It takes a special recipe to make me think of my past and future at the same time. Cinnamon rolls remind me of watching Saturday morning cartoons sticky-fingered with my favorite doll Kenya, and eating Cinnabon at the mall as a tween. Along with sweet potato pie and pound cake they are the embodied form of comfort. And when I made these vegan Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls I imagined making them on Saturday morning with my future kids, the smell of sugary spiced love making its way to every corner of our home.
They are rich enough to make a girl in her 20s want to settle down and make traditions. Sweet enough to make you remember what a mess you’d make with the icing from a cinnamon roll as a little kid. Delicious enough to put your “healthy diet” rules on suspension for a few minutes, and then reject any bit of regret.
I will be making these sweet potato cinnamon rolls for a long long time. I hope you enjoy them too.
Vegan Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water
- ¾ cup unsweetened plain soy milk or other unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), melted
- 2-2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup vegan butter
- ½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar or a mixture
- ½ tbsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup chopped raw pecans
Sweet potato frosting
- ½ cup sweet potato puree
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Mix the ground flax seed and water in a small mixing bowl and set aside to thicken and become a flax “egg”.
- In a small sauce pan warm the soy milk and vegan butter until the vegan butter has melted. Remove from heat.
- Mix the flour, active dry yeast, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Once the temperature of the melted vegan butter and soy milk has reduced to 100°-110° pour it into the dry ingredients.
- Also add the water and flax egg and use a whisk to stir. If you have a standing mixer, you can use that instead.
- Once it’s too sticky to whisk, use our hands to combine the ingredients.
- Transfer the dough onto a floured workspace, and knead it until you’ve got a smooth dough ball.
- Place the dough ball into a lightly greased mixing bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and allow it to rise for at least one hour.
- Make the filling for the rolls by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl.
- Chop pecans into small pieces.
- Melt ⅓ cup of vegan butter.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, you can press out the air, then transfer it back onto your floured work space.
- Roll the dough until it is about ⅙th inch thick, and about 12x16 inches.
- Brush the dough with the melted butter, top with cinnamon sugar mix, and then top with your chopped pecans.
- Roll the dough tightly.
- Carefully cut the roll into 1 inch slices, you’ll have about a dozen.
- Place the rolls onto a greased skillet or baking dish (about 10x10).
- Bake for 25-30 minutes (less if your oven runs hot).
Make your sweet potato icing
- Place powdered sugar, sweet potato, vanilla, and vegan butter into a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Remove rolls from oven, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Top with sweet potato icing, and serve immediately.