Light filters in through frosted windows, gently painting the tinsel-clad branches of pine, dancing across silken wrappings, glinting off glossy greeting cards. All is still, silent, and calm. The air is just a breath too cold for comfort, but nothing the sun won’t fix in another minute, glowing and growing stronger right before sleepy eyes, still clouded with dream of feasts from the night before. Christmas morning, in the best situation, is a magical time, the split second right before children squeal with glee to mark the start of joyous mayhem. Controlled chaos will soon describe the scene as paper is torn and tags go flying. The last thing you want to fuss with is a fancy breakfast that would tear you away from these fleeting moments, but a bowl of cold cereal just won’t cut it today.
Before calamity descends, take the wheel and prepare yourself well in advance. Sticky buns or cinnamon rolls are the classic daybreak decadence for this annual celebration, but who wants to wake up at 5am to start mixing dough? Not me, even if I don’t have children to beat down the stairs or a tree to furnish before Santa slacks off.
Save yourself some time and labor by turning out one giant, majestic, family-style spiral, rather than individual little buns. Dazzling with warm rivulets of cinnamon sugar goo dripping into every tender spiral of dough, wrapping around crisp pecans like a pillowy blanket, you’ll think you’re still dreaming when you take the first bite.
Perhaps it will be the scent of buttery dough or cinnamon spices that awaken Christmas spirits, rather than the sunrise this time around. All the hard work is done the night before, so in the morning, all you need to do is preheat the oven and pop in the pan. It’s not exactly holiday magic… But it may just taste like that.
- 1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
- 1 (1/4 Ounce) Packet or 1 3/4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 - 3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose flour
Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil, Melted
- 1/2 Cup Pecans, Toasted and Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil, Melted
- 1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
- 1/4 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together non-dairy milk and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and active. Add in the olive oil, sugar, salt, and vinegar, along with the first 3 cups of flour. Use the dough hook to slowly bring the this together into a cohesive ball, but if it still seems excessively wet, add up to another 1/2 cup of flour. It should still be tacky, but not outright sticky.
Let the mixer continue to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. You could also knead it by hand; just take 15 minutes to do so instead.
Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let rest in a warm area for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, prepare the sticky glaze by bringing the butter or oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until glaze is golden and glossy; just about 2 - 3 minutes. Pour about 3/4 cup of the glaze into a lightly greased 9-inch round baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Reserve the rest for serving later. Sprinkle the pecans over bottom of pan and let cool.
Punch down the dough and turn it out on to a well-floured surface. Roll it out into a rectangle of about 12 x 16 inches. Brush the full surface with melted butter or coconut oil and sprinkle evenly with pecan pieces. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon before sprinkling it on top last. Press gently to securely adhere the toppings.
Use a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter to slice the rectangle horizontally into long, 1-inch wide strips.
For the first piece, roll it up into a spiral just like an individual cinnamon bun, and place it in the center of your prepared pan. Take another strip of dough and carefully move it to the pan, coiling it around right where the previous piece left off. Pieces of the filling may fall off during this move, but just stuff the excess back in as you wrap the dough around in circles. Continue until you've used all of the dough, or you can no longer fit any more in the pan.*
Cover with plastic wrap and stash in the fridge overnight, or at least 8 hours. If you want to plan farther in advance, you can wait up to 2 days before baking.
In the morning, preheat your oven too 350 degrees. Meanwhile, take the pan out of the fridge to bring it back to room temperature.
Be sure to position a baking sheet underneath the pan to catch any drips. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until the rolls are golden-brown all over and the glaze is bubbling up around the edges.
While still hot, run a thin spatula around the outer edge of the pan to release the roll, and invert immediately onto a serving dish. If you let it cool too long it will stick, true to the name, and be difficult to remove. Slice into wedges and enjoy warm with additional glaze!
*Got extra strips of dough? No problem! Just roll them up, fit them into greased muffins tins, and bake them off as individual rolls. Just set the oven to 350 and let them cook for 20 - 30 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 236mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 10g