Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

That's a teaser photo and you will have to bear with me to the bottom of this post to get to the "good stuff."  Yes we made homemade, delicious, vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls, and yes you are now drooling...but let me share some other big news with you first.

Forbes and I have been restless with our future for quite a while recently.  We toss ideas around, get all antsy-in-our-pantsy, and then it seems we don't do anything about anything.  We will talk about our grand schemes but never have the guts to carry them out.  At least that's how I feel some days.  Sometimes I just want to tell myself "Suck it up and do something...or quit talking about it!"

As we were enjoying our liter of water this morning and praying through our morning devotion, Forbes abruptly interrupted my prayer and said, "I'm going back to school," so matter-of-factly.  That's it, and that's the plan.

Of course we have been talking about continued education F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  Pretty much since we moved to North Carolina.  This isn't a new concept for us, but one that I am very happy to see come to fruition.  There is obviously still a lot of work to do before the plan is in motion, but we will be preparing as we wait.  First on the list, the GRE, then Financial Aid, and most importantly, paying off our debt so we can afford school without incurring more debt.  That is our plan, to pay it off as we go.  No more student loans.

I am so excited for this new step in our lives.  Going back for his master's has been a dream of Forbes' for as long as I have known him.  He has chosen an excellent program and is so excited to get started.  This will be quite a journey for us, as many of you know, who balance full time jobs with part time jobs, with church, and other volunteer responsibilities and school on top of it all.  It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

To celebrate our decision, we will all bake a big batch of Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and curl up on our cozy couches on this rainy, dreary day.  Right?  How we can only dream!  Lots of work to get done today, but take some time to prep these rolls and you will not be disappointed you did!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
yields 10 rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls are a decadent treat and worth the time and effort it takes!  Serve these on Christmas morning or the day after Thanksgiving for your guests and friends.  They are so delicious, you could even serve them as a dessert at your holiday meal!  Follow the instructions below to prep the night before and you will save yourself a little time in the morning!

Prep time: 20 minutes + 2 hour-long rises
Cook time: 35 minutes


For the dough:
  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon Chia seeds + 3 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
For the glaze:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  In glass measuring cup heat the almond milk and butter in 30 second increments, until butter is melted and milk is warm to the touch.  Sprinkle in the yeast and stir.  Let yeast mixture sit for five minutes until frothy.

2.  Meanwhile, combine Chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and allow to rest for 5 minutes until thickened.  Stir into pumpkin.

3.  In separate bowl whisk together sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

4.  Add flour mixture to the pumpkin and pour in yeast mixture.  Stir with spatula until no longer able to.  Continue to mix together by hand and knead 10 minutes.  Dough should be smooth and elastic when you are done.  You may add up to 1/4 cup of additional flour to reach desired consistency.

5.  Shape dough into a round ball and place in greased bowl.  Roll the dough ball to lightly coat in oil and cover the bowl with a damp towel.  Let rise for an hour and fifteen minutes.

6.  Remove dough and punch on a lightly floured surface.  Press out and use rolling pin to roll into a large rectangle, a little larger than a sheet of paper.

7.  Mix together the filling ingredients and spread mixture on top.  Gently roll dough so it resembles a log.
8.  Using a serrated knife or string, slice dough into 1/2 inch slices (approximately 10 pieces) and place in a greased casserole dish.
9.  Cover with damp towel and let rise an additional 45 minutes.
10.  Preheat oven to 350* and bake rolls for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and whisk together glaze ingredients while the rolls cool.  Drizzle glaze on top and serve.

I got wild and topped my cinnamon roll with a little coconut milk cream.  When a can of coconut milk sits in the fridge, it becomes the texture of whipped cream.  I stirred it a little and placed a dollop on top of my cinnamon roll.  It was divine!
To save time in the morning, I prepped the dough until step 5.  After the first rise, I placed the dough ball in a plastic bag in the fridge overnight.  In the morning, I only had to roll it out, shape the rolls and place in the casserole and let it rise one additional time and then place in the oven.  I imagine you could even go as far as shaping your cinnamon rolls and placing in the casserole, then sticking it in the fridge overnight only to allow it to rise one additional time in the morning and then bake.

Even with the preparations the night before, it did take a bit to rise and bake in the morning, so I had first breakfast of fruit and juice!
It was so difficult to wait when you could smell the cinnamon and dough radiating from the oven!  But it was well worth it!
Now let's celebrate!

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