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The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series is full to the brim with references to classic American foods like sugar cookies, root beer floats, and peanut butter sandwiches. I read all of the books (multiple times) as I was growing up, and true to my foodie tendencies, I was often distracted by the foods described at the characters' mealtimes, parties, or garden club meetings.
Written in the 1940's and 1950's, it's no surprise that these classics pop up through all the books. This was a time of economic abundance and the growing popularity of pre-packaged foods. The most vogue recipes were the ones that included brand names. So it was a time when a lot of American classics were born.
And it doesn't get much more classic (or delicious) than cinnamon rolls.
My rolls are stuffed with plenty of cinnamon and pecans, so they are reminiscent of pecan spinwheels. Made completely with whole wheat flour, I was afraid these would be a bit too heavy or chewy. But while they're not as cake-y as their white flour counterparts, the texture is actually really lovely, like a soft bread.
Um, also? Vegan.
I couldn't bring myself to make them without real icing and a candied center though, so you'll find that these call for brown and powdered sugar. But compared to a typical recipe, they require only about half of what's usually used. And if you'd like to make it even healthier, you could substitute palm sugar for the brown sugar, and try this date syrup as icing.
I'm pretty sold on this version though. Even J, who is notorious for his rejection of sweet snacks, couldn't keep his paws off of these.
For the dough...
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 packet active yeast
2 tbsp, + 1 tsp brown sugar
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
For the filling...
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp, + 2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup pecans
For the icing...
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
small amount of almond milk