We made these for our most recent brunch to rave reviews. Warning: if you are going to make these, be prepared to use a LOT of Earth Balance, a LOT of sugar, and a LOT of flour. These are by no means healthy, despite the inclusion of fruit. Oh, and prepare to spend about 4 hours on them.
The base is the VeganYumYum Perfect Cinnamon Buns dough. We had used it before and it worked perfectly. For brunch I doubled the recipe, but making a single recipe should work just fine. Yield is 12 big buns.
The original VeganYumYum recipe for the dough comes with great step by step photos, so head over there if you’d like.
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water
1 Cup Non-dairy Milk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Egg Replacers, prepared, optional (I used 2 tsp ground flax and 6 tbsp warm water, stirred in a small bowl and let to sit for a couple of minutes)
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading
1/4 cup Raisins
1/4 cup Whiskey
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/3 cup Walnuts, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1 & 1/4 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1 – 2 Apples
1/2 Lemon or 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tbsp Maple Syrup (agave works too)
2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk
Mix together the ingredients in the yeast mixture in a non-reactive bowl. Let the yeast mixture sit for about ten minutes to proof – you’ll know it’s ready when it’s nice and foamy.
While you’re doing that, in a saucepan, combine the non-dairy milk, sugar, margarine, salt, and egg replacers over medium-low heat. Heat until the margarine is melted, mixing together. You don’t want it to be hot – if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Test by putting a bit on the back of your wrist.
Add the yeast mixture to the milk/margarine/sugar mixture and stir.
In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of flour with the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix in partially. Turn out onto a clean, dry, floured surface and knead together until the dough is smooth and elastic, or 8 – 10 minutes. Use extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled non-reactive bowl, cover it with (oiled) plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm place to rise for 90 minutes.
Now you’re ready to start preparing your filling.
If you’re doing the raisins, follow these steps. Break up the cinnamon sticks. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the raisins, whiskey, and broken cinnamon sticks. If the whiskey doesn’t cover the raisins, add water. Allow this mixture to heat until it’s simmering; simmer 10 minutes and then remove from heat. Allow the raisins to continue to soak.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat, flipping often so they don’t burn. You’ll want to toast them until they have darkened/goldened slightly and are fragrant. If you really wanted to go decadent here, you could candy the walnuts.
At about the 70 minute mark, peel the apples and chop them into cm x cm cubes, approximately. Sprinkle them with lemon juice to avoid them browning while you take care of the other steps.
At about the 80 minute mark, when your dough is just about finished rising, throw the raisins into a food processor or blender, or use a hand blender. Alternately, cut them with a knife. You want to purée them a bit so they are spreadable, almost like a jam.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the margarine, sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Stir together until the Earth Balance is melted.
Pour the sticky sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Add the chopped apples.
Dough – rolling and filling
You’ll know your dough is finished rising when you can press a finger into it and it doesn’t spring back.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Find your lasagna pan. Oil it.
Remove the dough from the oiled bowl and roll it out into a 15″ by 20″ rectangle on a clean, dry, floured surface. The more perfect the rectangle, the more perfect your buns.
Melt the Earth Balance for the filling and brush it evenly across the dough rectangle. Add the sugar, sprinkling evenly, and the cinnamon.
Now, starting at one horizontal edge (I prefer the one closest to my edge of the counter/table), spread the raisin mixture along the edge. You want to fill up about the bottom 5cm of the rectangle. This will fill the centre of the rolls with yummy whiskey raisins.
Sprinkle the toasted walnuts evenly across the dough rectangle.
Now it’s time to roll your buns up. Start at the bottom edge and roll nice and tight until you get to the top. You will now have a long, skinny tube. If possible, you will want to cut them with thread or fishing line so you don’t squish them. I used my thread to make marks along the length of the tube so I would end up with 12 evenly sized buns. Don’t worry – these will continue to rise afterward; they won’t really be as small as they look.
Again, for more details, check out the step by step photo guidelines at VeganYumYum.
Once your rolls are sliced, place them in the pan. They will be swimming in sauce by the end, which is good. Cover them and let them rise some more – I let them rise overnight in the fridge, but you can also just let them rise in a warm spot for another hour or 90 minutes.
Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until golden. We had a bit of an issue with the bottoms not being fully cooked due to the overwhelming wetness of the apples and sticky sauce. If this happens to you, put a piece of tin foil over the pan to avoid burning the tops and bake for another 20 minutes in the oven.
Let them cool for about 5 minutes before you eat them. Pull ’em out, flip ’em over, and eat with a fork. Add candied walnuts on top, or icing sugar, or fresh apple. Yum!