Try as I might, I’m hard pressed to think of a more intoxicating aroma than freshly made baked goods with loads of cinnamon, piping hot from the oven. You know, that close-your-eyes-and-breathe-as-deeply-as-you-can scent. Well, I was rewarded with that exact olfactory experience after making these Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls. As you can imagine, it was borderline painful to wait for the rolls to cool enough to dive into one; but yes, it was worth the wait!
With a soft and lightly sweetened dough, tons of cinnamon, fresh blueberry flavor literally bursting in every bite, and a touch of glaze drizzled on top, it’s easy to forget that these cinnamon rolls are much healthier than most. The tender dough is comprised of half whole wheat pastry flour instead of 100% all-purpose, unsweetened applesauce in lieu of butter, and a mere 2 Tbsp of evaporated cane juice in place of sugar. These cinnamon rolls are sweet, what with the brown sugar in the filling, but I used only a modest amount of glaze cut back on the overall amount of sugar.
*For those of you who are interested, I plugged the ingredients into an online calorie calculator, and was pleasantly surprised that each roll came out to a reasonable 286 calories, 4.1 grams of fat, and 24 grams of sugar (admittedly high in sugar for a regular breakfast, but okay as an occasional treat). Compare that to the astonishing 813 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 55 grams of sugar in a Cinnabon roll (the linked website notes that this nutritional information came directly from the USDA or manufacturer), and it’s perfectly clear which is the better choice.*
Using my slight adaptation of Sarah’s recipe for vegan cinnamon rolls (linked below) as a starting point, I couldn’t help but add in fresh blueberries to the cinnamon filling a la Kevin and Annie (also linked below). The juicy berries were such a fantastic addition to an already delicious cinnamon roll.
I couldn’t help but snap a photo of everyone’s favorite part of a cinnamon roll… the super soft & gooey center!
Seeing as I’m posting this on a Saturday, I highly recommend that you gather together the necessary ingredients and surprise someone you love with these Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls as a special Sunday breakfast.
Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
makes 8 rolls
adapted from and inspired by Sarah, Annie, & Kevin
1 cup plain soymilk (or almond milk), heated in the microwave for 45 seconds or until it reaches around 100 degrees F
2 1/4 tsp (or 1 0.25 oz packet) active dry yeast, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (plus up to 1/4 cup for kneading and rolling)
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar (or 1/4 cup for a sweeter dough)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar or Sucanat
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups blueberries, preferably organic
1/2 cup powdered evaporated cane juice (usually labeled “organic powdered sugar” or “unrefined powdered sugar”)
1 1/2 Tbsp plain soymilk (or almond milk)
splash pure vanilla extract, about 1/4 tsp
Coat an 8×8 inch square baking pan, or 9-inch round cake pan, with canola oil baking spray. Set aside.
Scatter yeast over warmed milk and allow to activate for about 10 minutes, or until frothy (you may need to help out the yeast a bit by gently pushing it into the milk, but don’t stir the mixture quite yet).
Meanwhile, whisk together both kinds of flour, baking powder, evaporated cane juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted margarine. Set aside.
When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the applesauce. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until incorporated. Transfer dough onto a clean lightly floured surface and knead until soft and smooth, adding enough extra all-purpose flour (up to 3 Tbsp) to keep dough from sticking, about 2 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and margarine mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
Scatter blueberries evenly over the top. Gently push berries into dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Starting at a short end, carefully & tightly roll the dough jelly roll-style, making sure the filling doesn’t come out at the sides. Gently pinch seam closed. Cut the roll into 8 even pieces and place in prepared pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (I like to place it on top of the preheating oven) until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Either refrigerate, covered, overnight or proceed immediately to step 11.
Remove the towel and bake rolls at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the glaze by stirring together the powdered sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp soymilk, and vanilla extract.
Remove rolls from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer rolls to a wire rack, drizzle with glaze, and let sit for an additional 15 minutes before serving.