I absolutely adore cinnamon buns (who doesn’t like ooey, gooey, mouthfuls of comforting cinnamon goodness?!). However, they’re often very heavy with copious amounts of butter and sugar—so I am very excited to share with you this recipe for VEGAN STICKY DATE CINNAMON BUNS! These are low-GI, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, and most importantly food-coma-free. That is, unless you eat the whole batch in one sitting—trust me it’ll be hard not though!
The recipe is super simple with the filling made of puréed Medjool dates, which are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber unlike refined sugar. They are also great energy boosters because of the naturally occurring sugars, which makes them perfect for breakfast or as a snack. I didn’t make it gluten-free because I won’t be able to call this recipe easy anymore, but opted for some whole spelt flour instead. There is no icing because I personally don’t like slathering more sugar on top of perfectly sweet rolls, but I have included a method to make coconut whipped cream. So without further ado, brace yourself for the irresistible smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
Vegan Sticky Date Cinnamon Buns
2 cups whole spelt flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
¾ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup + 1 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (about 8-10 dates)
1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (or to taste)
¼ tsp sea salt
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients for the dough. In a saucepan, combine the applesauce and coconut oil over low heat—you don’t want to kill the yeast later—until the coconut oil is just melted. Stir the applesauce mixture to the dry ingredients until it forms a shaggy dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it—adding more flour as necessary until you get a soft and pliable dough—about 10 minutes. Form a dough ball and place it into a large bowl lightly greased with coconut oil. Cover with a towel and let it rise for an hour in a warm place.
3. Now to make the filling, fully submerge the date with boiling water and let them soak for about 10 minutes so they soften. Drain the water, and add the dates to a food processor with the rest of the coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt. Scrape once or twice to make sure everything is fully incorporated. Taste, and add more cinnamon, salt, or coconut sugar if desired. Let cool.
4. After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle, 10” x 13” or so. Slather the filling evenly over the dough. Gently roll the dough width-wise into a tight log, making sure the filling is enclosed. Slice the log with a serrated knife into 8-10 pieces and transfer the rolls into a 9” baking dish. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
5. Bake the buns for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for minutes.
6. Take a picture, rip off a piece, and DIG IN!
Coconut whipped cream (optional):
1. The night before, place a can of coconut milk in the fridge. Place a large mixing bowl in the freezer 5 minutes before taking removing the can from the fridge
2. Now flip the can upside down, and pour out the liquid into a bowl. You can use this liquid for your smoothies or anything else.
3. Take out the mixing bowl and scoop the coconut cream into it. Now just whip it up with a hand mixer until it’s light and fluffy! Add some maple syrup and vanilla extract into it if desired.
4. Scoop a dollop onto your cinnamon roll and enjoy!
Carmen is a breakfast fanatic and nutrition student hailing from Vancouver, Canada. She enjoys preparing whole, nutritious, and delicious home-made meals and well, just eating good food (that is also good for you!). Check out her Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/