Vegan Ginger-Spice Caramel Pecan Rolls

Yield: 8 large rolls

Okay, there is no way to justify this indulgence except to say that I had a powerful craving for some kind of sweet roll.  This irrepressible urge was precipitated, in part, by “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network.

It’s difficult to describe my attraction to that show because some of the food–much of the food–absolutely disgusts me; I sometimes have to turn away.  And the portion sizes are shameful.

Still, I do appreciate that all of the food is made from scratch, often from whole foods and fresh ingredients, sometimes based on family recipes and, when not, frequently very creative.  I find many of the combinations of ingredients  truly inspired.

So I love the challenge of veganizing some of the dishes that I see.  One of my favorite soups–a pot pie soup with pie crust croutons which will be in my new cookbook–was inspired by one I saw on “Triple D,” as was a new skillet chili–my latest obsession–which I will post soon.

The rolls that inspired these were kind of a sticky bun, but without the ginger (or, at least it wasn’t mentioned on the show).  However, I had just purchased a new bottle of ginger this morning and the aroma was so enchanting as I was “decanting” it into its jar that I decided to incorporate it into the rolls.

What I loved about the look of the inspiration rolls was how soft and pliable the dough was.  I often think sweet rolls are too dry and “bready.”  So I set about to create a rich, soft dough.  Since I couldn’t use eggs, I used all soymilk and no water–including replacing the moisture of an egg with an additional 1/4 cup of soymilk–plus I added both cinnamon and ginger to the dough itself, something that isn’t often done, but should be!  Then I repeated the cinnamon in the filling and the ginger in the caramel topping to tie it all together.

One trick to that delectable tenderness is to incorporate only enough flour to make the dough manageable.  The other is not to overbake the rolls.  Twenty minutes is perfect.

Finally, I wanted to be able to put these together fairly quickly so I used a quick or instant yeast.  For additional leavening, since I couldn’t use an egg, I added a little baking powder.  I think the results rock (and roll!) and I hope you agree!


3/4 cup soymilk

1/4 cup vegan butter

3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1-.25 ounce package instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup natural sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soymilk


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup softened vegan butter

Ginger-Pecan Caramel:

1/2 cup vegan butter

3/4 cup packed brown suagar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup pecan pieces

To make dough, in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the first 3/4 cup soymilk to a simmer.  Add the butter and stir until melted.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to warm or 170 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine just 2 1/4 cups of the flour, and all remaining dough ingredients.  Gradually stir in the remaining flour until fully incorporated and then knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  I knead it directly in the bowl, but you can do it on a work surface.  Use as little flour as possible to prevent sticking.  I actually like to use non-stick spray in the bowl.   Cover the bowl with a damp towel, place it in the oven, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, begin filling by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Make caramel by melting the butter and brown sugar together in a large oven-proof skillet (I like cast iron) over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the ginger and pecans and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.

Again, using as little flour, non-stick spray, or a combination as possible, roll out the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.  Spread evenly with the softened butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Beginning on one long side, roll it up fairly tightly and pinch the seam.  Lay the roll seam side down and, using a serrated knife, cut it into 8 equal pieces.  Place each piece, cut side down, on top of the caramel.  Position one in the center and surround it with the other 7.  They won’t touch until they have had a chance to rise.  Cover and place in the warm oven for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Remove the pan from the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  For a thinner caramel, serve immediately.  For a thicker caramel, allow the rolls to cool slightly before serving.

Note: Lisa from Sweet as Sugar Cookies stopped by last week and invited me to her “Linky Party” to post a link to these Vegan Ginger-Spice Caramel Pecan Rolls.  Since I love a good party–especially one with tasty treats–it was my pleasure.  And I found that, though her website isn’t vegan, it boasts loads of ideas to indulge your sweetest fantasies, all just waiting to be veganized.

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  1. These look delicious, I am getting hungry just reading about them. Congrats on your new website.

  2. Thank you so much, Debbie. Using WordPress has been a challenge, but I do like the look. I hope I figure it out sooner rather than later! These breakfast treats, on the other hand, are simple! 🙂

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