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Vegan Maple Walnut Pinwheels

Sticky buns are the great equalizer: young, old, every economic stratum, every gender loves vegan sticky buns. We’ve since updated this Veganomicon favorite by taking out vegan margarine and adding the crunch of walnuts, as well as a deeper and richer maple flavor.





1¼ cups plain, unsweetened almond, coconut-based, or soy milk, plus more for brushing
¼ cup refined coconut oil, plus a little more for greasing (if using)
⅓ cup warm water
1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast
4 to 4¼ cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat white flour, or a combo of the two, plus more for dusting

⅓ cup organic dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup packed organic dark brown sugar
1 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Maple icing:
1½ cups organic confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened almond, coconut-based, or soy milk
1 teaspoon maple extract
½ cup toasted walnut pieces, for garnish


Prepare the dough:

Heat the milk and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the oil has melted. Remove from the heat and let cool until tepid.
In a measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast on the warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes and let the yeast foam. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, cardamom, and allspice and form a well in the center. Pour in the milk mixture and the yeast and stir into a soft dough. If it’s sticky, add extra flour a few tablespoons at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Gather into a ball. Lightly grease the mixing bowl with a dab of coconut oil, add the kneaded dough, and turn the dough in the bowl to coat the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, cover with a clean dish towel, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 1½ hours. The dough should double in size. While the dough rises, generously grease two 8-inch round cake pans or line with parchment paper.

Punch down the fully risen dough and fold a few times on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough into an 11 x 18-inch rectangle that is ¼ inch thick. It helps to use your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough to shape.

Prepare the filling:

Combine all the filling ingredients, except the walnut pieces, in a small bowl. Place the bowl in the freezer and chill for 10 minutes, or until the mixture has firmed up to a thick, easily spreadable mixture. Spread the mixture over the dough, keeping about 2 inches without filling along one of the long edges. Scatter the walnut pieces over the filling.

Roll the dough fairly tightly, starting from the filled long edge and move to the other bare edge (like rolling sushi or a jelly roll). If desired, seal the seam of the roll with a little nondairy milk and place the roll, seam side down, on a cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife, slice the roll into 1½-inch pieces and fit the slices into both cake pans (it will be a snug fit!). Cover the slices loosely with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel. Move to a cool place and let rise another 30 minutes.
While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. If desired, brush the tops of the rolls with a little nondairy milk just before baking. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes before flipping the buns onto serving platters to completely finish cooling before frosting.

Prepare the icing: 

In a medium-size bowl, cut the cold oil into the confectioners’ sugar to form crumbs. Whisk in the milk and maple extract. Drizzle over the cooled buns and sprinkle with the walnuts.


If you like, flip over the buns when hot, right out of the oven, so that the gooey stuff on the bottom is transferred to the top.