True Fact: Nobody, anywhere, makes a cinnamon roll like a Mennonite.
I’ve had considerable experience sampling Mennonite cinnamon rolls from various individuals and bakeries. Nothing else, anywhere, comes even close, and I’ve tried several different recipes from other sources with no luck.
So I decided to stop fooling around and study at the feet of these cinnamon roll masters, and with the aid of a few handy connections came into possession of two recipes to work with. I’ll be honest, I’ve yet to try the second one because the first one was so perfect. As of last week I successfully veganised it without sacrificing any of the fluffy, soft, incomparable goodness that defines a Mennonite cinnamon roll. And now I will share it with you.
The amounts in red are for a doubled batch. A single recipe will make about 12 rolls.
First, get out 1/3 c (2/3 c) Nucoa margarine to start softening in a bowl.
For eggs: Grind up 3 T (6 T) flaxseed (or if you have pre-ground, just measure it out) and stir that in 1/2 c + 1 T (1 c + 2 T) hot water in a small bowl. Let it sit until it gels.
To the bowl with the margarine, add:
1 c (2 c) non-dairy milk
1/3 c (2/3 c) brown sugar
1 tsp (2 tsp) salt
Using a hand mixer, whiz it all together until the margarine is in small bits.
1 T (2 T) yeast in 1/4 c (1/2 c) warm water
Stir into margarine mixture. Pour in the flax eggs.
1-2 cups whole wheat flour (go easy on this; to get a fluffy cinnamon roll you can’t have a ton of wheat flour weighing it down. Remember, this is dessert, not health food!)
Continue to stir in white flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough is able to be handled. (You will use around 5-6 cups total for a single batch.) It will feel silky joy to knead it. Silky, doughy joy. After several minutes of kneading, when you poke it with your finger and it springs back, it’s ready to start rising.
Spray your bowl with cooking spray, plop your nicely formed ball of dough in it, and spray the dough with cooking spray too. Set it in a warm place (I find that my gas oven with pilot light on is perfect) and cover with a cloth. Let it rise about 45 minutes.
When your timer goes off, let the dough sit a few more minutes while you prepare your pans (a single batch fills 2 9″ pie pans, with 6 buns per pan) by spraying with cooking spray.
Now get your filling ingredients ready. I suggest:
1/2 c (1 c) brown sugar
1 T (2 T) cinnamon
Raisins to personal taste (if desired)
1/2 c (1 c) finely chopped nuts (optional)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Now, take your bowl of risen dough out of its rising place and punch it down. (If you’ve made a double batch, use a sharp knife to cut the lump in half and do one half at a time.)
Press with your hands or use a rolling pin (or both) to get the dough into the semblance of a rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. Spread the sugar/cinnamon evenly on the rectangle first, making sure to get all the way to the edges, then sprinkle the raisins and/or nuts, pressing down on them slightly so they stay put while you’re rolling up the roll.
To roll the rolls, start with the long side nearest you and roll away from yourself. It can take some practise, but it’s not that difficult. Try to keep it as tightly rolled as you can, and pinch the dough closed when you get to the other side.
Now take a sharp knife and cut the log into 12 equal pieces, which you will then transfer to your pans. They may need a little reshaping; this is normal and okay.
Preheat the oven to 350 while you let the rolls rise for 20-30 minutes. When they have doubled in size, you’ll bake them 20-30 minutes.
To glaze, mix 1-2 cups of powdered sugar with a tablespoon or so of milk and just enough water to make a thick gooey mass. You will glaze the rolls hot out of the oven, and the heat will thin out the glaze, so you want to start with it being very thick.
Enjoy. Enjoy to the fullest. I hope you have as much luck with this recipe as I’ve had.