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a plate topped with an orange sticky bun filled with a cranberry sauce filling with a bite taken out

Vegan Cranberry Orange Rolls

These vegan buns are the perfect excuse to use up all that leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or the perfect treat for any Holiday brunch. Enjoy!
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Breakfast + Brunch
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 10 buns

Ingredients 

Vegan Orange Bun Dough

  • ¾ cup warm oat/almond milk
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon dry active yeast about 1 packet yeast
  • ½ cup melted vegan butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon orange zest about ½ orange, zested
  • 3 ½-3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cranberry filling

  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Orange Icing

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Instructions

Making the dough

  • Begin by adding your warmed oat milk and yeast to a large mixing bowl. Let sit for 3-5 minutes to make sure the yeast is activated. You will be able to tell if it's bubbling. If using instant yeast, you can skip this step and add the yeast directly to the mix with the flour and salt.
  • Next, add the melted vegan butter, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla to the large mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
  • Mix the salt into the bowl of flour and then begin to gradually add the flour/salt mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients about ½-1 cup at a time. Start with 3 ½ cups of flour and add up to 3 ¾ cups if the dough is still too sticky.
  • Once all the flour has been added in, knead the dough. If using a standing mixer, switch the attachment to the bread hook and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic. If you are kneading by hand, knead on a lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is elastic and significantly less sticky. The dough is done being kneaded once it can be stretched without easily tearing and is smooth and tacky but not sticky.
  • Form the dough into a large ball and place it in a well oiled bowl. Cover and place the bowl of dough in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled in size. I like to test my dough by "poking" it with a finger. If it doesn't bounce back and stays indented, it is ready. It is also important to not “overproof” the dough as it can turn sour from the yeast turning the sugar into alcohol, so do not let the dough sit too long.

Making the cranberry filling

  • While the dough is rising, make the cranberry filling. Please note that you'll want to make this at least 30 minutes before you are ready to roll the buns so the filling has time to cool and thicken.
  • First, whisk together the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl to form a slurry. Then, add 1 cup of the cranberries, ½ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch water slurry, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla bean paste/extract from the cranberry filling ingredients to a small saucepan. Make sure to set aside the remaining ½ cup of cranberries and ¼ cup of sugar for later.
  • Stir the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes until all the cranberries have burst open and released their juices. Stir and cook 1 more minute.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool. Once cooled, add in the additional ½ cup of additional fresh cranberries remaining. You will save the additional ¼ cup of sugar under the filling ingredients for later.

Forming the buns

  • Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a well-floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a ½ inch thick rectangle.
  • Use a spatula to spread the cranberry filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ¼ inch border around the outside of the dough. Pour the additional ¼ cup of sugar set aside from the filling ingredients on top of the cranberry filling.
  • Starting from the longer end of the dough, roll the dough into a log. Make sure to tuck the filling and large cranberries as you go so no filling escapes. Seal the dough ends together by pinching the dough together.
  • Cut off the ends of the dough and discard. Use a very sharp knife to cut the dough log into 10 evenly sized slices. Add the slices to a buttered/ well oiled 10" pan or cast iron skillet. Cover the buns with plastic wrap (or similar material) and place in the fridge to rise overnight. The dough can also be left to sit in a warm place for an additional hour if you'd like to bake the buns sooner.

Baking the buns & making the glaze

  • In the morning, remove the buns from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Once preheated, add the buns to the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until just slightly browned on top and cooked all the way through. I like to test if my buns are done by sticking a toothpick into the middle bun. If no raw dough comes off the toothpick, the buns should be cooked!
  • Remove the cooked buns from the oven and set aside to cool.

Make the orange icing

  • While the buns are cooling, make the orange icing by adding the powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest from the glaze ingredients to a medium bowl and whisking until a thick but smooth glaze is formed. If you want a thinner glaze, you can add more orange juice or even a tsp of almond milk, however, a thick glaze works best.
  • Pour the glaze over the slightly cooled buns and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Cooked buns will keep in a closed container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month. However, they will need to be reheated for optimal taste. You can microwave them, but I recommend turning your oven to 200F and cooking the buns for 10-15 minutes until warmed throughout for the best texture. 
  • If desired, you can replace my homemade cranberry sauce with a mix of store-bought cranberry sauce and fresh cranberries.
  • This recipe does not work with gluten-free flour.
  • To make this recipe refined sugar-free, just substitute cane sugar for coconut sugar or maple sugar (must be granulated).

Nutrition

Serving: 1sweet roll with glaze | Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 2g | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 34IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
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