Whole Wheat Vegan Cinnamon Rolls & Other Sweet Things

I’ve got the recipe for these bad boys… But first, maybe I’ve admitted this before, but I have a sweet tooth and I like to spend time making sweet things in the kitchen. Baking and making treats is a lot of fun for me, and I get to control the ingredients. Also, I share the treats with family and friends, as well as freeze some for later so I’m not tempted to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

Here’s my short list of favorite vegan desserts:

1) Ice cream. I grew up eating ice cream like it was a food group unto itself. Ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack, I could eat it any time, and did. Nowadays, it’s a bit more sparing and it’s sans dairy. My favorite store brand is SO Delicious. It’s rich, but not too rich. I like the chocolate peanut butter and vanilla best. Add some sliced banana to the chocolate peanut butter, berries to the vanilla (I like to sprinkle a tablespoon or two of chopped nuts or grape-nuts on top for extra texture). Yum. When I have time, I like to make my own ice cream out of cashews, coconut milk, and/or brown rice with dates or agave as sweetener. I use my trusty Blendtec, which gives me a creamy, creamy, smooth finished product. And just as a side note, homemade ice cream always tastes better fresh (don’t most things?).

2) Cookies. More specifically, chocolate chip. My favorite recipes are Dreena Burton’s as well as Isa’s (PPK). When I make Isa’s recipe, I use a large ice cream scoop to disburse the dough, then flatten them a bit. They come out just they way I like–dense and chewy. I want my cookie to have sustenance. Oh, I also like to add chopped walnuts to any cookie I make. Gives it a little oomph, as well adds some good omega-3’s (sures beats fish, any day!). My biggest pet peeve with chocolate chip cookies is when they come out flat and anemic looking. Both these recipes really delivery a hearty, and lip smacking worthy cookie, deserving of a big glass of cold plant milk to go with it.

3) Anything peanut buttery. Add chocolate and it couldn’t get better. I made these yesterday: Homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter cups, courtesy of Alicia Silverstone. These would be a perfect treat for Easter morning, if you have kids and do the Easter candy thing. I made the peanut butter cups in the mini-cupcake pans, so they are more reminiscent of mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and lighter on the calories, and more appropriate-sized for my kids. Also, I didn’t have any graham crackers, but I did have a box of Annie’s organic chocolate chip graham bears, which when crushed, looked and tasted exactly like crushed graham crackers. I highly recommend this recipe when you have to bring a dessert to a party–definitely a crowd pleaser! I loved Alicia Silverstone since her debut in Clueless, back in my high school days, and since she’s turned vegan activist/chef, I like her even more! Her recipe can be found here. Also, for those who are doing WW, each mini-cup is worth 4 Weight Watcher points.

4) Cinnamon Rolls. Homemade and vegan, please.

This folks, is a recipe created by my husband. They are vegan. He is not vegan. But these are. And they are pretty amazing. Perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast.

Here are the rolls right before putting them into the oven:

J derived inspiration from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, completely veganizing their recipe. For those doing Weight Watchers, each roll is 7 pts.

Whole Wheat Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

4 cups whole wheat flour (J made flour using our Blendtec)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (plus more as needed)

2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup plain almond milk

1/3 c. Earth Balance or Smart Balance (vegan kind)

1/3 c. sucanat (you may use other sweetener, but this is what he used)

1/2 tsp. salt

3 TBS. ground flax seed, mixed with 1/2 c. water

3/4 c. sucanat + 1 TBS. molasses, mixed thoroughly

1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour

1 TBS. cinnamon

1/3 c. Earth Balance or Smart Balance

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1 TBS. plain almond milk

1. In large mixing bowl combine 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour with yeast. In a saucepan heat & stir 1 c. almond milk, 1/3 c. Earth Balance, sucanat, and salt just until warm and Earth Balance almost melts; add to flour mixture along with flax/water mixture. Beat with electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour as you can.

2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 3-5 minutes), using additional flour as needed. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover with a warm, slightly damp dishtowel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

3. Punch dough down, and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two 9X1 1/2 inch round baking pans or 2 baking sheets and set aside.

4. To make the filling, stir together the sucanat (or white sugar) & molasses mixture, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in 1/3 c. Earth Balance until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

5. Roll each half of the dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Roll up the rectangle starting from the long side. Seal the seams and slice each roll into 12 pieces. Place in prepared pans or baking sheets.

6. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes, until double (or chill for 2-24 hours–let rise 30 minutes before baking).

7. Brush dough with almond milk. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven, brush again with almond milk. Cool for 1 minute. Drizzle with vanilla glaze, and eat ’em warm with a tall glass of almond milk or your favorite cup of tea!

For the glaze: stir together 1 1/4 c. sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 TBS. plain almond milk. Should be a little runny, for drizzling consistency.


  1. Inkling
    on April 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm said:

    I'm thinking that it might be nice to move from BC to your place for a month just to take cooking lessons and write down recipes all day. Thanks for making me totally drool. =) Seriously though, thanks for keeping me motivated in the kitchen to keep on striving to be healthy, creative, use whole foods when possible, and to try various veggies I've always passed up in the past.

  2. The Future Dr. B-S
    on April 19, 2011 at 2:17 am said:

    I love those peanut butter cups! They are phenomenal – and the rolls look great!

  3. Melanie
    on April 18, 2011 at 9:02 pm said:

    Thank you! I've been wanting a healthiER, veganized version of cinnamon rolls. 🙂 These look great!