Friday, December 16, 2011


Whenever I receive bad [sometimes devastating] news I tend to head to the kitchen to bake and pray my sadness away. Today is no exception, and although I won't delve into details, I will say that this news deserves the best of both my prayers and pastry efforts.

As you head into this joyous and busy Christmas season, remember to let anyone and everyone around you know they are loved. Smile, spread cheer, and most of all be present in the lives of those you care for most. Don't get too caught up in the frenzy of gifts and food and planning and parties and deadlines and final exams and travel. Remember to take time to breathe in and feel deeply these moments that seem to pass by so quickly and sometimes unnoticed.

Grace, Peace, and Merry Christmas.


1 packet of instant or rapid-rise yeast
2/3 c. regular coconut milk [or other non-dairy milk]

1/2 c. arrowroot starch / powder
1 c. tapioca flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt

2 tbsp. organic unrefined coconut oil, solid
1/4 c. sucanat or coconut palm sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract


1 c. sucanat
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 - 1/3 c. lightly ground nuts of choice [walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts work really well]


1 [14-ounce] can of cold coconut milk
2 tbsp. organic unrefined coconut oil
1/8 c. creamed honey [find the creamed version is very important here! try this brand]
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch of Real Salt sea salt
3 - 4 oz. of dairy-free cream cheese [optional, I prefer without]
1/4 c. ghee or dairy-free butter spread [optional, I prefer without]

First grease a square or pie baking dish with Spectrum Organics Vegetable Shortening. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, gently warm milk to a bit more than room temperature [90 - 100 degrees] but not to boil. Milk should be warm to touch but not hot. Pour into a small glass bowl, stir in yeast and cover bowl with a piece of plastic wrap. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients [starch, flour, baking soda and powder, gum, and salt]. Mix well and set aside.

In mixing or blending bowl, combine coconut oil and sucanat. Beat until smooth [you may have to scrape the side of the bowl a few times]. Add yeast / milk mixture [the yeast should have created a froth and risen a bit in the bowl], egg, and vanilla extract. Beat well.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until well mixed. The batter should be sticky and thick.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Sprinkle with a small amount of sucanat. Place the batter on the plastic wrap and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Begin to spread the batter out with your hands. Using a rolling pin, continue to roll out the batter making sure to keep the top plastic wrap in place [the batter is too sticky to roll without it - using plastic wrap in lieu of wax or parchment paper is very important as the batter will stick to both the papers]. Once the batter is flattened to 1/2-inch thick, remove the top piece of plastic wrap.

In a small bowl, mix the filling ingredients. Gently sprinkle on top of dough until entire surface is covered. Using the cut edge of the plastic wrap, slowly begin to roll the dough. By pulling up and over on the wrap, the dough should begin to roll onto itself. Continue until a large "log" is formed. Cut the "log" into 8 or 9 1-inch thick pieces. Place each piece into the prepared baking dish. Continue until all pieces have been cut and placed into dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls for 25 - 30 minutes or until tops have become nicely browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In the meantime you can work on the frosting. Gently open can of coconut milk without shaking [if you shake it as lightly as possible and hear liquid choose another can until you don't hear liquid]. Scrape the solid white portion of the coconut milk out of the can leaving the semi-translucent liquid behind. Combine the separated coconut milk, creamed honey, vanilla bean, sea salt and coconut oil [and optional ingredients] in a mixing bowl. Using the whisk attachment[s] to your mixer, begin to blend starting on a low speed and working up to the highest speed setting. Mix for 2 - 3 minutes or until mixture becomes light and fluffy. Pour into glass storage container and refrigerate until mixture has become thick.

Once the cinnamon rolls have cooled a bit, spread the thickened frosting over the rolls, top with lightly roasted nuts [optional, and enjoy!

Makes 8 - 9 rolls.

The frosting was inspired by My New Roots.

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