Updated: Nov 12, 2022
October is prime time apple and pumpkin picking! I combined my two favorite fall flavors in these cinnamon rolls and then slathered them in vegan cream cheese frosting for your next Sunday morning homemade breakfast! Perfectly balanced, these fluffy and oversized treats are deceptively simple to make. Follow my directions and you will land in Fall Heaven!
Speaking of Heaven! What's more heavenly than the warming spices of cinnamon and fresh baking bread floating through your home on a crisp afternoon while you enjoy your kids playing outside, finish up home chores, or (if you can) simply relax with a good book and a light blanket? It's no wonder that Fall represents 1/3rd of American's favorite season (or 33%) according to StudyFinds.org. For many, that means activities outside of the house, but for others, 2020's fall season allowed them the opportunity to see what life is like on the quieter (less busy) side. In fact, during the 2020 pandemic, bread baking in particular brought about fondness for the slower lifestyles and comfort of a warm hearth. King Arthur Flour company noted in 2020 that sales rose by 61% over the prior year for their flours. Due to the newfound passion of Americans for stay-at-home activities like baking.
Sustainability Spotlight: Making meals at home (including baking) can be a process; I know. Just like this recipe, it takes time and often you might not be "home" to take the time depending on your individual circumstances, needs, or wants. However, and similar to my commentary in "Sofa Sunday" Big Pan Nachos, the planet needs us to slow down.
In fact, as I write this blog, the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference is poised to begin at the end of the week (Oct 31). The conference is already gaining attention and traction for lack of progress in accordance with the Paris Agreement (originally executed in 2009). According to an NPR article released today, "greenhouse gas levels reached record highs in 2020, even with pandemic lockdowns." The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that the "...goal of slowing the rise of global temperatures is 'way of track...(and) the United Nations body said Monday that carbon dioxide had risen by more than the 10-year average in 2020...despite a slight decrease in emissions due to the coronavirus pandemic." How is that possible? Even though there was a decrease in emissions last year, it could not combat the accumulation and devastating effects of carbon emissions over the last 10 years. The atmospheric levels continued (and will continue) to increase progressively from this accumulation.
So, what can WE do? Rest, take respite, enjoy your families or just your "alone time." Revel in the outdoors, read (not watch) for entertainment, and reduce emissions by staying at home. Bake your bread (or these rolls), and enjoy the accomplishment you feel when your receipt comes out beautifully. You can also be proud that you made a difference in curbing our emissions so that we can decrease the next 10 years accumulation effect in the atmosphere for carbon. Oh, and add to that, these are vegan, and your carbon emissions reduce even further.
Get baking, friends!
1 cup canned pumpkin (I use the rest to give my pups; great for their coats!)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
1/4 cup hot water (~110 degrees F)
1 packet active dry yeast (I use Fleishman's RapidRise)
1 tbsp sugar
6.5 cups all purpose flour - plus extra for rolling
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 tsp roasted cinnamon (or regular cinnamon if you cannot find roasted)
4 tbsp vegan butter (melted)
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz container vegan cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup vegan butter (room temperature)
1.5 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Optional, but highly recommended: 1 tbsp maca powder
In a medium saucepan, combine pumpkin through paste in Apple-Pumpkin Dough ingredients with a whisk. Heat over low stirring to combine for ~3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Next, place water, sugar and yeast in a 4-cup measuring glass; stir to combine. Let yeast sit for ~5-7 minutes to become foamy and double in size (~3/4 cup line on the glass). If the yeast does not propagate, it's either dead or your water wasn't warm enough. Discard and try again with new yeast, sugar and water.
In a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add pumpkin mixture and yeast mixture to the bowl. Beat for ~1 minute to fully combine. Turn off mixer. Next, add 1/3 of the flour, combine on low until incorporated. Turn off mixer; add the second 1/3 of the flour and combine on low till incorporated. Turn off mixture, add last 1/3 of the flour and combine for ~2 minutes.
Switch paddle for the dough hook attachment and "kneed" on Medium for ~2 minutes. The dough will change into a stretchy ball.
Spray a medium bowl with cooking spray and transfer dough to the bowl in a ball. Roll the dough on all sides in the spray to avoid sticking while rising. Now, place a dry kitchen towel over the bowl and allow to rise in a warm place. I have bread rise function on my oven which works wonders! Rise time depends on the warmth of the room; the dough should double in ~1.5 hours.
Once risen, remove the bowl and punch the dough once to release some air and the ball deflates. Turn dough out on a floured surface and start to roll out into a ~24 X 12 inch rectangle.
Mix all ingredients except melted butter in Cinnamon Filling in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the rectangle of dough with the melted butter over the entire surface. Sprinkle with the cinnamon filling evenly.
Roll dough tightly away from you (along the 24 inch side) until completely rolled. Next, cut dough with a very sharp knife in half; cut dough halves in half again. Now, cut each piece of dough into three equal pieces.
Place rolls cut side up into an over-sized casserole pan (9 x 13 being the smallest you should use). At this stage, it's okay that the rolls don't touch on all sides (if that's the case); they will once you do the next rise time. Place the kitchen towel over the rolls again and let rise another hour in a warm place. Rolls will likely more than double again in this time.
Bake rolls at 375 degrees uncovered for ~25-28 minutes until lightly browned on the top. Remove from oven and let cool for ~10 minutes before icing.
While the rolls are cooling, add all ingredients of Maple Cream Cheese Frosting into a stand-mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. On medium-high, mix all ingredients for ~4 minutes until combined and creamy in texture. You CAN chill the frosting to make it more thick, or you can add now. I recommend the chill time as it will also meld your flavors. I made the rolls the night before and the frosting. Chilled it all in the fridge overnight and warmed up the rolls the next morning.
Spread frosting generously over all of the cinnamon rolls and serve with extra frosting (as desired) for "dunking" roll pieces).
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie