Thanksgiving special: Small batch apple cider cinnamon rolls & overnight ginger + pumpkin chia pudding

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Hi guys. I don’t know if you’re aware but Thanksgiving is approaching. Fast. And if you, like me, have slacked just a liiiiiittle bit with your holiday preparation efforts, I’ve got something for you. Actually, I’ve got two (uhh, three?) things: a delicious menu featuring links to my favorite recipes from around the interweb and TWO (!) Thanksgiving breakfast recipes. One for the person who wakes up salivating – on a mission to eat everything in sight (and gives zero shits about the Thanksgiving Day Parade) – and another for the person who likes to play it safe (preferably from the couch, while watching aforementioned parade) (childhood nostalgia, yo) up until the time dinner rolls around.

By now I’m pretty sure you can accurately guess which one of us will be eating what. But there’s a part of me that wishes it was Thom who preferred bowls of what looks like well dressed, gelatinous birdseed and me who could put away a (small) batch of cinnamon rolls in one sitting. So let’s just go with that and get on to the menu.

FOR BREAKFAST
We’ll be stuffing our faces with the recipes at the end of this post, but if you’re feeding a small football team, I’d suggest a loaf (or five) of my overnight pumpkin spice cinnamon roll loaf. It requires a bit of planning (and effort) the day before, but will make for an easy breakfast come Thanksgiving morning.

FOR LUNCH (AKA SNACKTIME)
I don’t even know why I have a lunch section because Thom will probably still be full from eating nearly an entire batch of cinnamon rolls (my prediction is that he gets through 2 1/2 before being horrified by the realization of how much sugar he ingested) and I’ll be trying my damnedest to hold off on eating until dinner. I should warn that my approach results in serious hanger from about 3 o’clock onward, but it’s totally worth it when you sit down at the table and can pack in all the food that will either a) put you into a delightful food coma (desirable outcome) or b) give you a miserable food baby for a solid four hours (undesirable outcome). Anyway, we’ll have this fancy ass crudité platter around in the event we need something light to chew on.

FOR DINNER
We’re going to kick things off with a roasted fennel and satsuma orange salad, followed by garden keeper’s pie with beets, lentils, + creamy celery root mashsweet potato mac and cheese (!), easy roasted Brussels sprouts, and stuffing from a box because.. boxed stuffing is better. AMIRIGHT? And because there’s no such thing as too many carbohydrates, there will also be biscuits and soft rolls. I’ll be making the biscuits from scratch (I really need to share Thom’s recipe) but I’ll probably grab a bag of soft rolls from Whole Paycheck because baking pie > baking rolls. The table will also be filled with a boatload of condiments. Not one of which will be gravy because gravy is one of three foods that Thom can’t stand (the other two are coffee and ranch dressing, in case you were wondering). The condiments will be a random assortment of chutneys and sauces, the most important being basic cranberry sauce. Because no self-respecting American serves Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce.

FOR DESSERT
Although there probably won’t be much room left for dessert, there will pie. Pumpkin pie (with speculoos crust) (!!!!!), mini pumpkin pies with spelt crust and coconut whipped cream (though I’ll be using coconut oil pie crust, instead), ginger + pumpkin tart with maple-pecan crust, and – depending on how I’m feeling on Wednesday – there might also be no-bake pecan pie, too. That makes four pies for two people. Which sounds about right.

Up close and personalOvernight ginger + pumpkin chia puddingUntitledHis + hers breakfastOvernight ginger + pumpkin chia puddingUntitledSmall batch apple cider cinnamon rolls with coconut oil frostingSmall batch apple cider cinnamon rolls with coconut oil frostingSmall batch apple cider cinnamon rolls with coconut oil frostingSmall batch apple cider cinnamon rolls with coconut oil frostingSmall batch apple cider cinnamon rolls with coconut oil frosting

NOTES: After testing and testing and testing, I found that 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of yeast per cup of flour is the sweet spot for the perfect rise. Any more or less than that, they’ll be pathetic excuses for cinnamon rolls. Because I couldn’t decide which yeast measurement I liked better (my friends were all on team 3/4 teaspoon, FYI) (I had them over for dinner then force-fed them cinnamon rolls) I met in the middle and used 1/2 heaping teaspoon. If you don’t have light spelt flour, unbleached or white whole wheat should do the trick, but I’d stick to the higher end (3/4 teaspoon) of yeast if you plan on replacing the flour. Prior to baking, I brushed the ramekin cinnamon roll with a bit of almond milk to see how it would impact the exterior. It browned much quicker and I do not recommend giving the cinnamon rolls an almond milk bath. To make the apple cider concentrate, simply boil 1/2 cup of spiced apple cider until it’s reduced to 3 tablespoons (45g) of liquid.

SMALL BATCH APPLE CIDER CINNAMON ROLLS WITH COCONUT OIL FROSTING

Dough
2 tablespoons (26g) filtered water, between 105-108˚F
1/2 heaping teaspoon (2g) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (8g) cane sugar

1 tablespoon (11g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3 tablespoons (45g) spiced apple cider concentrate, warm (see notes above)
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (132g) light spelt flour, plus more for kneading
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Filling
1 tablespoon (11g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3-4 tablespoons (39-52g) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coconut oil frosting
1/4 cup (30g) powdered cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon potato starch
, optional (helps to absorb excess oil)
Pinch of ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons (15g) refined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/8 teaspoon maple flavor, optional

Lightly oil a medium mixing bowl; set aside. Add the water to a small bowl and gently stir in the yeast; add a tiny pinch of sugar and set aside until foamy (about 10-15 minutes) (if it doesn’t look like a more contained version of this after 10-15 minutes, you need to start over because your water was either too hot that it killed the yeast, or so cool that it couldn’t properly activate it). In another small mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, and apple cider concentrate; set aside to allow the liquids to break down the sugar. Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon to a medium mixing bowl and create a well in the center. Once the yeast has been activated, pour it and the apple cider mixture into the flour mixture and gently work the liquid into the flour, using your fingers (a fork would work, too). Once the flour has been incorporated, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a flat surface for 4-5 minutes. If the dough feels sticky, work additional flour into it in 1/2 teaspoon increments until you can knead it without the dough clinging to your hands. Once the dough has been kneaded, transfer it to the prepared bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in a warm part of your house until it has doubled (60-90 minutes).

Once the dough has doubled, grease one mini loaf pan and one 2″ ramekin (or scrap the loaf pan and prepare three ramekins, instead) then sprinkle generously with flour; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it for 10 seconds, then roll it into a 5×12″ rectangle. Brush with oil then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the short end, tightly roll the dough into a 5″ log. Cut into three even segments and place two in the mini loaf pan and one in the ramekin. Cover with plastic wrap and, again, store in a warm part of your house until the rolls have doubled in size (about 60 minutes). Once the rolls have doubled, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Once preheated, place the cinnamon rolls in the oven. The ramekin cinnamon roll will need to bake for 18-20 minutes, while the mini loaf pan cinnamon rolls will need to bake for 22-24 minutes.

If you want to bake the rolls in a 6″ cake pan, follow the steps above but roll the dough into an 6×10″ rectangle and cut the dough into six 1″ segments. Bake at 350˚F for 20-22 minutes. 

While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting by adding the powdered sugar, potato starch (if using), and cinnamon to a small mixing bowl and mix just until combined. Add the oil and maple flavor (if using), and mix with a spoon until combined. Keep in mind that the consistency of the frosting will depend on the temperature of your house. If your house is cool, you may need to add a bit more oil to achieve a spreadable consistency. If your house is on the warm side, you may need to mix in a bit more powdered sugar to ensure the frosting isn’t too runny.

When the rolls are finished baking, remove from the oven and invert them onto a cooling rack. If the rolls don’t come out of their pans, it’s because you didn’t use enough flour. SORRY! You’ll have to fight like hell to scrape them out – and they’ll be nearly unrecognizable (read: ugly) – but thankfully they’ll still taste delicious. Allow the rolls to cool for five minutes then spread with frosting and serve immediately. Top with pecan pieces, if desired.

Yield: 3 cinnamon rolls

Overnight ginger + pumpkin chia pudding

Notes: If you don’t have the ginger + pumpkin cream but realllllly want some overnight chia pudding action in your life, this recipe should do the trick. Though I’d replace the beet powder with a shake or two of turmeric and add 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree, for good measure. If you don’t remember to make this the night before, reduce the almond milk to 2/3 cup.

OVERNIGHT GINGER + PUMPKIN CHIA PUDDING WITH MAPLE COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

Chia pudding
1/4 cup (60g) ginger + pumpkin cream
3 tablespoons (30g) chia seeds (SUP JOHNNY CHIA)
1-2 tablespoons (20-40g) grade B maple syrup
3/4 cup (168g) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Pinch of fine sea salt

Toppings
Coconut whipped cream (made with maple flavor instead of vanilla extract)
Ground cinnamon
Pecan pieces
Flaked coconut
Toasted buckwheat groats

Add the ginger + pumpkin cream to a jar and stir in the chia seeds and maple syrup. Slowly mix in the almond milk, followed by the salt, then cover the jar and let the pudding chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, top with coconut whipped cream and allllll the other toppings because THE MORE THE MERRIER.

Yield: 1 bowl

THEY'RE STILL ALIVE

32 Comments

  • Reply Kathryn 24 November 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Hip hip! Happy Thanksgiving Ashlae! I’ve always been staggered at the amount of food that Thanksgiving seems to entail but this menu looks totally up my street (pie x 4!). Also totally loving the sound of this chia pudding with all that toasty gingery pumpkiny goodness.

  • Reply danielle is rooting the sun 24 November 2015 at 8:20 AM

    Lady I am reaching hard for that desirable outcome (food coma, not baby)! Your thanksgiving plans sound excellent and delicious (salivating has ensued). Consider those cinnamon rolls fluffy clouds I’d like to float forever on. Have a lovely holiday (making my own way to boxed stuffing heaven) and enjoy. xo

  • Reply Kristina 24 November 2015 at 8:21 AM

    This chia pudding sounds delicious and that colour is just perfect.

  • Reply Christine 24 November 2015 at 8:38 AM

    Ashlae, you’re killing me! These cinnamon rolls sound magically delicious, and I’m inspired to bake them for my teen-aged brother who is traveling from Indiana to Washington, D.C., to stay with me for a special siblings’ Thanksgiving celebration, but there’s one problem: I do not have apple cider, and I’m not willing to buy it because I’ve seen it for sale only in half- and one-gallon containers and am entirely unwilling to buy such a massive quantity of sugary liquid for a recipe for which I need a miniscule amount.

    So, I’m wondering — and I apologize in advance, as I know that you dislike inquiries about substitutions — whether it would be possible to replace the apple-cider concentrate with something of similar taste, texture, and properties. My idea is that I could replace it with a mixture comprising two parts maple syrup to one part apple-cider vinegar plus appropriate spices, but that may be a dumb idea. Would the apple-cider vinegar react undesirably with the yeast? Yeah, probably so.

    I’m sorry to suggest adulterations to your beautiful recipe that you’ve meticulously tested. Ignore my question if it causes unrest. If it doesn’t, though, then tell me whether there’s a substitute. :)

    • Reply Ashlae 24 November 2015 at 9:03 AM

      Hi Christine –

      I love that you’re having a sibling Thanksgiving! I only wish I could convince all five of my crazy brothers to come out to Colorado and celebrate with us. Maybe next year I should try bribing them with pie. And cinnamon rolls.

      I can say with near certainty that the substation you proposed will not work. You could, however, just use almond milk in place of the apple cider and spice the dough with additional cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. And maybe add a tiny splash (I’m talking 1/4 teaspoon or less) of lemon juice for that light (but welcome) sour kick. Also, you can buy apple cider in 12 and 16 ounce quantities for just under $2.. which is totally worth it. Also, warm apple cider with a cinnamon stick and splash of whiskey = a delicious nightcap. Just sayin’. :) XO

  • Reply Astrid 24 November 2015 at 8:42 AM

    This Pumpkin pie with speculoos crust looks delicious! Are you going to veganize this for us??

    • Reply Ashlae 24 November 2015 at 9:15 AM

      Hi Astrid –

      Nope, Thom’s getting that sucker made with real eggs and butter. Though it wouldn’t be too difficult to veganize.

      • Reply Astrid 25 November 2015 at 6:00 AM

        Please enlighten me!

  • Reply Katrina 24 November 2015 at 9:24 AM

    “well dressed, gelatinous birdseed” hahahaha!!! I tend to love the stuff, I must say. But, like the majority of humans, cinnamon rolls are my weakness and that coconut oil frosting sounds insanely delicious! Annnnd they have apple cider concentrate too?!? WOO HOO! Have a great Thanksgiving friend! xx

  • Reply renee (will frolic for food) 24 November 2015 at 9:29 AM

    um YEAH this whole thing is awesome. i’m digging your thanksgiving menu and breakfast situation!!! i might have to whip up some cinnamon rolls too!

  • Reply renee (will frolic for food) 24 November 2015 at 9:30 AM

    oh ALSO your site redesign!!! in love.

  • Reply Alison 24 November 2015 at 9:37 AM

    GORGEOUS! All of it. Do you think I would be able to make the cinnamon rolls with regular cider instead of concentrate? My stove isn’t working but I really want to make these!

  • Reply Michelle @ Hummingbird High 24 November 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Oh man, your Thanksgiving sounds like the best. xoxo

  • Reply Harriet 24 November 2015 at 10:36 AM

    That feast menu is so jealousy-inducing! My life is pretty much pumpkin and apple err’thing all the time right now, so every aspect of these recipes & ideas is appealing, ha!

  • Reply Shelley | Sevengrams 24 November 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Your thanksgiving menu has me wishing I was American right now, and prepping for the big celebration! I would also love nothing more then to be at a dinner table with that many delicious pies…YUM. That overnight pudding with that dreamy coconut whip may have to happen realllll soon. Just lovely x

  • Reply dixya | food, pleasure, and health 24 November 2015 at 12:43 PM

    okay…the last time i tried cinnamon rolls were the frozen kind at my aunts house and they were delicious. i have been wanting to make my own but im a pathetic baker. i think i will stick with the well-dressed gelatinous goodness.

  • Reply Kiki 24 November 2015 at 12:52 PM

    Ashlae your recipes are amazing. Silly question…what font do you use in your posts? It’s so comforting and visually pleasing to me.

    • Reply Ashlae 24 November 2015 at 2:45 PM

      Hi Kiki –

      Thanks, it’s Proxima Nova. <3

  • Reply Kiki 24 November 2015 at 12:57 PM

    Also, could you confirm that your no-bake pecan pie from eHow (the last pie you linked) has 3 cups of oats in the crust? That seems like a large amount in proportion to 8 dates. Would it hold together?

    • Reply Ashlae 24 November 2015 at 2:46 PM

      HI AGAIN –

      3 cups is correct. And yes. :)

  • Reply genevieve @ gratitude & greens 24 November 2015 at 5:47 PM

    Us Canadians have already celebrated Thanksgiving but WHATEVS because I love Thanksgiving food and I love stuffing my face. And you’ve given me more than enough recipes to satisfy all those cravings. I have a feeling these cinnamon rolls will make an appearance on Christmas morning, YUM.

  • Reply SAN ANTONIO + LINKS I LOVE 24 November 2015 at 10:07 PM

    […] The new Oh, Ladycakes logo ( which I designed! ) is up on the re-vamped site. You should check it out if for nothing else than Ashlae’s recipe for Small Batch Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls. […]

  • Reply Sofia 25 November 2015 at 4:26 AM

    What a great menu for the whole day! Last year I made pumpkin chia pudding with the leftover pumpkin cream (ginger, spices et al.) from my pumping pie filling. I received weird looks as I mixed up the concoction, lol. (the chia seed pudding thing is still rather unkown here in Spain). Yours is a lot better decorated than mine!!

  • Reply MK 25 November 2015 at 6:31 AM

    Another (American-raised but currently) Canadian here: I will immediately archive this entire array of recipes to recreate with vigour on Christmas morning. I miss American-timed Thanksgiving, and the exuberance that Americans have for random holidays. No one decorates their cars with disturbing holiday clings at all times of the year here!

    I am welcoming some (best-pal) Americans up to Canada this weekend for their festivities, fr some reason, so maybe they will get a Christmas-teaser in the form of cinnamon rolls. Hell yeah.

  • Reply Meredith 25 November 2015 at 10:32 AM

    Both of those recipes look deeelicious! I never make cinnamon rolls, but I might just have to try these because the apple cider is calling my name. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Reply Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen 25 November 2015 at 6:33 PM

    “or b) give you a miserable food baby for a solid four hours (undesirable outcome).” <— Story of my life! Somehow I always think I can eat more than I can actually eat (comfortably) haha.

    Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving girl!

  • Reply Crista 25 November 2015 at 7:27 PM

    i love everything about these recipes and this post. can i eat dinner with you tomorrow? i’d entertain you with my food baby belly :)

  • Reply Jane 26 November 2015 at 8:34 PM

    Just wanted to let you know I made this pudding last night and it was AMAZING. And very easy to make. I doubled the recipe and between myself and boyfriend it’s almost gone. The coconut oil gives it a beautiful depth, and the spices are perfectly blended with the pumpkin. I will definitely be making this again!

    • Reply Ashlae 27 November 2015 at 11:26 AM

      Hi Jane –

      I am delighted to hear you love it just as much as I do. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  • Reply Edlyn 27 November 2015 at 7:19 PM

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single one of your opinions in this post. There are some Oh Ladycakes gems all over this page. I’m so glad I’m not a self-respecting American because I definitely didn’t do cranberry sauce or Thanksgiving-like foods. SORRY man. I’m just getting used to all of this. Every year my Ameircan husband says no to my idea of ordering biryani from the Indian restaurant, I learn something new like I really love stuffing because of ALL THAT BREAD.
    Awesome work with these breakfasts. I think it’s so important to never miss this meal especially when you’re finally an adult, making Thanksgiving foods and there is nobody to remind you that you need to eat before the hangry sets in. I will take all 3 cinnamon rolls thanks.

  • Reply Elenore 30 November 2015 at 7:10 AM

    “Well-dressed gelatinous birdseed” YOU ROCK, WOMAN!! Bahhahahahaa! Love you!

  • Reply Jayme | holly & flora 2 December 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Happy {belated!} Thanksgiving, Ashlae! I hope you guys had a great time relaxing and eating pies. lol Steve and I have already made three pies within a week and have eaten most of them. I have been having issues with my crusts, so I’ve been on a rampage to get things “just right.” Annnnnd I’m super stoked that your vanilla is back in rotation because I need some, and so do a few unsuspecting baker friends! And I H-A-V-E to make the mini pumpkin pies! They are so effing cute! …but those cookies, first. Big hugs!

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