I know it’s unusual for me to be posting another sweet recipe already. But I need to share my recipe for vegan blueberry sweet rolls with you before it’s too late. I see a lot of blueberry dessert recipes call for frozen berries. I do this myself and it’s for good reason. However, given that we’re in the thick of blueberry season, I wanted to give you a recipe for a sweet treat made with FRESH blueberries. So here we are.
I shared a strawberry sweet roll recipe a few years ago and um… the pictures… are… yeah. Originally I was planning to remake that exact recipe and update the pictures and recipe, but fate saw things differently. I was on my way back from a nice trail run up in the beautiful Elk Neck State Park and there was someone selling local blueberries on the side of the road. Blueberries sounded too refreshing to pass up, and the sweet roll plans changed.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of sweet rolls, these are basically a cinnamon roll but filled with something that is not cinnamon sugar. Something in between a cinnamon roll and a cake roll, I guess you could say. My most common change-up is to use some kind of macerated fruit in the middle but I’ve also filled sweet rolls with toasted nuts or chocolate before. Today it’s all about these vegan blueberry sweet rolls though!
A lot of blueberry baked goods combine the blueberries with lemon. But I figured if I was changing from strawberries to blueberries, I should also change from lemon to another citrus fruit. Blueberries and orange happen to pair beautifully together, so I added some orange juice and zest to the dough and filling. Yum.
If you’ve got a favorite dairy-free cream cheese frosting, go ahead and use it to top your vegan blueberry sweet rolls. My cashew cream cheese whipped with powdered sugar makes for a nice icing too. You could also use the lemon caramel glaze from my strawberry rolls linked above (this is what I did, but substituting orange for the lemon); or any kind of glaze that you like; or heck, even a drizzle of maple syrup. The fresh berries are so juicy and sweet after the rolls come out of the oven that these are even enjoyable with no topping at all. Blueberries are the best 🙂
This is a yeasted roll recipe, so allow plenty of advance time for letting the dough rise. Check the recipe notes for more information on splitting up the steps across multiple days.
Vegan Blueberry Sweet Rolls
Summery vegan blueberry sweet rolls, with a hint of orange. Made with FRESH blueberries! Use your favorite glaze or icing to top these off.
For the dough:
- 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk warm but not hot
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar or cane sugar)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2 and 1/4 tsp)
- 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
- 3 tbsp aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas or white beans)
- 3 tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice (zest the orange before squeezing it, and reserve the zest for the filling)
For the blueberry sweet roll filling:
- 2 and 1/2 cups fresh blueberries gently mashed or roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or use agave nectar, brown rice syrup, etc.)
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
For serving the blueberry sweet rolls:
- 1 batch icing or glaze of choice (such as the glaze from my strawberry sweet roll recipe or a vegan cream cheese frosting)
Proof the yeast:
Make sure your non-dairy milk is warm but not hot (it shouldn't be uncomfortably hot to the touch). Stir in the coconut sugar and the yeast, and let sit for a few minutes while you mix together the other dough ingredients. You should see the mixture frothing and bubbling lightly. If not, wait longer or try a fresh packet of yeast.
Prepare the sweet roll dough:
Stir together the all-purpose flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center and pour in the proofed yeast mixture, vegetable oil, aquafaba, and orange juice. Use a sturdy fork or spoon to mix everything together well until a shaggy dough forms. Switch to using your hands, kneading the dough together until it forms one cohesive mass. If for some reason your dough is too try to come together, add water or non-dairy milk a tablespoon at a time until it can form a shaggy dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 more minutes, adding more flour only as needed, until the dough is smooth and a little springy, but still fairly moist.
Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm location to rise, for about 60-90 minutes or until approximately doubled in size.
Prepare the blueberry sweet roll filling and fill the rolls:
Prepare a square 8-by-8 or 9-by-9 inch baking dish, or a rectangular 7-by-11 inch baking dish (or other similar sized dish) by lining it with parchment paper and lightly greasing the parchment.
Meanwhile, if you haven't already, gently mash or roughly chop the blueberries and add them to a bowl. Stir in the maple syrup, orange zest, and cornstarch, mixing to incorporate evenly.
Prepare a work surface where you don't mind if some blueberry juice gets on it; flour the surface lightly. Punch down the risen dough and then roll it out into a rectangle. Spread out the blueberry filling onto the rectangle, leaving an inch or so of room around the edges.
Very carefully take one of the longer edges of the rectangle and slowly roll the dough and filling into a giant roll. The blueberries have a tendency to escape, so go slowly, be careful, and gently push any rogue blueberries back in if you need to. Once you've rolled up the whole thing, gently press the end into the rest of the dough to hold it together. If your dough is nice and moist then this should work. But it won't be a super strong hold.
Grab either a super super sharp, small knife, or cooking twine. If you are using a rectangular pan, you'll cut this into 8 pieces, or into 9 pieces if using a square pan. Cut the roll into equally-wide sections (no need to be super precise, but feel free to measure it if you want to). If you don't use a sharp, clean knife, expect to get blueberries everywhere. Some will probably escape no matter what.
Carefully transfer each formed blueberry sweet roll into the prepared baking dish, spacing them equal distances apart. You can take any blueberries that fell out during cutting the rolls, and press them into the tops of the rolls. Cover the pan and let rise in a warm place for another 45-90 minutes, or until they rise to fill the pan.
Bake the blueberry sweet rolls:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once hot, place the sweet rolls in the oven, loosely covered with tinfoil or a sheet of parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked all the way through.
Let the rolls cool for 20-30 minutes before removing them from the pan and serving. If desired, first top them with your preferred frosting or glaze. Leftover rolls keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days once cooled completely. Reheat before serving.
MAKE AHEAD: Follow the instructions for proofing the yeast and preparing the dough. After punching down the dough, store it in the refrigerator for up to 36 hours before resuming work. Important: bring the dough completely back to room temperature before continuing with the next steps of preparing and filling the rolls.
VARIATIONS: Use lemon or lime juice and zest instead of the orange. Use up to half whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour. Use frozen blueberries instead of fresh; reduce to 2 cups. Used a small mashed ripe banana or 1/4 cup pureed silken tofu instead of aquafaba (used as an egg replacer to add moisture and body).
Adapted from vegan strawberry sweet rolls with lemon glaze.
More delicious sweets featuring berries: