Caramel Apple Sticky Cinnamon Buns
Soft cinnamon buns stuffed with cinnamon coated apples - and glazed with a sweet, vegan caramel sauce. A delicious and wholesome twist on the classic cinnamon bun! Free from refined flour and sugar. Vegan.
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A couple weeks ago, Anguel and I hopped on a ferry and rode it over to Vancouver Island for an impromptu weekend trip. The last time we’d visited the island was just over two years ago. Back then, we were on an ambitious mission to hike the 50 mile long West Coast Trail. Due to some overzealous non-refundable travel bookings (thanks Anguel), it was literally 48 hours or bust. Most of the time, I couldn’t tell if the adrenaline was thanks to my fast pace (hah) - or fro the fear that we’d miss our flight the next day. In the end, WE DID IT, despite not being able to walk properly for at least a week afterwards. And if the distance wasn't enough to take my breath away, the scenery definitely did. Everything was so wild and raw. It was Mother Nature at her finest - and we were just along for the ride.
This time, instead of water filters and goretex, we packed books and our camera. The plan was to relax. And other than that, we had no plans at all. As we passed over that small sliver of the Pacific Ocean, it was hard not to think about how much our lifestyle has changed over the past two years. Gone are the days where we sought to cram our weekends and vacations to their breaking points. Now, we sleep in a bit more. We leave ourselves more time to just chill. And if we did the West Coast Trail again - well, next time, we’d probably set aside at least 4 days. You’ve gotta stop and smell the roses, ya know?!
Our dear family friend hosted us at his dreamy beachside home for the night. And he also kindly offered up his fruit trees. We plucked pounds of plums and apples. To say I was in heaven would be an understatement. We ate the plums almost as quickly as we picked them. But the apples? You can bet I stuffed my backpack full with them. And borrowed an extra bag. Those babies were coming home with me.
Homemade cinnamon buns definitely don’t carry the reputation of being “instant”. Nor should they. Sometimes the best stuff takes time. In the spirit of enjoying a cozy weekend in, I mixed up a batch of soft and slightly sweet dough - and then rolled up plenty of cinnamon coated apples inside. As if that wasn’t enough, I poured the most luscious vegan caramel sauce over the entire thing. And baked it until the caramel was warm and bubbling. Oh em gee.
To me, the holy grail is when you can make sinful desserts a bit more wholesome. Because we all know we’re reaching for that second bun when nobody’s looking. With that goal in mind, I made a few healthy swaps in this recipe - without compromising taste (of course).
I usually use spelt flour at home. But sometimes you just need to mimic the effect of white flour, especially in baked goods. Spelt flour, I love you, but not today. Instead, whole wheat flour does the trick. It makes for a lighter, fluffier end result - and it's still a lot more wholesome than white. A combination of coconut sugar and brown rice syrup gives these buns the perfect amount of sweetness - without the toothache. Coconut sugar replaces brown sugar (news flash: did you know that most ‘brown sugar’ is actually white processed sugar that’s had some molasses mixed back in?). And brown rice syrup imparts an almost buttery taste to the rolls, without adding too much sweetness. The results are crazy good.