Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Snails

February 9, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Snails
If someone were to lend me a time machine and ask me to do whatever I want with it; the coordinates I’d start with would be 17th century Sweden.
There I would search for the baker who invented cinnamon rolls. Just to give him a very big hug and thank him for creating one of the most delicious things ever. Ha! What an odd encounter that would be.
Wait, I know what you’re thinking. With all the things you can do with a time machine, you would do that?
First of all, it’s well settled that I’m a tri-weirdo. Secondly, with your time machine you can do whatever you want. Personally, I would embark into the awesome cinnamon roll quest.
If by any chance we would meet afterwards and compare time machine stories; I’m fairly certain that my story would beat up your story.

Pumpkin in all its beauty
Having settled that, I must come clean and confess that I seldom eat cinnamon rolls.
Too much sugar, too much butter, too many carbs. It’s been very hard to come to terms with this deprivation, but no possible solution was in sight. Then, all of a sudden, two things happened.
First of all, I had a vegan cinnamon snail from the Cinnamon Snail food truck here in NYC. Epic, to say the least. Something you need to try at least once in your life. Worth a trip to NYC.
Also, I found at page 104 of the Baked Elements cookbook the recipe for some rad pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
MIxed the two together and cinnamon rolls are back into my life, and they’re vegan, healthy and delicious. BOOM!
Making these snails takes a little of your time but it’s so worth it. Trust me.

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Snails

Vegan Cinnamon Snails                                                                                Print this recipe!
Adapted from Baked Elements, inspired by Cinnamon Snails Food Truck
I changed a lot from the Baked Elements original recipe and tried to incorporate as many elements I could from the cinnamon snail of the Cinnamon Snail food truck. Besides the standard vegan subs (egg ⇒ flax egg; milk ⇒ almond milk; butter ⇒ coconut oil), I also cut sugar, used different spices and, more importantly, used baker’s yeast instead of instant yeast. I’m more comfortable with baker’s yeast, plus it makes dough rise a lot. Very dramatic. I guess that active dry yeast would work just as well. So use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Makes 18 large snails


3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ cup / 120 ml almond milk, lukewarm
1 cube baker’s yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups / 15.5 oz / 440 gr whole wheat flour, plus extra for rolling out
¼ cup / 1.7 oz / 50 gr firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅔ cup / 5.6 oz / 160 gr pumpkin puree
1 flax egg


3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
¾ cup / 5.1 oz / 145 grams firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of fine grain sea salt


⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Make the flax egg.
Melt the coconut oil (either in a small pan or in the microwave) and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the warmed almond milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After a couple of minutes it should be foamy. If not, you might have some bad yeast and must start again with new yeast.
In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugar, salt and spices. Add the melted coconut oil and stir to combine. Add yeast/almond milk mixture, pumpkin puree and flax egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low. I like to knead the dough by hand using only elbow grease, (it’s a very satisfactory activity and also environmentally friendly) but with the mixer it’s easier, no doubt about that.
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place (I stick mine in the oven with the just the light on). It should just about double.
While the dough is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch should work too, as does and 8-inch square) with parchment paper and brush the side of the pan and the paper with some melted coconut oil.

Assemble buns

Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 18x20-inch (46x50 cm) rectangle. The dough will be very thin. That’s how it should be.
Brush the melted coconut oil over the dough. Stir together the remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over the dough. Starting on the longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to be messy because the dough is pretty soft, hold on tight. It will be a huge success in the end.
Using a very sharp knife, using no pressure whatsoever gently saw your log with a back-forth motion. Cut 18 snails and divide among prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes to 1 hour (the snails should fill the pan).
Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C), and bake snails for 25 minutes, until golden.
While snails are baking, make the glaze. Beat confectioners’ sugar with almond milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle in more almond milk or add more confectioners' sugar until you get the desired consistency (I like mine to be pretty thin).
Once the snails are ready, transfer pan to a rack and top with glaze while they’re still warm.

Nutrition facts

Each snail yields 180 calories, 10.3 grams of fat, 31.7 grams of carbs and 6.7 grams of protein.


  1. They look incredible. And yes, the Cinnamon Snail truck is amazing!

  2. oh wow this looks sooo goood

  3. oh this looks soooooo amazing...I can almost smell it!! Can't wait to try this one!

  4. Wow, looks so good! I'm always on the hunt for good vegan cinnamon roll recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. just wanted to pop in and say i just found your blog via a Pinterest link and i love it. im a healthy living blogger - but also an academic so i love your mix of healthy living with a bit of real research. i'll be following along...

    1. Thank you Sara, that's awesome. Can't wait to check out your blog!

  6. New to your wonderful space!Love it already!I am a vegetarian runner from Greece. Drop by my blog to get a taste of greek cuisine.

  7. HI Mike, I don't quite understand you meant by "Using a very sharp knife, using no pressure whatsoever gently saw your log with a back-forth motion." Could you please explain that a bit more? Though I love to bake and cook, I've never made any baked goods with rising yeast. This recipe is calling me to break out my "comfort zone" and get my hands messy with yeast + kneading dough. I hope you'll get to read this inquiry and respond.... Can't wait to try this. Thanks!

    1. Hey Josie,
      When you cut a loaf of bread (or some salami for instance) you need to apply some pressure on the knife so that the blade can saw through. The harder a thing is, the more strength you have to use to cut it (imagine how hard is to cut a log of wood).
      In this case instead, the dough is so soft that you don't need (nor want) to apply any pressure whatsoever on the knife. All you have to do is to move the blade back and forth and it will cut right into the dough (the weight of the blade alone will be enough for that to happen).
      If you use force instead of cutting the snails you would just mush them.
      It's more complicated to explain than it is to do.
      Let me now if you have any further questions.
      Happy baking!

    2. Thank you! I just made it yesterday, but they did not seem to rise as much as I expected. I used active yeast (since I couldn't find baker's yeast in store), which I suspected was the reason why. I did the "zig zag" the dough log with a knife lightly. Also used canola oil instead of coconut oil. I also kneaded the dough by hand (don't have dough hook attachment). Could kneading too much prevent dough rising/texture? I love pumpkin spices so I added more than suggested here. Anyway, I might try this again to hopefully perfect this dish. :)

    3. I'm thinking that maybe using canola oil (a polyunsaturated fat) instead of coconut oil (a saturated fat) might have something to do with the rising, not sure though.
      Before posting the recipe I bake these several times using both baker's yeast and active yeast. The only difference I noticed was that with the latter I had to wait a bit longer.
      While kneading the dough by hand does not influence the rising (I always knead by dough, btw).
      I'm confident that your second attempt will be much more successful.

    4. The reason I did not use coconut oil is I only have the unrefined raw coconut oil, which has a more distinctive coconut flavor (which I love, btw. But I just wasn't sure I wanted such coconut flavor to come through my pumpkin/cinnamon profile going with this). So I subbed it out. BUT I will try coconut oil next time! Also for my icing, I used ginger jam (yes, ginger!), mixed it with cream cheese, a little bit of almond milk to thin it out. OH MY MIND. So good. It's no vegan anymore but hey I'm okay with that :)

      And I forgot to mention.... It was still VERY delicious. :) LOVE it even more after heating it for 10-15 secs in the microwave. Hot, gooey and so fragrant. Thanks for all your feedback.