Make your holiday sweeter by serving homemade Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls, made with yummy vegan eggnog!
Since it’s already December, I just had to share a recipe that screamed Christmas, and these Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls have “Happy Holidays” written all over them. Whether you make them for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning or even New Years Day, these are sure to be a huge hit.
In my family, we actually have birthday cake for breakfast, as we take a moment to celebrate what the season means to us. But, after the cake and the present opening, that’s when the rest of the family come over and we typically indulge in breakfast round 2. Although savory would be perfectly acceptable here, there’s just something pretty special about seeing their eyes light up when you bring out a casserole dish full of fresh baked, cranberry cinnamon rolls.
I’ve actually been making and testing out this recipe for ya’ll for a while now but I just had to make sure they were perfect before I posted them! And by-golly, that’s what they are…PERFECT!
I mean, you just can’t go wrong with fluffy eggnog cinnamon rolls, layered with tart cranberry filling, sticky cinnamon sugar and drenched in eggnog-infused cream cheese frosting.
The most delicious holiday breakfast …..or brunch!
And guess what – these cranberry cinnamon rolls are
- easy to make
- & nut/peanut-free
Making the Cinnamon Roll Dough
And this dough is possibly one of the most delicious cinnamon roll doughs ever. I’ve tested this with both AP flour and 1-to-1 gluten-free flour and both times, it turned out soft and pillowy. But the key ingredient is patience. That’s right, patience.
Yes, our dough uses yeast which means that you have to wait a little longer for something good to come, but there’s really nothing wrong with that. Especially when we live in a world of online shopping, commerical-less television and Alexa to answer our questions immediately (and yes, I’m preaching to myself on this one!).
But just make sure to follow the instructions as written, because you don’t want to do the steps wrong and then spend extra time waiting for your dough to rise, when it’s clearly just not going to happen.
Cranberry Cinnamon Roll Filling
But the best thing about these rolls is the filling. The incredible swirls throughout the dough come from a mix of vegan butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. But because it’s Christmas and because this season is magical…I had to do something extra special to the filling….like add a layer of homemade cranberry sauce.
Cranberry Sauce is Amazing
Now before you scrunch up your nose in doubt, I want you to know that I actually have cranberry haters in this house and they LOVED these cranberry cinnamon rolls.
If you notice the photo above, you’ll see that I only had cranberry on half of the roll…and that was exactly how I baked it, just to appease those who shall remain nameless. However, that cranberry side was gobbled up first and my little doubters quickly became believers!
Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
The trifecta effect is complete with the final layer…..a heavy handed spreading of homemade eggnog cream cheese frosting. YUMMM guys, this stuff is worth every extra calorie! Actually, I’m not sure what the calorie count is…..sorry, not sorry! I mean, it’s Christmas and didn’t you hear that Christmas calories don’t count?
Make Ahead Cinnamon Rolls
With Christmas morning being a little hectic, this recipe can be made ahead of time. Meaning you can wake up in less of a rush, open gifts first thing, drink your coffee then enjoy your hot cinnamon rolls. (Check out TIPS at the end of this post for instructions).
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS
And that my friends, is one of our BEST family recipes. Think of it as an early Christmas present. 🎄
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1 cup dairy-free egg milk (we used Good Karma Holiday Nog)*
- 1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon (keep separated)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance Soy Free)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup warm water (110°)
- 1 envelope of dry active yeast
- 4-5 cups GF flour plus a little extra for dusting (Bob's 1-1 Gluten-free or AP flour also works)**
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
Cranberry Jam Filling
- 4 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 ounces softened cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons eggnog more as needed
Make the Dough:
- Turn oven on to 200° and when it reaches that temperature, turn it off.
- In a small saucepan, heat eggnog, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and butter over low heat until just melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool to touch (110°).
- While butter is cooling, place the warm water, remaining tablespoon of sugar and yeast in a glass measuring cup. Stir for a second then set aside and allow to proof (about 10 minutes). Yeast will get foamy and double in size. **If it doesn't double then start this step over again since the yeast is dead or the water was at the wrong temperature. You need this step to work or else your dough will not.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle or whisk, combine butter mixture and yeast mixture and mix together for a minute then reduce to low and add 2 1/2 cups of flour. Mix for another minute then add another 2 cups of flour and let run for another minute. Remove sticky dough from mixer and place it on a lightly floured surface (I like to use a silpat for easier clean-up). Knead with your hands for approximately 2 minutes, adding a tiny bit of flour just so it doesn't stick to you.
- Place dough in a large, oiled bowl and spin it around so the entire ball gets oiled. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and place in the oven that you already warmed up (make sure its turned off). Let dough rest 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
- Meanwhile make the Cranberry Jam: Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until most of the cranberries have burst open. Let cool completely.
- Make the Cinnamon Filling: Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- Remove from oven and push down center of dough so it deflates. Return dough to a floured surface, cover with towel again for 10 minutes while you bring out your fillings.
- Roll our dough into approximately a 20"x13 " rectangle.
- Spread softened butter over the entire surface of dough. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Spread cooled cranberry jam on top, leaving a 1" border.
Starting with the edge nearest you, roll dough into tight cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 12 pieces with a sharp knife.
Arrange rolls in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover with a towel and place back in a warm place until they have expanded, about another 30 minutes.***
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Bake rolls, uncovered until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Then transfer pan to a wire rack.
Make the glaze: In a large bowl cream together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Mix in 2 cups powdered sugar, then 6 tablespoons eggnog, mixing until smooth. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated, then add more eggnog if needed until frosting is light, fluffy, and easily spreadable.
Spread frosting on cooled slightly cooled cinnamon rolls and serve.
*Any dairy-free eggnog or milk of choice will work here
*If using GF flour, double check if Xanthan Gum is required. Most 1-1 blends already contain it.
*Make ahead of time. Complete recipe through step 13. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bring to room temperate and bake.
Tips and Tricks for Making Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls
- Make sure to follow the recipe! The eggnog should be warm, not hot, measure the flour correctly, and let the dough rise like instructed. If the yeast doesn’t rise, start this step again.
- This recipe can be made on the day before. After you’ve placed the filled rolls into the baking pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. The next day, remove the pan from the fridge and allow the rolls to come to room temperature (approx 1 hour) then bake.
- Instead of making cranberry sauce you can also use 2 cups of leftover sauce from your holiday dinner, canned cranberry sauce, or simply add 2 cups whole cranberries on top of cinnamon sugar mix.