Make Something Monday: Vegan, Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls and I go way back. Growing up, my grandmother would make a pan of fluffy, sweet cinnamon rolls, sans icing, for just about every family occasion. I still don't know if she bought them or made them from scratch, but she always seemed to have a tray on hand for even the most impromptu get together. Upon moving to Chicago, I moved further away from my grandmother's baking, but I discovered the wonder that is Ann Sathers' ginormous, gooey, icing covered cinnamon rolls. They were much less wholesome than my grandmother's, but they still satisfied my inner child.

I thought I might have to give up on my icing covered treat when I went vegan. Thankfully, the Chicago Diner has massive, moist cinnamon rolls that are nearly identical to the ones as Ann Sathers'...minus the dairy & eggs, of course. I often find myself craving them as I deliver plate after plate during brunch shifts, but they're not gluten free so I do my best to stay away.

Fortunately, there's a recipe for cinnamon rolls in Babycakes Covers the Classics that is gluten-free. I decided to test it out to see if it could quell my cravings. Normally Erin McKenna is spot on with her GF baking prowess. I've never had a recipe from her cookbook that tasted overly dense or dry. These rolls however, were a bit different from what I was expecting. More compact than fluffy and more chewy than gooey, they failed to satisfy my craving for Diner cinnamon rolls, but they still had their own selling points.

Remember those pre-packaged little debbie cinnamon/honey rolls that you used to get from gas stations as a kid? They kind of taste like that. And amazingly, they reheat even better than fresh from the oven, a rare quality in gluten-free baking.

cinnamon rolls

Ingredients [with a few substitutions from Babycakes Wonder Buns]

For dough: 1 1/4 c gluten-free all-purpose flour 1/2 c brown rice flour 1/4 c arrowroot 1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tbsp cinnamon 1/4 c melted coconut oil 1/2 c agave nectar 3 tbsp vanilla 1 c warm water

For glazing: 1/2 c rice flour 1/4 c melted coconut oil 1/2 c agave nectar 3 tbsp cinnamon

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients [flours, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon]. Add coconut oil, agave, & vanilla and stir until combined. The dough will be slightly dry & crumbly at this point. Slowly add the warm water to the mixture until it's smooth & tacky in texture. Cover bowl and refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes. Turn chilled dough out onto a clean, flat surface sprinkled with rice flour. Dust the top of the dough and rolling pin with additional rice flour to avoid sticking. Roll the dough out into a rectangular shape with the short side facing you. Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the flat dough with coconut oil. Mix together agave & cinnamon to brush on top of coconut oil, covering the entire surface of the dough. Starting with the short side, slowly roll your dough into one long tube [cinnamon on the inside, of course]. Using a sharp knife, cut your dough into 1 inch thick sections & place in a baking tin. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until rolls are dry at the edges and slightly moist in the center. Optional: cover with any extra cinnamon/agave mixture & top with vanilla glaze.