Cinnamon roll cookies have always been a favorite around my house — this recipe especially because it embodies everything I love about cinnamon rolls, but requires a fraction of the time. In addition, the cookies are extra soft due to being made with powdered sugar instead of cane sugar, meaning they keep a few days longer than those made with the granulated stuff.
Just by looking at them, I’m sure you’ve guessed it: These cookies are a bit more labor intensive than most. But I promise they’re more than worth it — especially if you’re hosting friends and want to wow them with your cookie making skills. But if you’re feeling a bit on the lazy side (or maybe you can’t find your rolling pin), you can make these cookies the easy way. Instead of rolling out the dough, use a 1 1/2-tablespoon cookie scoop to form the dough into round balls, then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture (sans butter). You’ll want to flatten the cookies with your hand and skip the freeze-before-baking step. They’re equally as delicious but, unfortunately, not nearly as easy on the eyes.
If you don’t want to use sweet potato puree, feel free to swap it with pumpkin puree. I couldn’t tell the difference between either variety. If you’d prefer whole grain cookies, light spelt flour substitutes near perfectly, but I do not recommend whole spelt or whole wheat because they make the dough dense, tough and difficult to roll.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon unsulphured molasses
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon almond milk
- 1/3 cup sweet potato puree
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup powdered cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 teaspoons almond milk
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, molasses, and vanilla extract on high speed for 45 to 60 seconds. Add the almond milk and sweet potato puree, and continue beating for an additional 30 to 45 seconds.
- On medium speed, beat in the baking soda, salt and flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix until all of the flour is incorporated, then pinch the dough to test the consistency; it should be smooth and have a bit of elasticity. If it’s too dry, add an additional teaspoon of milk, or if it’s too sticky, add an additional tablespoon of flour. Wrap the dough with plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes, until slightly firm but not rock hard.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside.
- Line a flat surface with parchment paper and liberally sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick (roughly 12-by-20 inches), flouring the rolling pin and dough as needed. Brush the slab of dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Starting at the long end, tightly roll the dough into a log, then carefully transfer it, along with the parchment paper, to a baking sheet or cutting board (or other flat, portable surface) and freeze for 20 minutes.
- Once the log is firm, remove it from the freezer and use a sharp knife to cut the cookies into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. If they’re oblong and that bothers you, you can reshape and flatten the edges a bit with your hand (I do, although it’s not necessary).
- Bake cookies at 350 F for 9 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze by mixing the sugar, vanilla extract and almond milk. Once the cookies have cooled, use a fork to drizzle with glaze. Store at room temperature, in an airtight container, for up to five days.
Photo Credit: Ashlae Warner