My tummy usually starts growling around 4:15 am – should I be awake to hear it – so it isn’t often that I take the time to make breakfast pastries. But having visitors in town seems to augment my ability to go long periods of time without eating, like maybe two hours, so I decided we all needed cinnamon rolls. With cardamom in them. And a lemony cream cheese glaze on top. They were quite tasty.
I can’t take full credit for these of course. They were adapted from Novel Eats’ recipe, which was also adapted from somebody elses recipe of course. I’ve made these a few times over the last couple of years using a flaxseed egg and have gotten mixed results, so I decided to go with the Ener-G egg. I also used a different type of yeast and modified the mixing method. Maybe it all made a difference. Maybe it didn’t. But they turned out moist and fluffy and delicious so I’ll go with it.
Cardamom Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/4 C organic sugar
- 1/2 C soy milk
- 1 Ener-G egg
- 2 1/4 C AP flour
- 1/4 oz fresh yeast (or 1/8 oz instant yeast)
- 1/2 t salt
- about 1/4 t Cardamom seeds, ground
- 2 T + 2t vegan butter, melted (I suggest Earth Balance in stick form)
- About 2 T vegan butter, softened
- Cinnamon sugar (just sugar mixed with as much cinnamon as you like)
If you’re worried about how long the dough will take to ferment, warm up the soy milk. If you don’t care, just scale it into your mixing bowl along with the sugar and Ener-G egg. Next add the flour, yeast, salt and ground cardamom.
A note on the cardamom, you’ll get better flavor if you use a mortar and pestle to grind it up versus using a small coffee grinder. The friction from the mortar and pestle heats up the seeds which helps draw out those aromatic oils. But if you’re in a time crunch, the coffee grinder will work just fine.
Knead the dough using the hook attachment until it fully comes together. Now add the melted butter. This may seem bassackwards but fat inhibits gluten development because it coats the flour particles, making it difficult for glutens to form their network. Adding it at the end allows the gluten structure to get a head start. You might have to help it along though, or just be patient. When you add the melted butter to the bowl, the dough is going to slide all over the place. If you give it awhile it should come together. Alternatively, take it out of the bowl and knead it with your hands a bit and then put it back in the bowl. The dough is ready when the butter has been worked in and the dough is smooth, supple and just barely sticky, if at all. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it ferment until double.
Once the dough has fermented, punch it down, round it on the counter, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest. After about 10 minutes, use a rolling pin and work the dough into a large rectangle. The thinner you get the dough, the more rolls you’ll have so it’s up to you. Mine was about 1/2 inch thin. Make sure it’s longer than it is wide however or you’ll have just a couple of gigantic cinnamon rolls (which is fine if there’s only two of you I guess).
Smear the dough with the softened butter, leaving about 1 inch of space along the edge of the dough that will be on the outside once it’s rolled up. Now sprinkle tons of cinnamon sugar onto the dough. There isn’t an exact amount you should have here, just cover it well. You can add nuts or raisins or chocolate chips or whatever else you’d like to have in your rolls at this point.
Roll up the dough now, starting with the end opposite of the edge you left unbuttered. Roll it as tight as you can, nobody wants a sloppy loose cinnamon roll. Grab the sharpest knife you have – I used a carving knife – and cut the log into equal pieces about an inch thick. I started in the middle and divided it in half, and then in half again, and then cut those quarters into thirds – so I ended up with a dozen cinnamon rolls.
So most home bakers use an 8 or 9 in baking dish for cinnamon rolls and just cram them all in there. That’s fine but you can also use a lined sheet pan. Pick up each individual cinnamon roll and tuck that unbuttered end under the roll so it’s sitting on its tail so to speak. This will help alleviate most unrolling and other deformation during the baking process.
Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap (or a clean trash bag) and let them proof until double. You can see the difference below between before and after proofing.
Preheat your oven to 350. When the rolls are ready sprinkle them with some additional cinnamon sugar and stick them in the oven. You can wash them with soy milk here if you like, I did not. Mine baked in just under 15 minutes. Feel free to rotate the pan half way through.
These aren’t super dark but they are done. You’ll probably get a wee bit darker results if you brush it with milk.
Lemony Cream Cheese Glaze
- Vegan cream cheese
- 1 lemon
- Powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
So while your rolls are doing their thing in the oven, make the glaze. I’m not giving you exact amounts because, frankly, you don’t need them.
Get a small mixing bowl and plop a glob of cream cheese in it. Zest part of a lemon with a microplane into the bowl. Add a pinch of salt and some powdered sugar and mix it up with a spatula or spoon. If it’s too thin, add some more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, squeeze some lemon juice in it. Too sweet? Add a bit more salt. Not lemony enough, grab the zester. You want it thin enough to drizzle but not so much that your cinnamon roll ends up swimming in it. And its lemoniness is completely up to you.
So there you have it. Yummy, vegan cinnamon rolls even omnivores from the South will enjoy. My pictures show the glaze drizzled on but I’m pretty sure there was some slathering going on while I was busy taking pictures.
And one final tip, you can make the dough the night before and stick it in the fridge. Just yank it out first thing in the morning and let it come to room temp before you punch it down.