My infatuation with cinnamon rolls began when I was in grade school. My mom adored cinnamon rolls, whether they were made fresh from a bakery, purchased from a store or even baked at home from a Pillsbury can. I think it was one of her favorite treats, and it became one of mine.
Later, when I lived in Chicago as a young college student, I was turned on to Ann Sather’s incredible cinnamon rolls. I lived down the street from their first location (before they expanded into other locations around the city). Ann Sather’s is a fantastic Swedish breakfast and bakery place, and has become a fixture in the Chicago area for making THE BEST cinnamon rolls. In fact, instead of putting bread on the table, Ann Sather waiters bring out piping hot cinnamon rolls to the table to munch on while diners wait for their breakfast. It is pure heaven.
For years, I thought making homemade cinnamon rolls was something that only should be attempted by professionals in a bakery kitchen. Of course, my perspective changed on a lot of things when my son was diagnosed with food allergies. I thought, why not give it a shot? The end result is the recipe below. It is a very simple, straightforward cinnamon roll that easily rivals any professionally made cinnamon roll in even the best bakeries. I delighted seeing John eat this cinnamon roll, just like he would have if I ever took him to Ann Sather’s. The best part is that he loved it, along with my entire family. I think my mom would have been a fan too…
DAIRY, EGG AND NUT FREE CINNAMON ROLLS
(Combine ingredients in a small bowl until mixture is of desired consistency.)
In a small saucepan, heat soy milk, 1/4 c. sugar, shortening and salt until just warm, about 115 degrees (use an instant thermometer). Meanwhile, combine 2 c. flour and 1 package active dry yeast in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. When soy milk mixture is warmed through, add to flour mixture and mix on low for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula and add 2 T. water. Mix on high for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 – 2 c. flour ( a little at a time) and mix on low until dough is somewhat stiff. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a bowl sprayed with dairy free baking spray. Cover and let rise about an hour.
Punch dough down and divide into two balls. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest about 10 minutes. Roll each dough ball into a 12 x 8 rectangle. Brush each half with melted margarine and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture. Add raisins if using. Starting with the long side, roll dough up and seal edges with a little bit of water. Make sure the seam is closed tight. Trim ends with serrated knife and cut each roll into 10-12 rolls, depending on how big you want them. Place rolls, cut side down in 9-inch cake pan sprayed with dairy free baking spray. Cover with kitchen towel again and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake risen rolls for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
While the rolls are still warm, drizzle confectioners’ icing over the top with a spoon. These are best eaten the day they’re made. Reheat by placing in microwave for about 10 seconds.