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When it comes to vegan food, it’s often in its simplest, stripped-down version, a highlight of vegetables and occasionally the one-off meat substitute. But while veganism certainly revolves around abstaining from animal products, many classically animal-heavy dishes can still be veganified. 

Related Reading: A Vegan Mac and Cheese That’s Just as Comforting as the Original

That’s what “Epic Vegan,” a cookbook from vegan chef Dustin Harder, is all about. Here, everything is over the top. The book is filled with recipes like coconut-cheddar fondue, breakfast nachos scattered with vegan sausage and pineapple chunks, buffalo cauliflower bites sprinkled with everything seasoning, and deep-dish brunch pizza, loaded with cheddar biscuits, mushrooms, and sausage gravy. All the recipes are fundamentally plant based, just viewed through a unique lens.

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Now that the weather outside is frightful, there’s no better time to jumpstart a baking project, and what better place to start than Dustin’s recipe for cinnamon rolls? Inspired by Cinnabon, this version stays true to the traditional recipe—minus butter, of course. The icing slathered on top is a killer mix of vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and a dousing of vanilla extract; it’ll instantly melt into the hot, cinnamon-coated rolls, and should be consumed immediately.

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Cinnadiction Rolls

Cinnamon rolls are everyone’s decadent sinful delight. That cinnamon roll kiosk at the mall everyone loved in the ’90s, Cinnabon, is the inspiration for this roll. While they can be intimidating to tackle, nothing feels as satisfying as serving up warm homemade cinnamon rolls to your brunch guests. Just take your time and go step by step: While the dough is resting, make the filling; while the baked rolls are cooling, make the icing. Or assemble them the night before. Make-ahead hack: After the assembled, but unbaked, rolls have risen, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the wrap, allow to come to room temperature, and bake according to recipe instructions.

Cinnadiction Rolls

Makes: 12 rolls
Ingredients
  • For Dough: 1 cup (235 ml) plus ¼ cup (60 ml) warm water, divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons (5 g) active dry yeast (¼-ounce/7 g packet)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) plus ½ cup (100 g) organic cane sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (14 g) flax meal
  • 4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄3 cup (75 g) vegan butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Canola oil or cooking spray
  • For Filling: 1 cup (225 g) packed organic dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (112 g) vegan butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (21 g) ground cinnamon For Icing:
  • 1½ cups (150 g) organic confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (84 g) vegan butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60 g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pinches sea salt
Instructions
  1. To make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup (235 ml) of the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the cane sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) water. Set aside for 5 minutes, until thickened.
  3. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar, flour, butter, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the flax mixture. Mix until everything just comes together. Knead on a floured surface or with the dough hook for 2 to 4 minutes, until a stiff, elastic dough forms. Coat the dough on all sides with canola oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish with canola oil or cooking spray.
  4. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 16 x 12-inch (40 x 30-cm) rectangle, about ¼ inch (6 mm) thick, with the long edge toward you.
  5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll up the dough from the bottom to the top as tightly and evenly as possible; set it on its seam. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1½ inches (3.5 cm) thick.
  6. Place the rolls, cut-sides up, into the prepared baking dish. There should be 4 rows with 3 rolls in each, with some space between each roll. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes, or until they have risen and expanded. While they are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4).
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned. Let cool in the baking dish for 30 minutes.
  8. To make the icing: In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Mix until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  9. Spread the icing over the tops of the rolls; it will melt a little. Dig in right away, but they’re better if you let the rolls sit for an additional 20 to 25 minutes for the icing to solidify.
  10. Bacon variation: Use 1 cup (160 g) Quinoa Bacon Bits and sprinkle ¾ cup (120 g) over the cinnamon-sugar spread before rolling up the dough. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup (40 g) over the rolls once they’ve been iced.

Header image courtesy of Ashley Madden.

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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