Did we just make the best bunz ever to exist? Did I just say bunz? Yes and most definitely yes.
With only 26 days until Christmas, it’s almost time to crack open the first cubby hole of our advent calendars. If someone could make a advent calendar filled with 25 fresh and warm cinnamon buns, I’d be forever grateful. Can’t guarantee that I won’t eat them all within the first week though.
The two of us have developed a fairly random fetish for cinnamon buns sometime back in August. Well, we’ve always had a love for all things bread (throwback to that night we hauled a Santa-sized garbage bag of bread home from Granville Island and then had a very carb heavy girls’ night brunch-for-dinner at 9pm) but this was like a craving gone out of control. Every blogging session would involve a not-blog-able-but-just-for-fun batch of buns. We tried out several famous vegan bloggers’ recipes but were left disappointed by the buns that lacked moisture, fluffiness, richness, or simplicity. They were just… fine, ya’know? Our goal was to fix that while keeping it vegan.
At the same time, we began searching out the bunz of Vancity to determine the elements that made outside cinnamon buns so good. What is the ideal bun to filling ratio? Frosting or glaze? All these considerations were taken into account when developing the perfect vegan cinnamon bun recipe. We still have several bakeries and cafes to try and as a joke(ish), are even considering starting a second Instagram account just to document our cinnamon bun journey. Would ya’ll have an interest in following such an account? Do let us know!
Back to da bunz. Here is why these vegan cinnamon buns are perfection:
- The dough swirls are thick and fluffy. Love a mouthful of carby goodness? Us too.
- They are moist and rich. Some of the recipes we tried were fluffy but kinda… dry and hollow. They didn’t have the moisture and stretch we were looking for. These do!
- Perfectly spiced. No shortage of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice here.
- Larger bun size. While everyone else is worrying about the size of their rear-end buns, the only bun size we care about is our cinnamon bun. Eating 1/9th of a recipe, as opposed to the traditional 1/12th, is more similar to the size of bakery-made buns. We know you were gonna eat at least one and a half buns anyways.
- The vegan glaze doesn’t overpower the rest of the bun. It isn’t toothaching-ly sweet and adds a subtle hint of tanginess. And it’s ridiculously easy to make? Got a whisk and a bowl? You’re golden then.
- All you’ll need is one bowl. After the stand mixer finishes kneading the dough, I just move the dough ball to the side of the bowl while I spray the bottom with oil. Why grease another bowl when you can just reuse the stand mixer bowl? Beats me.
- Making a cinnamon sugar paste works better than spreading melted or softened coconut oil on the dough then sprinkling sugar and spices on top. Using a paste results in a gooier filling and is also less messy.
It may have been more logical to share a classic cinnamon bun recipe before jumping into seasonal flavours, but knowing that both of us are completely obsessed with Christmas, we couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Now that the pumpkin extravaganza is over, it’s time for the season of gingerbread. You’ll probably find us eating gingerbread oatmeal, chewy gingersnaps, and entire pans of these vegan gingerbread cinnamon buns all month. Join us!
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 ¼ tsp traditional yeast (one 8g package)
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground all spice
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, softened
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ cup vegan cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar (substitute some for stevia if desired)
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp almond milk
- Start by making the dough. Warm almond milk, maple syrup, and molasses in microwave for 40 to 60 seconds, or until warm to the touch but not scalding. Stir in the yeast and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes. Activated yeast should be foamy.
- Mix 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, salt, and spices briefly in stand mixer to roughly combine.
- Pour the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and activated yeast into the bowl of the standing mixer containing the dry ingredients.
- Mix on low speed until a thick and sticky dough forms. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough with the dough hook attachment for 5 to 7 minutes or until a soft dough forms and begins to gather around the hook. Add up to ½ cup more of all purpose flour after 2 minutes if dough still looks too wet. Finished dough will wrap around the hook like a ball and still be a bit sticky. Avoid over-kneading for soft and fluffy bread.
- Oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough into the oiled bowl. Turn the dough a few times to coat the surface of the dough with oil. This will prevent it from sticking as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and store in a warm place and draft-free place (such as a microwave that isn't turned on) to allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Mix all the filling ingredients together to make a paste. Set aside.
- Once dough has expanded to twice its initial size, punch the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a ¼ inch thick rectangle (about 10"x16") and spread generously with the coconut sugar filling, spreading all the way to the edges.
- Roll the dough up tightly starting from the long side. Slice into 9 even pieces and arrange in a greased square pan or pie pan*. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let the dough rise again in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F while the dough is proofing for the second time.
- After the second proofing, bake the buns for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes.
- While rolls are cooling, make the vegan cream cheese glaze by whisking all the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over baked rolls and enjoy!