Thursday, December 07, 2006

vegan cinnamon rolls

you might notice that these babies look dry. dry as in unglazed, ungooey, unadorned, bare-bottom-nekkid. this is not a mistake, i like 'em that way. i like my cinnamon rolls like my humor, my sunday afternoons, my martinis and my socks...dry. but i know i'm a bit of a freak that way, and if you prefer, nothing could be easier than to whip up a bit of glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a bit of soymilk, or heck, even water if times are lean) and drizzle lightly over the top after baking. if you really dig the tooth enamel melting gnarliness of a sea of somewhat pornographic cinnabon white ooze, you may need to supplement this recipe with an appropriate "topping" recipe.

i whipped up a batch of these soul-soothing rings of spicy goodness to break in an unexpected housewarming gift from the not-so-wicked (but don't tell her that!) stepmother of a kitchen aid stand mixer (in tangerine, no less). the recipe i found somewhere on the internet ( i can't remember where and so cannot credit the original source) but had some problems with the dough. did i mention that my clumsy, non-baking paws tend to de-activate the most vigorous of yeasts? i followed the instructions exactly but the dough was too dry. not dry in a good way, but dry in a bad, overcooked slab of cheap steak way. i ended up adding water until the dough felt "right" and waited for the worst. the result was the miracle of miracles...i experienced a rare baking success. slightly sweet, light and airy, the rolls were perfect. they were so good i made them again the following weekend and the second time around they were not so very light. still with a good flavor they were a bit dense. despite the margarine and white flour they had the mouthfeel of "health food". the only major difference between the two attempts was that i rose the dough overnight in the refrigerator the first time, the second time around i was a bit rushed for time and tried to rush the process by putting it in a slightly warmed oven to rise. it is also possible that, in a tangerine-induced-dough-hook-wielding euphoria, i may have over worked the dough a bit, second-time around. if any of you bakers out there see something out of whack in the recipe, let me know. i live to learn.

and because rain is forecast for the entire weekend, i plan to make these again. this time with a slightly shorter knead time and an overnight rise. a hot cup of tea, a steaming cinnamon roll, rain pelting the windows, furry black cat coiled and purring in lap, what could be better first thing on a saturday morning?

cinnamon rolls
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup soymilk, warmed
2 egg ener g egg replacers (equivalent of 2 eggs)
1/2 cup earthbalance non-hydrogenated margarine, melted (or 1/4 c margarine-1/4 c shortening)
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teasoon salt
cinnamon and brown sugar

dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm soymilk and let stand until frothy. combine the reconstituted egg replacer, melted margarine and add to yeast mixture. add flour and salt and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough gets a smooth and satiny texture. you may need to add a bit of extra water or flour to get the right consistency. the original recipe called for 4 1/2 cups flour but it was way too dry - i had to add quite a bit of extra water (maybe up to 1/2 cup?).

place a damp towel over the bowl and allow to rise until doubled. once doubled, remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. roll or stretch the dough into a 6 x 21 rectangle. lightly brush the surface with melted margarine and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mixture. roll the dough into a log shape (starting from the narrower edge) and cut into 12 pieces. lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan and arrange the slices cut sides up. let rise again in a warm spot for at least 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the refrigerator over night. bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. drizzle with glaze if desired.
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