I don't know what got into me.
I don't bake much at home, and I certainly don't bake cinnamon rolls. But something about my baking experiments of the last few days (I think I made about a dozen versions of gluten-free, egg-free, vegan bread until I gave up in frustration after the toasted quinoa flour ran out) made me hungry for cinnamon rolls. I think a failed bagel experiment (failed because I forgot to boil the bagels before baking them) made me yearn for a success, and I figured that my basic dough, with the right ratio of wets to drys, might get me there.
It took me four attempts to get the liquids right. The first one was tasty but too dry. The second one was too wet, then, when I tried to fix it, too dry. The next: too dry again. The fourth? Just right! Wet and roll-able and full of yeasty goodness.
The recipe may look complicated, but it is not. Basically you make tapioca gel, add it, along with some wet ingredients, to the dry ingredients. Make a rectangle, sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over it, roll it up, cut it, let it rise, bake it, spread it with icing then eat. Some of the textural issues with this gluten-free, vegan version (a slight wetness in the dough) can be addressed with a few egg whites, for those who can eat egg (my tips at the bottom of this entry).
One thing to note: like the pizza dough, this dough is very wet and sticky. Don't let that discourage you! Some well-placed plastic wrap on the counter will help you pat it into a rectangle and roll it out.
Cake and Commerce's Cinnamon Rolls
Tapioca Gel (make first):
- 1 C Cold Water
- 1 T Tapioca Starch
- 1/2 t Salt
- 1-1/2 t Instant Yeast
- 1 t Xanthan Gum
- 1 T Sugar (any kind will do except confectioners)
- 1/3 Cup Starch (I used Rice Starch; Corn Starch or Arrowroot or Potato will work)
- 1/3 Cup White Rice Flour
- 1/3 Cup Brown Rice Flour
- 2/3 Cup Light Buckwheat
- 1/3 Cup Millet, finely milled
- 1 C Tapioca Gel (Recipe Above)
- 1/3 C Water, cold
- 1 T Agave Syrup (or honey)
- 1 t Vanilla extract
- 1/2 t lemon juice (or cider vinegar)
- 1 T Oil (Grapeseed, Sunflower, just not EVOO)
Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
- 1/2 C Vegan Brown Sugar
- 1 T + 1 t Cinnamon
- pinch of finely ground salt
- OPTIONAL: 1/4 C Vegan Margarine (this make the filling more ooey gooey but harder to spread on this dough)
- 1 C Confectioners Sugar
- 1-1/2 t Cold Water
- 1/2 t Vanilla
- 1 T Oil
Make tapioca gel: combine water and tapioca in a sauce pan and stir until dispersed. Turn heat on stove to high and, stir mixture until it goes from cloudy to translucent. Remove from heat immediately and cool. You can speed up cooling by adding wet ingredients to this mixture (if you are not using instant yeast, don't add the water to the gel, save it to bloom the yeast).
Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl). If NOT using instant yeast, add it to the cold water.
Once the gel has cooled, add it and the rest of the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. The dough should come together, be sticky, but not liquid. Mix with a paddle for about 1 minute.
OK...here's where patience is required. If you've ever rolled sushi, that skill will come in handy.
The dough is very very sticky.
Take a good length of plastic wrap and spread it on the work surface. Scrape the contents of the bowl onto plastic wrap. Set your bowl down. Wet your hands with cold water. Now, pat the dough down so it makes a nice, long rectangle, about 9" x 12". You're going to roll this into a sushi-style spiral, so flat and rectangular is very important.
Take your cinnamon and sugar 'filling' (it needs to be dry rather than sticky or else the dough will tear) and evenly dust it all over the rectangle of dough. Now start rolling:
Taking the long end of the plastic (you can start from the short end if you want GIGANTIC cinnamon rolls), carefully roll the dough up - use the plastic to guide the dough, not your fingers (too sticky!). You will get a nice tube with a snail of cinnamon sugar inside.
Cut the tube into 1" widths. I roll these in the cinnamon sugar, but you only should if you like cinnamon a lot. Place these in either a muffin pan (for individual servings) or in a non-stick brownie or round cake pan with lots of space between the rolls. If the pan is not nonstick, prepare with oil and a little GF flour of your choosing. The rolls shouldn't be touching - the dough will rise and they will need to have space to expand. If you like a more 'baked" and chewy outside of your rolls, definitely use the muffin cups OR place these on a baking sheet, tucking the end piece under the rolls so it won't start unraveling during baking.
Allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour (you want them to not quite double in size). Or, instead of allowing the dough to rise, you could stop the process and place the dough in the refrigerator overnight. The yeast will slow way down but the flavor will develop a little more - and you can have them fresh in the morning.
After one hour (note: in hindsight I find this much too crowded. I like it when the rolls get a little more browning on the sides - if you can bake these in muffin tins or crowd them a little less, that would be ideal):
If you like, you can sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on the rolls.
Now, preheat your oven to 375F (190C).
Bake for about 20 minutes or until browned.
Allow to cool. Top with icing. Serve!
A couple tips:
- If you can use egg, replace the Tapioca Gel with 3 egg whiles and water - to make 1 cup.
- The flours can be in any combination you like, as long as you do include 1/3C of starch and don't use 100% rice (it can have a very wet chew). All of the flours I use are finely milled, so they do absorb quite a bit of water. If yours are less finely milled, or you go the all rice route, your results will be very different from mine.
(Here's what it looks like in the kitchen when I'm working out a recipe)