Fair warning: while these cinnamon rolls are easy and take little actual work, they do take forever to make because of the long resting times needed to rise properly. It's basically like Do Step 1. Wait 3 hours. Do step 2. Go to sleep. Wake up, bake, devour. So: easy, but requires a bit of planning.
Fortunately, you can freeze them once baked, and have them ready at a moment's (or thawing's) notice.
The reward for all this waiting around: Soft, sweet, flavorful cinnamon rolls that will rock your world (and they're vegan too, of course!)
Oh yeah, the "downside" is that they require a sourdough starter. Whatever. Just accept the fact that almost all bread/roll/biscuit/pancake recipes from me are going to involve sourdough starter. That stuff multiplies fast, and I hate to throw it out and waste it, so I gotta use it! Plus, i'm completely addicted to the depth of flavor that it gives all baked goods, as well as the communion it provides with a slower kind of life.
Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe for these delicious cinnamon rolls (which I made in part as a test to make sure they are good enough to bake for my parents Easter morning... and in part because who doesn't love cinnamon rolls?)
Overnight Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
1 1/2 Cup Sourdough Starter
2/3 Cup Soymilk
2 TBSP Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
1 TBSP Melted Earth Balance/"butter"
1 tsp Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 TBSP Melted or Softened Earth Balance/"butter"
2 or 3 TBSP Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 TSBP Soymilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
* If you want something more like "icing" than "glaze," double the powdered sugar and add in 1 TBSP of melted butter. Stir. Adjust the sugar vs. milk ratio until you have the desired consistency. You can also add in a splash of maple syrup or even coffee (yummmm!!!!) for some extra flavor.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the Sourdough Starter, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla, Melted Earth Balance, Salt, and Baking Soda.
Slowly add the flour a little at a time until you have a dough that is soft but not sticky, and which is cohesive enough to be handled.
Rub some Earth Balance in a bowl and roll the dough around in it so it is coated in a thin sheen of butter. Cover and let rise until doubled...
It will take about 3 hours to double. You can leave it for longer and I suppose if you were in a pinch you could do it for a little shorter. If you have a gas oven, you can set it in there and the pilot light of the oven should provide a good temperature for it to rise (keep the oven off).
Once it's doubled in size, punch the dough down**. Punching the dough down just involves pressing it down with your hand. No need to go crazy on it, as the following step of rolling it out will also help the process.
Sprinkle a cutting board or table with a good amount of flour. You can add some sprinkles of cinnamon also (the dough will happily pick it up when you lay it down, yum). Roll out the dough into a rectangle***. You want it to be maybe 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick and it will probably wind up around 9x18 in size****.
Now brush/spread the melted or softened butter all over it. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle as evening as possible all over, even out to the edges. If you don't feel like mixing, you can sprinkle with sugar and THEN with cinnamon, instead of mixing them. Either way works with only slightly different results.
Roll it up! You can roll it up one of two ways, the long way or the wide way. I think the wide way is the more common method, but I did the the long way and obviously they turned out fine. The long way results in fewer but larger rolls, with more spirals of cinnamon sugar yumminess. The wide way results in more rolls, and like I said, it's the generally recommended method (although mine turned out fine, clearly). In any case, rolling towards you is easier than rolling away or to the side of you.
Pinch the "seam" down so that the roll doesn't unroll itself too easily. Also, if your ends are messy, ignore it. It all comes out fine once it's baked (and those "ruined" ends can be claimed by you, a cook making a noble sacrifice).
Now take a sharp knife and cut the roll into rounds about 1.5 or 2 inches thick. Arrange them touching on a well-greased baking sheet (or in a casserole dish if they will fit, which is what I did) and refrigerate overnight.
Wake up the next morning remove from the fridge. Let them sit out somewhere warm while your oven preheats to 400. When my oven preheats the stovetop gets pretty warm, so that is where I like to set them (or over top of our strongest radiator if the heat is on.. which in Boston is um, most of the year). Bake for 20-30 minutes at 400. You want them to get a little golden brown and to be firm when you tap them.
If you're eating them now, make the glaze/icing while they cool a bit and then spoon the glaze on them. Proceed to devour.
If you plan to freeze them to have around for cinnamon roll emergencies, do NOT glaze them. Just freeze them. When you want to eat them, thaw them carefully in the microwave or open air (or in the fridge overnight) and then heat and then glaze. Got it?
** Feels like you're defeating all the rising doesn't it? Well, you're not. The rising allows the dough to get gassy, and punching it down basically breaks up the gas bubbles into more gas bubbles, which is critical for the texture of the final product. It also helps distribute the sugar that the sourdough yeast eats, as well as evening out temperature and moisture
*** Good luck with that. Mine was a sort of vaguely rectangular oval.
**** If it were a real rectangle, of course. Which it totally won't be.
NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM oh yeah and I took a nice long bike ride the day before to compensate for all the cinnamon rolls ;)