Yeast-free cinnamon rolls from Real Snacks

Yeast-free Cinnamon Rolls from Real Snacks | A Dash of Compassion

We all have a weakness for junk food. The problem is it’s not very good for us. Aside from the overabundance of fat, sodium and sugar in most of today’s snack food products, there are also the unidentifiable chemicals and preservatives on the ingredients list to consider. When it comes down to it, those delicious Twinkies, Doritos, Cracker Jacks and Cheez-its are not real food.

Thanks to photographer and cookbook author Lara Ferroni, you can learn how to make your favourite snack foods from scratch. Her latest book, Real Snacks, features more than 70 recipes for sweet and salty classics like ice cream sandwiches, snack cakes, pretzels, crackers and potato chips. There’s something to please everyone, including those who prefer their treats gluten-free or vegan. That’s right—Lara’s recipes use wheat, dairy and eggs, but every single recipe also includes gluten-free and vegan alternatives. Pretty amazing, right?

So far, I’ve tried the Cinnamon Rolls, which use a quick bread instead of a yeast dough, so I was able to indulge in these tender, cinnamony sweets in less than an hour. I promise you won’t even miss the yeast—or the two hours of rising time that goes with it. Lucky for you, the publisher has agreed to share the recipe (see below!).

Figgy Cookies from Real Snacks | A Dash of Compassion

I also made the Figgy Cookies, a new version of the Fig Newton that was inspired by Kim Boyce, owner of Bakeshop in Portland, OR. These lovely, malty buckwheat cookies contain an incredible jammy filling made of dried figs, maple syrup and spices. The filling recipe calls for an optional 1/4 cup of port or red wine, which I didn’t include but it still turned out heavenly.

Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips from Real Snacks | A Dash of Compassion

And finally, I chose to try the Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips, if only to fill the void of my “no chips in the house” rule for my husband, who is an unabashed Doritos lover. The cheese powder is omitted for the vegan version but the spice mix still made for a pretty delicious, salty snack. I made a few of my own changes, like using sprouted ezekiel tortillas instead of corn tortillas and baking them instead of frying. There’s no doubt I’ll be making these again, and again.

It seems Lara didn’t forget anything in this book because it also includes a useful appendix of pantry staple recipes like chocolate syrup, marshmallow creme and caramel sauce. Oh, and I can’t forget the handful of naturally vegan recipes like sugar wafers, caramel corn, salty water crackers, potato chips, bean dip and corn nuts.

So, next time you have a sudden craving for something sweet or salty, head to the bookstore instead of the grocery store. It’s time, as Lara says, to “Take back our snacks!”

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Yeast-free cinnamon rolls from Real Snacks

Yield: 6 to 8 rolls


    • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup soft tofu
    • 1/4 cup coconut milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 6 tbsp muscavado or brown sugar, divided
    • 4 tbsp vegan margarine or coconut oil, softened, divided
    • 1 scant tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
    • 1/4 cup glaze (optional)


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp non-dairy milk, divided
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch square cake pan with baking spray and set aside.
    2. Sift the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a small bowl and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the tofu, coconut milk, vanilla, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the margarine. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.
    4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times to form a smooth dough. If the dough is sticky, knead in a bit more flour. Roll the dough out to a 6-by-8-inch rectangle about 1/4-inch thick and brush with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining margarine.
    5. Mix the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and pecans, if you are using them. Sprinkle evenly onto the dough, reserving about 1 tablespoon. Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam to seal. Trim the ends and slice into 6 even pieces. Place them, cut side up, into the prepared cake pan with their sides just touching.
    6. Brush the tops and sides of each roll with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon margarine. Sprinkle the tops with the reserved sugar mixture. Bake until the edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving, and drizzle with glaze if desired.

For the glaze:

  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add the non-dairy milk, one teaspoon at a time, mixing thoroughly with a spoon until a paste forms. Stir in the vanilla. The mixture should drip when you hold up the spoon. Add a bit more milk if needed. Use immediately.

This recipe includes all vegan substitutions. I found these best fit in a small round baking pan rather than a square one.

Recipe published with permission from the publisher, Sasquatch Books.



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