightly golden and crispy. Let cool a bit before cutting. Glaze with more cinnamon filling, or pour on chocolate sauce and cover with pecan bits; enjoy immediately.

Fresh from the oven!

1 comment:

  1. Those look incredible! So good!