Gingerbread Lemon Buns

Gingerbread Dough:

1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk

1 Cube Fresh Yeast or 1 (1/4-Ounce) Packet Active Dry Yeast

1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Molasses

2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Pinch Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

3 - 3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose flour

1 Tablespoon Vital Wheat Gluten (Optional)

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Lemon-Sugar Filling:

3 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Melted

1 Cup Granulated sugar

Zest of 1 Lemon

Heat the non-dairy milk of your choice in a microwave safe bowl for just a minute to warm, but do not bring it to a boil. Stir in the yeast and let is sit for about 5 minutes until frothy and active. Once re-awakened, pour the yeast mixture into your stand mixer, along with the sugar, oil, and molasses. Mix to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the first 3 cups of flour, spices, wheat gluten (if using), plus the salt. Make sure that all the dry goods are thoroughly distributed and there are no large pockets of unblended spices remaining. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet, and beginning at the lowest speed, use the dough hook to slowly combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to keep everything incorporated, until the dough forms a cohesive ball. If it still seems excessively wet, add up to 1/2 cup of flour.

Let the mixer continue to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. You could also knead it by hand; just take 15 minutes to do so instead. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let rest in a warm area for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and turn it out on to a well-floured surface. Roll it out into a rectangle of about 14 x 18 inches. Brush generously with the melted margarine. Combine the sugar and zest in a small bowl before sprinkling the mixture evenly over the entire surface. Starting from one of the shorter ends, roll the rectangle up as tightly as possible, pinching the seam shut when you reach the other end.

Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into approximately 1 1/2-inch pieces. Fit them into a lightly grease 9 x 9-inch pan, spacing them as evenly as possible. Begin preheating your oven at this point to 350 degrees, and allow the rolls to rise for 45 - 60 minutes before sliding them into the hot oven.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before digging in.

Makes 9 - 12 Buns

©Hannah Kaminsky