Category: breakfast

Perfect Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

I adore this recipe.

When I went vegan a little over five years ago, I had a minor panic attack when I realized I’d never eat another Cinnabon again. I remember I used to ask my dad to bring them home from the airport for me when I was little, whenever he had a business trip. The fluffy swirls of dough, the sugary syrup, the cream cheese frosting… I needed to recreate them perfectly, vegan style. And let me tell you, these are a dead ringer for our mall and airport favorites.

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese FrostingBut it comes at a price. If you’re looking for a healthy, low-fat, calorie conscious treat, I can’t help you today. If you’re looking for a recipe that is guaranteed to win over any vegan doubter, guaranteed to please any Cinnabon lover, guaranteed to send any child into a permanent sugar high; these buns are for you.

There is a lot of sugar and Earth Balance margarine in these. But hey, the recipe makes a ton of rolls, and it takes four hours to make, so they’re really special occasion buns. Embrace the cups (and cups) of sugar and fat, and you will definitely be rewarded with the most perfect cinnamon bun you’ve ever had. Isn’t it worth it, at least once?

I think so.

For those of you who haven’t yet overcome your apprehension about yeast breads, I encourage you to give these a try. I’ve included tons of photos and a video to clarify the process and give you an idea how the dough is supposed to look at every step. They might seem intimidating, but they’re easier than you think!

I think these would be an amazing way to wake up Mom on Sunday, paired with a nice hot cup of coffee. You can make these ahead of time, refrigerating over night before the second rise and popping them in the oven in the morning, or you can freeze them for later. More info on that at the end of the recipe.

Perfect Cinnamon Buns
Makes 12 Large Buns

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Water, 110º F

1 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Ener-g Egg Replacer Eggs, prepared, optional
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Dough Filling
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Tbs Cinnamon

Pan Sauce
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1/3 Cup Sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 Cup Earth Balance
1/3 Cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Combine yeast mixture and set aside to proof.

From the dough ingredients, combine the soymilk, sugar, earth balance, salt, and ener-g eggs in a small sauce pan. Heat until earth balance is melted and all the ingredients are well combined, but do not let the mixture get too hot. You should be able to put a finger in it without burning yourself.

The yeast should now be nice and foamy (proofed). Combine it with the warmed liquid you just made; make sure it’s not too hot, or you will kill your yeast.

Proofed Yeast and Liquid Ingredients

Place 4 cups of all purpose flour in a large bowl. Add the warmed wet ingredients.

Mixing the Dough

Beat the batter well with a wooden spoon. The dough will be very wet and liquid, much more like a batter than a dough.

Mixing the Dough

Add 2 more cups of flour and mix in partially. It’ll look like a wreck. That’s fine! Turn out the dough onto a large table/kneading surface, scraping out everything in the bowl.


Begin kneading, gently at first. It’s going to take about 8 minutes to get the dough where it needs to be. Add more flour only if the dough starts sticking to the table and there is no more dry flour to be worked into the dough. You want the dough to end up smooth and elastic, and slightly tacky, but not sticky. You should be able to knead it on a bare table without it sticking.

Here is a video of the kneading and cutting process, so you can see the stages the dough goes through.

Cinnamon Buns

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled bowl, covered with oiled plastic wrap, to rise for 90 minutes in a warm spot. If you’re lacking a warm spot, turn your oven on low for 1 minute, then turn it off and place the dough in the oven to rise with the door closed. Remember to turn the oven off after one minute, and remember the dough is in there — no preheating for other things! (I’ve made that mistake more than once, it’s never good.)

Once the dough has risen completely, it’ll leave a little dent when you poke it. If it springs back, it needs more time.

Risen Dough

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down (this is part is in the video above). You want it press or roll it out into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle. You can use a roller if you want, but it’s not necessary.

Pour the 1/2 cup of melted earth balance on the dough. Brush it so the dough is covered completely. It’s okay if it pools in some locations.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar from the dough filling above. Sprinkle it evenly over the dough.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

Prepare a large baking dish, like a lasagna dish, by pouring in the melted earth balance from the pan sauce ingredients above. Brush the sides of the pan so they are greased.

Melted Earth Balance

Add the sugar, spreading evenly over the bottom of pan. The pan is now ready for the buns.

The following steps are shown in detail in the video above: Roll the dough up gently, starting from one of the short sides. Let it rest on the seem once it’s rolled up completely. Cut 12 rolls with dental floss or sewing thread. Place the rolls in the pan. (Ignore the fact that they are practically floating in earth balance and sugar.)

Cinnamon Buns, pre-baked

Cover the buns and let rise for 45 minutes if you will be baking these immediately. If baking the next day, cover the buns and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in the morning with no need for more rising. If making the buns for a date in the future, cover the buns and freeze immediately. The day before you are ready to use them, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then let warm up on the counter the next morning for an hour. In any case, when ready to bake, follow the directions below.

Preheat the oven to 350º F, remembering to remove the rising buns if they are in there!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes.

Cinnamon Buns, baked

Stir together the frosting ingredients. It takes a bit of elbow grease to mix it together, but resist the urge to add liquid. It will come together, I promise. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Serve the buns warm with frosting. I like to microwave completely cooled buns for 45-60 seconds before eating.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring Crêpes Three Ways

Spring Crêpes, Three Ways

Happy Spring, lovelies!

It’s time to break out of our winter food ruts, and I think I have just the thing. Crêpes! They’re light and can be filled with almost anything, but to get your imagination started I’ve created three recipes for you to try.

Now, vegan crepes. They’re not hard once you get the hang of them. The recipe I’m posting here comes from a veganized version of a standard “Eggless Crepe” recipe that’s floating around on the interwebs. I just subbed soymilk and Earth Balance for milk and butter. I also think it needs a little extra water, and I’ll point that out in the recipe below. There is also a really good crêpe recipe in Veganomicon, if you have that cook book, but it calls for chickpea flour. If you have your own favorite recipe, use that! Whatever works for you will work here.

There’s a little video below to get you started if you’re new to crêpes.

The great thing about these is that you can make absolutely everything ahead. They heat up in minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking bunch or lunch for several people who all want different fillings. Simply place the cold crêpe in the pan, put the fillings on top, heat through, and serve. I make extra crêpes and keep them in the fridge for quick meals for the next day or two.

So, the fillings!

Asparagus Hollandaise

Asparagus Hollandaise Crêpe

Asparagus season is here or will be shortly, and this creamy hollandaise-ish sauce is perfect with spring-tender stalks. I just quickly pan-seared them so they’d have lots of flavor without overcooking them. You can check out my guide to buying and prepping asparagus if you like. The sauce has an almond base, so if you have good blender, you should be able to throw it together in minutes. Nutritional yeast is optional, but it does give it a nice pale yellow color and as well as some flavor. If you leave out the yeast, you might want to add a little turmeric for color.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée Crêpe

I’m a sometimes-mushroom person. Sometimes I love them, other times I eat around them. I find the less-common mushrooms to be the tastiest. I used king trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms in this crêpe, and man were they delicious. Morels are coming in season, and they’d be wonderful, too. You’re welcome to use more standard mushrooms if you want (cremini, portabello, button), but these fancier ‘shrooms were a real treat for me. I paired them with some wilted frisée (also called curly endive or chicory). It’s kind of bitter, but seems to mellow out with a quick sauté. It matches the mushrooms perfectly.

Berry Crêpes

Berry Crêpe au Sucre

I really wanted to use strawberries in this one, but alas, it’s not quite the season for them yet. The ones at my local store looked pretty sad. The raspberries, on the other hand, looked perfect. You can use any berry you like in these, along with a little sugar. The sugar melts a bit, making this crazy-easy dessert really very tasty. If you want, you can put a few tiny chunks of candied ginger in there as well. You don’t need berries at all; my absolute favorite all-time crêpe is a simple crêpe au sucre. Just sugar. Pure and simple.

Basic Crêpes
Makes 8-10

1/2 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Earth Balance, melted
1 Cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Sugar (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 Tbs Water, to thin if needed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or in a bowl. Blend or whisk until smooth. Transfer to a 2 Cup measuring cup (for pouring) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the batter is refrigerating, prepare your fillings.

Asparagus Hollandaise
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Lb Thin Asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Pinch Salt
Black Pepper

Heat a large skillet (I used then cast-iron skillet for all of the fillings) over high heat. Add Earth Balance and asparagus. Cook for a few minutes, until asparagus are bright green, tender-crisp, and are browning in spots. Add salt and pepper, set aside.

Seared Asparagus

Hollandaise Sauce
1/2 Cup Sliced Raw Almonds
1/2 Cup Hot Water
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast, optional (or 1/4 tsp turmeric for color)
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard, optional

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until extremely smooth.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Cup Chopped Chanterelle Mushroms
1 Cup Chopped Trumpet Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, stem removed
1 Cup Chopped Frisée Greens
1-2 Cloves garlic, minced, optional

Chanterelle and Trumpet MushroomsSlice trumpet mushrooms lengthwise, then lengthwise again.

Add the earth balance to a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add trumpet mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown. Add chanterelles and rosemary. Turn down heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar. Remove mushrooms from pan.

Add garlic and sweat until tender. Add greens and cook until just wilted, one to two minutes. Remove and set aside with mushrooms.

Sauteed Chanterelle and Trumpet Mushrooms with Rosemary

Berry Crêpes
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Pint Raspberries (or other berries)

Berry crêpes are filled while the crêpes are still cooking. Add sugar and berries to the crêpe as soon as it is flipped. See below for more details about cooking the crêpes.

Making Crêpes

So now that you fillings are all prepared, and your crêpe batter has rested and chilled, we’re ready to make crêpes! I’ve made a video that outlines the whole process, but here are a few things you’ll need:

-A non-stick omelet or crêpe pan
-Cooking Spray
-A graduated spatula (the long flat kind you use for frosting cakes), optional

If your batter is too thick when it comes out of the fridge, stir in 2 Tbs of water to loosen it up.

Here’s how:

How to make Crepes from lolo on Vimeo.

Assembling and Serving

So now you have a stack of cooling crêpes and fillings that have gone cold. No worries. You can keep your fillings in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve, or even easier, warm them up with the crêpes at the same time.

When you’re ready to eat, place a crêpe back in a hot skillet (medium heat is fine) and add the fillings you want in the top. Cover the whole thing and wait a few minutes. You want everything to get hot, but you don’t want to cook the crêpe any more than it is. When it’s hot, fold the crêpe in thirds and serve. It should only take 1-2 minutes per crêpe to heat up, so you can make them to order for your friends and family.

Okay! So are you ready to make crêpes? I hope so, because typing the little circumflex is getting really annoying. Making crêpes is much easier than accenting them correctly, I assure you.

Spring Crêpes, Three Ways