You will need to plan and have some time set aside to make a recipe like this but aside from that, these buns are far easier to make than you think and completely vegan. The Date Molasses adds a deep caramelised flavour that contrasts nicely with the sweet flavour of cinnamon but feel free to add different spices and nuts.
For the dough:
475g Plain white flour
7g Fast action yeast
50g Golden caster sugar
½ tsp Ground cardamom
½ tsp Salt
325ml Oat milk
75g Dairy-free margarine
For the filling
150g Dairy-free margarine
100g Golden caster sugar
6tbsp Date Molasses
Pinch of salt
1tsp Ground cinnamon
80g Icing sugar
1 Vanilla pod or a couple of drops of vanilla essence
In a small pan warm the milk to around 40C, or until it feels warm to the touch. remove from the heat, add the yeast, stir and leave until it starts to bubble, around 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a free-standing mixer with a dough hook or a large mixing bowl, combine the strong flour, cardamom, sugar, salt and cornflour and mix to combine. Add the milk to the flour mixture and mix on a medium setting for about 3 mins or mix well in the bowl and once it has started to come together, tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to prove for an hour or until it has doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
Whilst the dough is proving make the date and cinnamon filling. Melt the margarine in a small pan on a high heat. Add the sugar, date molasses and cinnamon then mix to combine and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Once the mixture is at a gentle boil cook for 1 ½ mins – mixing the whole time. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.
Place the pecans on to a baking tin and roast in the preheated oven for 8 mins. Remove from the oven and increase to the oven to 180C. Once the pecans are cool roughly chop into small pieces.
Once the dough has risen, punch back the dough in the bowl to knock out some of the air. Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Remove the dough from the bowl then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a large, neat rectangle about 4mm thick with the long side closest to you.
Drizzle the date molasses and cinnamon mixture all over the dough then spread out carefully all the way to the edges. the mixture will be very thick so take care doing this. Sprinkle an even layer of the nuts all over the top of the date molasses and cinnamon mixture.
To make Rolls:
Generously grease a 30cm square baking tin with Dairy free margarine. With the longer side nearest to you roll the dough carefully away from you into log. You can trim the ends to neaten them but to avoid waste you can still bake these trimmings, just place them with the uneven end face down in the pan. Cut the log into even slices, and place into your prepared tin. You may fins using dental floss the easiest way to cut the log into sections. Cover again with clingfilm and return to a warm place for 50 minutes or until the buns are well risen have filled the tin and springy to the touch.
Remove the cling film and bake for 25 minutes until they are a light golden brown. Whilst they are cooking make up the icing. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways in half and scrape into a small bowl, sift in the icing sugar and add the water, whisk to combine. As soon as the buns come out of the oven place onto a cooling tray, using a pastry brush apply the icing to the buns, keep reapplying until you have no icing left. Leave to cool.
To make Knots:
Generously grease a cupcake or muffin tin. Once you have sprinkled the nuts onto the dough date mixture, from the longer side fold the dough into thirds (as you would a letter). Cut into strips about 1 inch thick. Divide the cut piece of dough into 3 pieces keeping a small bit at the top connected. Now plait the three strands together. Once the strand is plaited roll the dough back on itself and place into the cupcake tin. Repeat until you have run out of dough.
Cover the tin and leave to rest in a warm place for 50 mins, until the buns have risen and soft and pillowy. Once risen, bake for 20 minutes until they are a light golden brown. Whilst they are cooking make up the icing. Cut the vanilla pod lengthways in half and scrape into a small bowl, sift in the icing sugar and add the water, whisk to combine. As soon as the buns come out of the oven place onto a cooling tray, using a pastry brush apply the icing to the buns, keep reapplying until you have no icing left. Leave to cool