Friday, March 30, 2012

Easy Vegan Cinnamon Buns In The Oven

DSCF5299

This is a vegan bun fresh out of the oven. And this:
























Is a vegan with a bun IN the oven.

Yes, that charming bump explains why I have been absent from the blog for, oh, about a trimester or so. Uh... surprise!

My morning sickness was not actually that terrible (at least compared to the horror stories the internet has to offer) but I had food aversions like you would not believe. I was expecting to have aversions to certain foods, judging by what my previously pregnant friends had told me. My friend Misse, for example, could not even look at tofu. Nicole threw up when someone mentioned raisin bagels. Katie couldn't think about green peppers without feeling disgusting, and Lisa couldn't be in the same room as salad. So I figured something like that might happen. What I didn't really expect was to have an aversion to basically ALL FOOD. Which was a bit of cruel joke, seeing as I spend all my internet time telling you all about how much I love food. Of all kinds. As it was I lived on onion rings, watermelon, "chik'n" nuggets, and Special K. The thought of kale made me want to immediately puke.

But thankfully, that's all in the past. I am feeling much better now and am finally back to cooking and baking like my old self. Well, like my old self with a lot of added naps.

pecans

These cinnamon buns were my first Sunday baking project of the (so far) blissful second trimester. They come from a recipe I haven't made since I was in university, which I think originated in a non-vegan version in a cookbook for kids owned by one of my roommates (she owned the cookbook, not the kids). I used to make them in a muffin tin, so each bun was baked individually, but this time I decided to throw them all in the pan in the hopes that it would make them a bit gooey-er and softer over all.

vegan cinnamon bun

The pan method worked out just perfectly. The buns were soft and gooey. The cooking time was a bit longer, but patience is a virtue, as we all know. The nice thing about living with my parents is I have three people to test baked goods for me instead of just one. I knew this recipe was a winner when both the Man of Science and my mom said, "Oh, this is good!" after taking just one bite.

This recipe also gave me the perfect oppourtunity to enjoy my mother's dough scraper tool, which is something I will sadly miss when we move back to our own home in a few months. The scraper helped me roll the dough up without it tearing and then I used it to cut the tube into individual buns. I may need to buy one for myself. You know, after I've bought a crib, diapers, stroller and a whole bunch of other perhaps more pressing things.

vegan cinnamon buns

2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for kneading/rolling)
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegan margarine or shortening (I used Earth Balance whipped buttery spread)
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp warm water

1/3 cup softened margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unrefined regular sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Grease one 8 by 8 inch glass pan.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Combine flax, water, and soy milk, then add to flour mixture.

Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, until it is no longer sticky. Don't go overboard, it's not bread and you don't want to over-work the dough.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about half an inch thick. Spread the top side of the dough with the 1/3 cup of softened margarine, then sprinkle the brown sugar, unrefined sugar, and spices.

Starting at one of the shorter ends, carefully roll the dough into a tube. Slice the tube into 8 or 9 rounds and place the rounds in your pan, spread out to take up all of the space. Sprinkle with pecans if you like.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. My buns did not brown as much as I expected them to, so don't wait for that to happen before you take them out. The good old toothpick test will help determine when they're done.

You may notice the butter and sugar bubbling up around the edges of the buns and wonder, like me, if your out-of-the-oven buns will be sitting in a lake of liquid. Fear not! The bubbling sugar and butter will settle down into a very delicious yet manageable caramelly goo on the bottom of your pan. Eat up!

One Note:

This is absolutely NOT a representation of what I've been eating to nourish the baby-to-be. And actually I've become even more sensitive to sugar, which means avoiding almost all sweets unless I've had a very solid meal beforehand. For example, this is what I ate before I was able to enjoy one half of one of these cinnamon buns:

lunch

Those are Tofurky cold cuts behind the vegetables, before anyone gets all antsy. Other healthy things I've been enjoying a lot of include coconut water (I am feeling thirsty enough for two, and this is the one drink that satisfies), granola bars, salads, almonds, whole grain toast, dried apricots and cashew banana smoothies.

Oh, and p.s. despite the day of publication, this isn't an April Fool's joke, I promise.

J.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Winter Break

winter shadows

Hey! Don't fret, I'm still here. Thanks to those of you who sent notes asking if everything was okay. I know I've missed my regular blogging for a bunch of weeks now.

I've been feeling somewhat uninspired for a while, finding it hard to come up with new things to cook. It is still cold and dark here. I'm still commuting each day which eats into my cooking time. Weekends have been for relaxing more than for doing elaborate kitchen projects.

So, I'm taking the rest of this month off. I'll be back in April, so don't take me off your blog reader lists or anything. I'm looking forward to getting back into some creative cooking next month.

I'll see you then.

J.