Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Candied Pecans...A New Family Tradition!

These cinnamon rolls are finger lickin' good. I made them for Brett and my one year anniversary last weekend and we were both in heaven as we ate them. It's not everyday that Brett gives me a high five after something I've created myself! Don't let the name fool you either. They may sound complicated, but they really aren't hard to make. I hope you try them and if you do, I'd love to hear how they turn out!

To be honest, experimenting with cooking and baking when I first went vegan wasn't easy. I didn't have enough basic knowledge of the science behind cooking and baking in general, so trying to create my own recipes without using any meat, eggs or milk wasn't easy! There were definitely nights of cooking that left me discouraged and wanting to give up on my new dairy and meat free life. 

I'm so glad I stuck with it and kept researching and practicing, because it's starting to pay off. I don't botch as many meals as I used to and lately the recipes I've created myself have turned out pretty good. "Pretty good" being the key phrase. I still have a lot of learning to do, but I must say that these cinnamon rolls turned out better than pretty good. They are now officially going to show up at special VanderMolen events, holidays and celebrations. 

Well, enough talking. Let's get to the recipe!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Candied Pecans
(Makes 8 rolls)


For the dough:
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons earth balance
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (scoop and sweep)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
For the Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance
  • 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
For the Candied Pecans:
  • 1/4 heaping cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon earth balance
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
For the Sugar Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 teaspoons almond milk

  1. To form the dough, start by combining the 1/4 cup of milk and 2 tablespoons of butter in a heat-safe bowl and microwave it for about 40 seconds until the butter is completely melted. Set aside to cool a little.
  2. While the milk/butter mixture is cooling, combine 2 tablespoons of milk with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and mix. Sprinkle the yeast on top and stir. Set it aside until the mixture is foamy (about 10-15 minutes).
  3. After the yeast mixture has gotten foamy, stir in the milk/butter mixture, followed by the applesauce, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Then add in the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour into the wet ingredients and stir until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Use your hands to knead everything together into a moist dough.
  5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding up to 1/4 of the remaining all-purpose flour as needed. Only add in as much as is needed to keep the dough from sticking to the kneading surface anymore.
  6. Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large, greased bowl. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 1 1/2 - 2 hours until doubled in size. (I turned my oven on to 200 degrees for a couple minutes and then turned it off. I covered my bowl with aluminum foil and placed it in the turned-off oven.
  7. As the dough rises make your cinnamon and brown sugar filling by stirring together the 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon with the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Set aside.
  8. Prepare a 8" x 8" baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside
  9. After the dough has risen, punch it down to deflate it. Lightly flour a clean surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Have the long edge be parallel to you.
  10. After you've rolled out the dough, rub 1 tablespoon of earth balance across the surface and then sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture all over the earth balance spread.
  11. Roll up the dough starting at the long end nearest you until you get a log. Seal the long edges together by pinching the dough. 
  12. Use a serrated knife to cut the log into 8 sections. Place the rolls into your prepared baking dish.
  13. At this point you can over the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until ready to bake. If you do this, let the dough sit out for about 1/2 hour until the dough is at room temperature and the rolls have risen some.
  14. If you are baking your rolls right away, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and as your oven heats, allow your rolls to rise a little by placing them in a warm place.
  15. Bake the rolls uncovered for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. 
  16. Prepare the sugar glaze and candied pecans as they bake.
  17. For the sugar glaze, start by mixing 1/4 cups of powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons of almond milk. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency.
  18. For the candied pecans, heat the teaspoon of butter in a small skillet. Once it melts add in the sugar and nuts and stir continuously for about 3-5 minutes. You don't want them to burn! Pour the nuts out onto a plate with parchment paper and allow the carmel coating the harden.
  19. Remove the rolls from the oven after they have finished baking and drizzle the sugar glaze on top. Sprinkle with candied nuts.
  20. Serve warm!

Notes: You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in your fridge for a few days. Reheat the rolls for about 20 seconds in the microwave.

Let your dough rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours in a warm place.

Roll the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface.

Cover with earth balance and sprinkle with the cinnamon and brown sugar filling.

Roll it up into a log and seal.

Cut the dough into 8 sections and place in a greased baking dish.

Let the rolls sit for a few minutes while you pre-heat your oven.

Prepare the sugar glaze and the candied pecans while the rolls are baking to perfection.

Remove the rolls from the oven and drizzle with the sugar glaze.

Top with the candied pecans and dig in!
I promise they won't last long.

Eat Consciously,



  1. Wow! These still look fantastic! I'm definitely going to save this for a special occasion... my husband's birthday is coming up and that sounds like the perfect excuse to give these a try!
    Pinning :)

  2. Thanks Yuliya! That sounds like the perfect occasion:) If you make them, please let me know how they turned out!


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