Me, I’ve always been a salty gal.
And by that I mean, I will always choose salty, greasy snacks over chocolatey, sweet ones. If you gave me the choice between gooey nachos and carrot cake? Nachos, all the way.
Fresh potato chips with a homemade ranch dressing or molten lava cake? Gimme those chips……. NOW.
Pretzel sticks or a triple-layer chocolate-raspberry cake with a shiny black chocolate ganache? Well…. we might have to negotiate.
But O, of course, is the exact opposite, and it doesn’t show more than when we head to the Gulf for a quick getaway. You see, in Memphis, we’re lacking in the grocery store department, devoid of Publix or Trader Joe’s, so these stops become field trips when we head to other, more uh, modern cities! Especially when we head down to the Florida or Alabama coast, we load up on the prepared foods at Publix, squealing like little kids over the things we can’t get back home. Now, I doubt that any of it is truly better than what we can get in Memphis, but… don’t tell us that.
O, like clockwork, always reaches for the cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting, the size of an 8-year-old’s head. And strangely, this selection is one of the only ones out there that might lure me away from my typical, sodium-laden selection.
Knowing this, I endeavored to make him a homemade batch a couple years ago, but remembered about oh, 2 hours of the way through, how much of a pain those suckers can be to make from scratch! There’s so many rises and punches and rolls and slices that you’d think you’d end up with a batch of the finest pain au chocolat by the time you’re done, mais non.. just a we’ll-never-eat-this-many size lot that are totally delicious.. but leave you wondering where your weekend went.
That is.. until now! I took a note from the Minimalist Baker and pared down the steps and ingredients to one of my ultimate favorite foods, for breakfast or otherwise (including, you know, lunch and as a dinner side dish, not to mention midnight snack, elevenses, and high tea…) and infused the dough with a sweet pumpkin and warm pumpkin spice to sing of fall mornings and crisp breezes. I topped it all with a maple-spiked cream cheese frosting to round out the autumn triumverate, and I couldn’t have been more pleased.
Oh… and did I mention they’re vegan?
The cinnamon rolls themselves only require 10 simple ingredients and just a little more than 2 hours from start to finish. Pretty rad, huh?
The pumpkin adds a gorgeous vibrance, easy on the eyes and the tastebuds, and the pumpkin spice is a perfect natural addition to cinnamon filling and maple-cream cheese glaze. The dough is tender, the filling rich and spiced and warm, the glaze deep and aromatic and tangy and sweet. In other words..
my new main squeeze. Sorry, Crawtators; you’ve been replaced!
Make these. They. Are. Delicious.
Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 packet packet instant yeast
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice , divided
- 1/2 cup Earth balance (vegan butter), divided
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar , divided
- 6 oz Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar , sifted
- In a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments, slowly heat the almond milk and 3 tablespoons Earth Balance until warm and melted together--do not boil. Remove from the heat and let cool to about 110º, or the temperature of bath water--warm but not hot. If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast!
- Add the sugar then transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Let sit and bloom for about 10 minutes (should get foamy), then add the salt and stir. Add the pumpkin purée and stir.
- Sift the flour together with 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice. Add the flour mixture in 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be quite sticky, and if it becomes too thick to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two until it forms a loose ball. Coat a large bowl with a neutral oil and add your dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Stir together 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Roll out dough into a thin rectangle onto a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, brush with 3 tablespoons melted Earth Balance and top with sugar-spice mixture. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough, ending with seam side down. Then with a very sharp chef's knife or serrated knife (or string of floss, if that's your bag), cut the dough roll into about 1 1/2" - 2" sections. Place in a buttered 8x8" square or 8" round pan and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons melted Earth Balance. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place on top of oven to rise again while you preheat the oven to 350º.
- Once the oven has preheated, bake for about 25 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Meanwhile, make your glaze: beat the vegan cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium speed 'til smooth, then add in maple syrup and milk and beat on high 'til smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed 'til creamy.
- When rolls have finished baking, remove from oven and let cool slightly. Drizzle with maple-cream cheese glaze and serve immediately.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.