Procrasti-baking, or baking when you should really be doing work. My preferred way of spending a Saturday evening, or a weeknight if I can spare some time. For a form of procrastination, it’s a fairly productive one, you at least end up with some food for the week, or for friends at the end.
I’ve been using the past few weeks to attempts some recipes that seemed complicated, or I’ve just never tried before. I’ve fallen a bit in love with making bread, or anything using yeast, to be honest. This was last week’s Saturday night baking, though I just finished them off this weekend.
I grew up eating homemade cinnamon roles, and while I’ve helped my grandmother make them, they’ve never been something I’ve done alone. I’m not sure if there is a formal recipe for my grandmother’s cinnamon rolls, but I have to say these weren’t too far off in regards to texture.
I started off planning to make some banana bread with leftover bananas but stumbled across this recipe from Minimalist Baker. It was incredibly simple, and the use of bananas really cut back on how much sugar was needed. Since I buy vegan butter, it was also nice that this was such a great easy vegan recipe and didn’t affect the final product at all.
I didn’t include the bananas withing the rolls, just in the dough. I also skipped the nuts, because I am a simple uni student who does not own chopped walnuts. I also can’t say I followed the directions to a “t”, I let the dough rise twice, instead of the once the recipe suggests. I added vanilla extract, but I add that to everything.
It’s a really simple recipe, and I like to justify it by using the time it takes for the dough to rise by going for a run. That burns off those fresh out to the oven cinnamon roll calories, right?
- 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant/fast acting yeast
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance), divided
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana + 1/2 cup sliced banana, divided
- 2 3/4 – 3 1/4 cups flour (I used a ratio of 2/3 unbleached all purpose, 1/3 whole wheat pastry)
- 1/2 – 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts or pecans, crushed (optional)
- In a large mixing bowl, heat the almond milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance in the microwave in 30 sec increments (or heat over medium heat in a large sauce pan), until warm and melted (never reaching boiling). Let cool to 110 degrees, or the temperature of bath water. It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast. (If you used a saucepan to heat the milk, transfer to a large mixing bowl now.)
- Sprinkle on yeast and let activate for 10 minutes. Then add 1 Tbsp sugar, salt and stir. Next add in 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana and stir.
- Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so, adding flour as needed, until it forms a loose but still springy ball. Only use as much flour as it will take.
- Rinse out your mixing bowl, coat it with canola or olive oil, and add your dough ball back in seam side down. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size (see photo) – mine only took 40 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle ~1/4 inch thick. Brush with 1/4 cup melted vegan butter and top with 1/3 cup sugar (I used a little brown sugar mixed in with the cane sugar) and 1/2 – 1 Tbsp cinnamon (up to preference). Then add about 20 very thin banana slices so it’s easy to roll, and most of the walnuts.
- Slowly and tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. With a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 – 2-inch sections and position in a well-buttered 8×8 square or comparable sized round pan (you should have about 10 rolls). Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp melted vegan butter and sprinkle with a bit more sugar (brown or cane) and remaining walnuts.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set on top of the oven to let rise again while you preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 28-35 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm.
- Optional: Frost with dairy free cream cheese frosting or a simple dairy-free glaze