Like the majority of kids I know, my minis just love to help out in the kitchen. Whether it be stirring, (attempting) chopping, picking herbs or wiping down the tables, they’re always eager to be involved (here’s hoping it lasts forever).
So, when one of them says ‘let’s make someting’, I jump at the chance. But what to make with toddlers? There’s definitely criteria: it needs to be something safe, something that smells good, something that calls for mess, all hands on deck and also creates an air of anticipation.
There’s only one thing that fits all of the above requirements and that something is baked!
So that is exactly what we did. Here’s our recipe for some yummy cinnamon rolls with a twist.
Sticky Date & Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cashew Frosting
Makes 8 rolls
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup of plain flour
1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
Sweetener of choice to taste (I use liquid stevia)
2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
2 tsp cinnamon
Sticky Date Mixture
8 medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup of water
handful of pecans, chopped (optional)
Vanilla Cashew Frosting
1/2 cup of raw cashews (soaked and rinsed)
3/4 cup of water
Sweetener of choice (I used liquid stevia)
1 tsp of organic vanilla paste
In a small pot, place the almond milk and grapeseed oil and place on low heat until mixture is tepid (i.e, you can stick your finger in and it feels comfortable). It should be warm but not too hot or it will kill the yeast, for this reason, be careful that it doesn’t come to the boil!
Pour milk mixture in to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Leave it in a warm place in your kitchen for 10 minutes. This will allow it to activate. Once the 1o minutes is up, stir in the sugar and salt.
Mix the spelt and plain flour together first and then start adding it, 1/2 cup at a time, to the yeast mixture, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky and eventually turn into a ball, which you won’t be able to stir, so that’s when you transfer to a clean bench surface that you’ve lightly floured. I still had about 1/2 cup left of flour when it turned into a ball so I just added the flour as I kept kneading and it was all absorbed into the dough, leaving me with a nice round, soft but bouncy ball of dough. Put aside.
Get a clean bowl and add some grapeseed oil and move it around the bowl so that it nicely covers all the surfaces. Place the dough inside and roll around to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, prepare sticky date mixture by blending the dates with water until they are completely smooth, paste like.
Line a cake tin with baking paper, ( I used a round 8×8) and pour over the date mixture, spreading it evenly over the bottom with a spatula, and then sprinkle on the chopped pecans if using. Put aside.
Now prepare the pumpkin filling by blending the pumpkin puree with the spices and sweetener ( I use liquid stevia and never measure it, sorry!). Set aside
When dough is ready, place dough on lightly floured surface and roll it out into a thin rectangle.
Use a spatula to spread over the pumpkin mixture until it’s all used up.
Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a sharp knife, cut the dough into 5 cm sections and position in your 8×8 dish with the date and pecan layer on the bottom (you should have about 8 rolls). Cover with plastic wrap and set on top of the oven to let it briefly rise again while you preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Once the oven is hot, bake rolls for 30-40 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Remember all ovens are different so just check that the middle is done by sticking a skewer in the middle and seeing if it comes out dry. Start checking at the 20 minute mark to avoid burning.
Whilst the buns are baking, make the frosting by blending the rinsed cashews with water, sweetener and vanilla paste. You want it to be super smooth and should be the consistency of custard. Place in the fridge.
When buns are ready, take them out and leave to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cashew frosting on top, you may need a spatula as it will get thicker in the fridge.
Now pull apart the rolls, savour the sweet caramelised sticky date bottoms and devour!
I’ve made vegan cinnamon buns before but these were definitely a winner. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Peas, love and mungbeans