Thursday, September 14, 2006

Vegan Cinnabon Rolls

If I haven't mentioned it before, it is very difficult to be a vegan in Costa Rica. Being a vegetarian is hard enough, but being a vegan means pretty much cooking all your own food or being stuck with fries and salads when you go out. We recently got a Cinnabon at Multiplaza in Escazu, and damn, those things are EVIL! I had one, and felt extremely guilty afterwards. When I got home, I decided to try to find a recipe for the Cinnabon rolls and see what I could do to veganize it. I used a couple of clone recipes (1 for the rolls and 2 for the frosting) that are widely available on the net, put my own twists on them, and came up with this:

Dough (make in a bread machine):
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup soy milk -- room temperature
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water (let sit for about 10 minutes)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine softened
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all purpose white flour
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3 oz box)
1 tbsp bread machine yeast


1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine softened*
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons hot water (add more if necessary)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*if you have vegan cream cheese available, I'd use that instead of the margarine, but since we don't have any in CR...

Add the dough ingredients, in the order listed, to the bread machine and prepare using the dough setting.

Separate into two halves; prepare each half separately. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the halves to a large rectangle.

Spread half of the softened margarine over the rolled-out dough, then sprinkle with half the cinnamon and sugar filling. Starting at the long edge of the dough, roll up tightly. Mark the roll every 2 inches. With a thread, cut the roll by placing the thread under the roll at your mark, crisscross over and pull to cut. Place rolls into greased 8" or 9" baking pans 2" apart. Repeat with the remaining half of the dough and filling. If you use regular yeast, you may want to let the rolls proof for 15-30 minutes after assembly.

Cover rolls and let rise in a warm, draft free place until almost double, approximately 1 hour. After rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Mix all frosting ingredients together in a bowl. Spread on warm rolls and serve immediately.

Nutritional information:
I have no idea, but they are likely to be highly fattening with all that margarine and sugar! However, you do get your omega-3s in there by using the flax seeds, right? I am not a vegan because I am trying to eat light (though I do try to eat healthy); I am a vegan because I care about animals. So this is some seriously good, not-terribly-healthy, cruelty-free muchies!

I am taking these to a lunch with the girlfriends tomorrow. I am not going to tell them they are vegan, so let's see if they're fooled...


  1. Hello! I've found your blog looking for vegan cakes recipes. I will try the Vegan Cinnabon Rolls :)

    I've been vegetarian for almost 7 years now and my girlfriend is vegan. I think it's not that hard to be vegan/vegetarian here in Costa Rica. Obviously it's not like being in a big city like NYC, cause I guess there would be thousand of options for vegan people. But here in Costa Rica you can easily get soy meat, sausage, jam, cheese, etc in supermarkets like Mas x Menos and Automercado. There are also restaurants like Vishnu, Comida para Sentir, Shakti and others where you can get vegan food.

    Do you have any recipe for a vegan cake? My girlfriend and I will thank you a LOT :)

  2. True, it is easier than it used to be, but I still think it's difficult! Not so difficult to be a vegetarian, but I try to stay away from most processed soy myself, leaving out a lot of things other people would eat. Plus I try to eat at home as much as possible. Now I did write this back in 2006, and I think it's gotten better (slightly) since then!

    For a vegan cake, I simply sub 1 tbsp. ground flax (linaza in Spanish) with 2 tbsp. of water (let it sit for about 10 minutes before adding to the recipe) for each egg the recipe calls for. Then soy milk or almond milk, whatever, in place of cow milk, and margarine in place of butter. Now, my husband does have a fantastic vegan chocolate cake recipe, which I will get from him and post in a few days.

    One problem I've found here is that I can't find vegan margarine. It all has some lactose in it. Saretto in Escazu has vegan sour cream, and I've seen that vegan mayo in packages next to the real mayo at Automercado (but I think it tastes like crap). If you know of a brand of truly vegan margarine that is sold in Costa Rica, please let me know!

  3. Hey! I'm also in Costa Rica and due to a health issue I've gone (almost) vegan, since I'm allowed to eat fish, but no dairy, eggs or red meats. Exactly like you, I find it so hard to be vegan here, especially because of the vegan margarine... All of the recipies for frosting call for it, and even though I've found non-dairy butter substitute, it's hydroginated oil, heh not so good... I think it would be awesome if someone imported all those vegan products that would make our lives so much easier. By the way, which kind of pudding mix do you use for this recipe? I'd love to make cinnabon rolls, since I was too a Cinnabon fan here lol.

  4. What kind of instant pudding do you use for this recipe?

  5. Hello! Sorry it's taken me a while to reply, the flus that go around leave me down and out for a week at a time when they hit!
    Yep, totally agreed that the non-dairy butters here are not great for you. I try to avoid it altogether. But sometimes you want a cinnamon roll and I figure a little bit won't kill me! heh heh... I just use the pudding mix they sell here, Royal -- I think the plain vanilla flan is vegan, but it's been quite some time since I checked.
    You can also try making a frosting without the margarine at all, just with powdered sugar, lemon juice and water. Really more of a glaze than a frosting, I guess, unless you make it super thick. But, it would work on these rolls as well. I think you might need to use a couple of "coats" of it... let me know how it goes if you decide to try it!

  6. Thanks a lot!!! I'll make them as soon as I can... Hey if you want some more vegan recipies for cupcakes and more things here's a page:
    She won Food Network's Cupcake Wars and is totally awesome. I made her coconut cupcakes and they turned out great!

  7. Oh yeah, I've seen her page! :-D I was so excited when she won Cupcake Wars -- that was very cool for vegans everywhere! Check out the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for more great recipes.