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The overnight option and gluten free option are down below in the notes section.
Grease a medium sized bowl with olive oil or coconut oil, and set aside. Make sure the vegan butter for the dough is melted and cooled.
In microwave-safe bowl, heat the dairy-free milk until it reaches 110F- use a food thermometer to accurately measure the temperature. Any cooler or hotter, and the yeast won’t activate properly. Add in 1 tbsp coconut sugar and the extra 1 tbsp flour. Gently whisk together, then sprinkle yeast, mix with a spoon lightly, cover, and let activate for 10 minutes in a warm area.
When activated, pour the mixture into a large bowl or a stand mixer with the dough attachment. Add in the remaining sugar, applesauce, melted vegan butter, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until combine. Then add in about half of the flour and mix on medium speed until the flour starts to incorporate into the wet mixture. Add the remaining flour, and mix on medium speed until a shaggy dough forms. Lightly flour a clean surface and place the dough onto the surface, sprinkling some extra flour on top or kneading.
Knead the dough lightly, for 2-4 minutes, until it forms a smooth dough ball that’s not sticky. Then place the dough into the greased medium bowl, cover with a cloth or wrap, and place into a warm area to let rise for 1 hour. It should be double in size. If it’s at least 80F outside, you can place the bowl outside, otherwise you can place it in the oven (which is turned off) and turn on the oven light or start preheating the oven to 350F and place the bowl near or on top of the oven.
rising: grease a large casserole dish with oil and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
After the dough has doubled, lightly punch down the dough. Lightly flour a clean surface, and place the dough in the middle. Sprinkle a little extra flour on top of the dough and flour the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to be a large rectangle (12 in x 18 in). Lightly spread the dough with vegan butter to the edges of the dough. Then sprinkle on the coconut sugar cinnamon mixture evenly. Roll into tight rolls and away from you. Slice the roll into 12 even cinnamon rolls. To easily slice, you can use a piece of thin twine or unflavored floss. Place into the oil-greased dish.
Cover again with a clean towel or wrap, and place over or by the oven while the oven preheats to 375F. Let the cinnamon rolls rise for 30 minutes while the oven is preheating.
Place the cinnamon rolls into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the icing.
in a medium bowl or stand mixer, cream the vegan butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and cream again until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Spread the frosting onto the vegan cinnamon rolls and serve warm. If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, simply warm them on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 350F for 5-7 minutes.