Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

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Lauren Zembron
Lauren Zembronhttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I am a 34 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, energetic daughter, sweet son, and playful dog. I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings. I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“. I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.
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If October was the month for pumpkin recipes, then November is undoubtedly the month to feature that other orange-hued autumn vegetable: the sweet potato!

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

I adapted my Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls recipe by subbing in sweet potato puree for the applesauce, and toasted pecans for the blueberries. I also tossed a bit of nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in with the dough ingredients in order to achieve a flavor reminiscent of sweet potato pie. The finishing touch was to add a bit of sweet potato puree into the glaze for an extra punch of orange color and gloss.

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

How about some progress shots?

After rolling out the sweet potato dough, a delectable filling of cinnamon, brown sugar, melted margarine, and chopped pecans is sprinkled on:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

The filling is rolled up into the dough, which is then cut into 8 pieces like so:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

The rolls are nestled into a cake pan until…

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

… they double in size and rise to the top of the pan:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

The cinnamon rolls are baked until golden brown – and extremely fragrant:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

Now, you can’t have cinnamon rolls without a sweet glaze. How about adding in a bit of sweet potato puree for a vibrant orange hue?

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

The finishing touch:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

Yes, the glaze makes a mess.

It’s worth it, trust me.

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

The center roll has my name aaaall over it.

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

These cinnamon rolls are made without any animal products, but vegans and omnivores alike are sure to love them. Serve the rolls as part of a special Thanksgiving brunch, or for breakfast on just about any day of the week.

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]

loosely adapted from Mama Pea’s Blackberry Cinnamon Rolls

makes 8 rolls

Ingredients:

Sweet Potato Dough-

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, (I used unsweetened vanilla 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 sweet potato puree (preferably homemade, but canned will work in a pinch)
  • 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 Sucanat or packed brown sugar (or 1/4 cup for a sweeter dough)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cinnamon-Pecan Filling-

  • 1/2 cup Sucanat or packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Sweet Potato Glaze-

  • 1/2 cup powdered evaporated cane juice, sifted to remove any clumps (usually labeled “organic powdered sugar” or “unrefined powdered sugar”)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp sweet potato puree
  • splash pure vanilla extract, about 1/4 tsp

Directions:

  1. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan (an 8×8 inch square baking pan will also work) with canola oil baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Scatter yeast over warmed non-dairy 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).
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together both kinds of flour, baking powder, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, and melted margarine. Stir in chopped pecans until well-coated. Set aside.
  5. When yeast and milk mixture is bubbly, stir in the 1/4 cup sweet potato puree. 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.
  6. Lightly flour work surface again and roll dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness, about a 12-inch x 9-inch rectangle.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, margarine, and pecan mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the perimeter.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. 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 30-60 minutes. Either refrigerate, covered, overnight or proceed immediately to the next step.
  10. Remove the towel and bake rolls at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
  11. While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the sweet potato glaze by whisking together until smooth the powdered sugar, 1 1/2 Tbsp non-dairy milk, 2 Tbsp sweet potato puree, and vanilla extract.
  12. Remove rolls from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the outside of the rolls. Transfer rolls to a wire rack, glaze, and let sit for an additional 10 minutes before serving.

*NOTE: These cinnamon rolls are best when eaten warm from the oven. The lack of butter in the actual dough renders the outside of the rolls a bit crumbly and dry if refrigerated or frozen. That being said, they are still delicious gently reheated in the microwave or toaster oven – you just might need some extra glaze to moisten them up again :).

The following succession of photos happened in the blink of an eye:

Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
Sweet Potato Pecan Cinnamon Rolls [Vegan]
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