Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Nothing starts your day like tearing into a perfectly warm and tender homemade cinnamon roll. Gooey in the middle, filled with cinnamon and lathered in cream cheese icing, these homemade cinnamon rolls are worth the extra effort and are better than Cinnabon! Unless you tell them, no one will even know that they are dairy and egg-free.
When you mention that baked goods are dairy and egg-free, people automatically tend to think that it's no good. However, the baking world has come a long way, and I promise no one will know that these have zero dairy and eggs.
I made these homemade cinnamon rolls for my husband to take to work one morning, and they LOVED them and had no idea they were VEGAN!
INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
All-Purpose & Bread Flour: The combination of these two flours creates the most perfectly tender and soft bread for your cinnamon rolls. They are easy to pull apart.
Almond Milk: Any dairy-free milk will work with this recipe; I use almond milk.
Dairy-Free Butter: You will need butter to make your homemade cinnamon rolls for several steps. You will need it for your dough, the filling, and cream cheese frosting. I prefer EarthBalance Vegan butter sticks, but any dairy-free butter will work.
Brown Sugar: You will need brown sugar to activate your yeast and slightly sweeten the dough. You will also need it for your filling.
Instant Yeast & Warm Water: I use Fleischmann's Instant or Rapid Rise Yeast, but any rapid rise yeast will work. If using regular yeast, you will need to double the rise times. Also, be sure to use WARM water when mixing with your yeast; you can kill your yeast if it is too hot.
Cinnamon: You couldn't have cinnamon rolls without cinnamon. You will need cinnamon for your dough and your filling.
Applesauce: You will need unsweetened applesauce for your egg replacement. Be sure to get unsweetened regular applesauce; any other flavor could alter the taste of your cinnamon rolls.
Ginger & Nutmeg: While cinnamon is essential, adding ginger and nutmeg to your filling sets the flavor of these homemade cinnamon rolls over the top!
Dairy-Free Cream Cheese: The only brand of dairy-free cream cheese I have used is Kite Hill. Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese tastes EXACTLY like regular cream cheese and makes for the best dairy-free cream cheese frosting.
Powdered Sugar: You will need powdered sugar to sweeten and thicken your cream cheese frosting.
TIPS FOR WORKING WITH YEAST
Make sure your yeast is fresh! If your yeast isn't fresh, your dough won't rise properly and will be flat. Check the date and follow the instructions of placing it in the refrigerator after opening a jar. You can buy the small packets if you worry you won't use a whole jar before it expires.
When adding either your water or your butter and milk mixture, be sure it is only WARM and not too hot. Yeast loves warmth, but if your water or buttermilk is too hot, it will kill your yeast, and the dough won't rise.
Do not rush your rise times! Let your dough rise the entire hour, and let your rolls rise for an additional hour before baking. If you rush the process, your cinnamon rolls will be dense.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
Cinnamon rolls have always intimidated me. Heck, anything that involved yeast scared me. Unfortunately, making homemade cinnamon rolls requires a lot more work and patience. BUT, if I can do it, then so can you! The steps below will help you get through the process.
1. Make the dough and knead for 10 minutes until it bounces back.
2. Rise dough for 1 hour.
3. Roll out the dough, spread your butter, sprinkle the filling (brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger), and roll it up.
4. Cut into individual rolls of 2 inches each and place in a lined baking pan (not touching each other).
5. Rise dough for another hour.
6. Bake rolls at 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Allow cooling for about 10 minutes and lather with your cream cheese frosting.
Making the dough:
Start by activating your yeast by placing two tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water in your mixing bowl. Allow sitting for approximately 10 minutes until the mixture has risen and looks foamy.
In a saucepan over the stove on medium-low heat, melt your butter in your milk. Cut your butter into small pieces before adding to the pan to help it melt quicker. Be sure the mixture is only warm before adding to your yeast.
Mix in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
Add all your dry ingredients to the bowl: all-purpose and bread flour, remaining brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
Turn the mixer on low until dough forms, then increase the speed to high. Knead your dough in the mixer on high for approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Check your dough by poking it. If the dough bounces back quickly, the dough is ready, but if the indention stays or doesn't fill back, continue kneading for a few more minutes. You can knead by hand, but I prefer to use the mixer. If using the mixer, keep an eye on it because it may move around on the counter.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and rise for 1 hour.
Rolling the Dough:
Roll out onto a lightly floured surface after the dough has risen for an hour and doubled in size.
Roll into a large rectangle.
Spread the room temperature butter across the dough.
Mix your filling until combined: brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Sprinkle your filling on the dough, leaving the edges.
Tightly roll up your dough.
Trim off the ends. Cut 2-inch rolls. It makes about 9 rolls.
Place rolls into a baking pan but does not let the rolls touch. Let rise for another hour before baking.
Rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before topping with cream cheese icing. You can prepare your cream cheese icing as your rolls bake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Make sure to use room temperature dairy-free cream cheese. Room temperature ingredients allow the frosting to be smooth.
Be sure to sift your powdered sugar for a lighter and creamier cream cheese frosting.
Add vanilla extract to your cream cheese frosting for enhanced flavor.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE CINNAMON ROLLS
If you don't just eat these all immediately, you will undoubtedly want to; you can store them for later if necessary!
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not place these in the fridge, or the bread will get hard. The airtight container will help keep your cinnamon rolls fresh and soft.
Heat it back up before eating them again! Warm cinnamon rolls are WAY better than room-temperature cinnamon rolls. Heat that bad boy in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and it will be just as fresh and new as the day your baked them.
These cinnamon rolls will stay fresh if well kept for about 2 to 3 days.
Now get out there and take a chance on making these amazingly soft homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, and you will never go back to store-bought Cinnabon ever again!
Overnight option: The best part about these cinnamon rolls is if you are lacking on time to make them, you can prepare them the night before and bake them in the morning! Follow the steps until the second rise time, cover your pan with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge overnight. Then, in the morning, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake, cover in cream cheese frosting, and enjoy!