I had such sights to show you. No, really. I did. There was Pasta ai Funghi, a Mendonoma Wild Mushroom and Seaweed Hotpot, Goat Cheese Pierogi with Black Trumpets, Tamales with Oaxaca Cheese and Wild Mushrooms and even a Beefsteak Fungus Nigiri. But you won’t be salivating over these recipes on this blog anytime soon, at least not until next season.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying. No, it really all came down to the mushrooms just not occurring in the same numbers as they have in the past. Many of my normal spots and hunting grounds for particular types of ‘shrooms either were entirely barren or just didn’t fruit in the same large quantities as they have for the past two years. While I was hardly hurting in the finding edible mushrooms department, there just weren’t enough to go around to properly develop, test and photograph recipes.
Things were not all doom and gloom however. I did manage to find my very first Matsutakes—but only in enough quantities to produce about 1 cup of dried mushrooms once dehydrated. I also managed to stock up a decent amount of Porcini, which I also dehydrated. Hell, at one point midway into the lackluster season I decided that I would simply dehydrate whatever I found, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to accomplish much of anything cooking-wise with my pathetically small “hauls.”
Then there’s my good friend Lactarius Rubidus, aka the Candy Cap mushroom. The first mushroom season we experienced on The Sea Ranch found literally hundreds of these tasty, maple-smelling morsels growing right outside our cabin. This past season I felt lucky to be able to forage a little less than a pound of them. Once dehydrated, my pound transformed into a measly cup, and that cup in turn resulted in roughly half a cup of dried mushroom powder once it got ground up. Having only such a small amount was hardly a moment of triumph or celebration.
Don’t roll your eyes at Candy Caps. They’re hardly a savory mushroom by any means. They sport a fragrant maple aroma and flavor and have been used historically to flavor cakes, cookies and even gelato. In other words: they’re the perfect ingredient to Mendonoma-ize some cinnamon rolls.
Before diving into the recipe below, its important for me to get a few things off my chest: first off, I’m no baker. I often hear that cooking is an art and that baking is a science. Either way you cut it, I just don’t have baking skills under my belt and I often struggle with simple baking instructions. Secondly, this was hands down the hardest recipe for me to develop and write. Figuring out the ratios between wet and dry ingredients and the rising times were particularly challenging. Humidity here on The Sea Ranch can be all over the place, so weights, measurements and times were often drastically different from one batch to the next. However, I have faith that if you use the quantities, times and measurements below that you’ll end up with a decadent batch of rolls.
Vegan Candy Cap Cinnamon Rolls
PREP TIME: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES ● COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES ● SERVES: 4-6
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy “milk”
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1⅛ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Put the “milk” and sugar into a saucepan on medium heat and stir until lukewarm (approximately 110 degrees). Remove from heat and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for at least 5 minutes or until the aroma of yeast is obvious and it appears frothy.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, pour in the “milk”/sugar/yeast mixture along with the vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until a dough forms. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface for about five minutes. The dough might be a bit sticky, but do your best to not add too much more flour to the mass during this stage. Lightly oil another mixing bowl, put the kneaded dough in and cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm spot in the kitchen for about an hour to rise. The temperature and humidity of your environment can affect the time needed for the dough to rise, so times may vary.
- Preheat your oven to 425°.
- To make the filling, put the ½ cup of non-dairy “butter” into a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to completely melt and then pour in the 1 cup of sugar, ground cinnamon and the Candy Cap mushroom powder. Stir constantly to mix and then remove from heat.
- By now your dough should have risen. Remove the dough from the bowl and return it to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 3 minutes. Allow it to rest 1 minute before proceeding.
- Roll your dough out and aim for it to be roughly rectangular in shape and 12 inches by 16 inches in size. Spread out your filling over the dough, keeping it as evenly distributed as possible.
- Roll the dough towards yourself gently until a 16 inch long log is formed. Spray a rounded cake pan with vegan cooking spray.
- Cut the log into 1½ inch slices and place them into the cake pan.
- Bake for 10 to 15minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
While developing and testing this recipe, I used Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, Earth Balance’s Original Buttery Spread and Almond Breeze’s Original Unsweetened Almond Milk. I receive no compensation from nor am I sponsored in any way by the above mentioned companies. These ingredients are simply what I used and what I know will work in this recipe.