Friday, December 17, 2010

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls!

My birthday was on the 14th (!!), and my amazing boyfriend bought me the best present ever-- a brand- spanking new 9-speed electric mixer!  Heyyoo!  I needed to use it immediately.  Chelsea came in for a visit, and she was craving apple muffins.  I wanted cookies and an excuse to use my mixer.  This was a.... delicious compromise.

(Vegan) Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls  

I've never made cinnamon rolls, so I used a base recipe that sounded amazing + some of my own touches.  It's essentially a cinnamon bun with an apple filling, apple cider glaze, and a caramel drizzle.  Hell to the yes.  The dough recipe came from a vegan blogger who used to work for Cinnabun.  SOLD.

The Dough:
- 4.5 cups AP flour
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 "flax eggs" (2 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water)
- 1/3 cup vegan butter (melted)

The Filling:
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon

The Glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter
- 6 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 tsp vanilla

The Drizzle:
(aka caramel)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1/4 cup vegan creamer

1. In a small saucepan, heat up the soy milk.  Warm it until it's just warm enough to dip your finger in it.  Remove from heat once warmed, and pour into a medium-sized bowl.  
2. Add the brown sugar, and stir to dissolve.  Add the yeast, stir, and set aside to proof.
3. Use a mixer (I can do this now!!) to blend together the ground flax seeds and water.
4. Add the flax mixture, melted butter, and vanilla to the proofed yeast (make sure it sat for about 10 minutes).  Stir gently.
5. Grab a large bowl and measure out your flour.  Add the wet mixture to the flour, and knead!  Knead! Knead!  It should be soft and "elastic" -- this will take a bit, but you will get there!
6. Place the dough back into the large bowl, shape into a ball, and cover with a warm, damp cloth.  Let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
7. While the dough is rising, start your filling!  You can either bake your apples, or cook them down on the stove.  We chose the stove.
8. Chop your apples into teeny, tiny pieces.
9. Grab a small saucepan, and begin to melt your butter over medium heat.  As it begins to melt, add apples and spices.  Cook, cook, cook (stirring constantly) until apples are soft (but not mush!).  
10. Once your dough has risen, punch the ball into a disk and throw onto a floured surface. 
11. Roll dough into a rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick).  Once you have a nice rectangle, brush the vegan butter over the dough, leaving 3" naked at one end (to stay sticky- you need to seal those buns somehow!).
12. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, avoiding the naked edge.
13. Roll that baby up!  Cut into slices- you'll get about 8.
14. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place rolls on top, facing up.
15. Cover the rolls with another warm, damp towel, and let rise for another 30 minutes.  They should double in size again.
16. Preheat your oven to 400F.
17. Once buns have risen, place in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.  You're looking to achieve that lovely golden brown color.
18. To make the glaze: Grab a small saucepan and melt butter over medium-heat.  Add sugar, cider, and vanilla.  Stir to combined, and turn heat to low.
19. To make the caramel: Make sure you have everything pre-measured and ready to go- caramel is fast!  Heat the sugar in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir continuously with a wisk.  Once the sugar boils (and smells amazing), add the vegan butter and mix.  Once the butter melts, remove from heat.  Wait a few seconds, and add the vegan creamer.  Wisk to smooth!  BE CAREFUL!
20. Once the buns come out of the oven (ha), pour the glaze and caramel over them!