Bunner’s was rated the top bakery in Toronto by NOW Magazine in 2015. No, not the top gluten-free bakery – though it is – but the best overall bakery. It just happens to be both 100% gluten free and vegan. The staff can even tell you which items are soy-free, and most are.
I still ask every time I go in there, “Can I really eat everything here?” just so I can smile when the salesperson tells me, “Yes!”
Then I usually do try to eat everything…from the giant muffins to the savoury pizza pockets to the creamies (2 cookies sandwiched around vegan cream, like a mini whoopie pie) and the famous cinnamon buns.
Why are people freaking out about cinnamon buns?
Because yeasted, fluffy treats are hard to do gluten-free, especially without the eggs that could have potentially replaced some of that lift. The gluten free flours too often result in dense blobs of dough that bake into rocks that in turn sit, as rocks, in your sensitive stomach. Ex: Have you ever tried cooking tapioca pearls? It’s essentially gelatinous glue – not something that makes your gut happy. Add some grainy brown rice, bitter millet and gritty buckwheat and you’ve got yourself a digestive disaster.
But Bunner’s Bakeshop’s recipe is pretty good. There’s plenty of cinnamon in the filling, and the sauce that boils up when it bakes, caramelizing the edges, just needed a pinch more salt to make it pop. The trick to the pretty good fluffiness, I think, is the high-fat coconut milk. And even though they won’t be quite as amazing as grandma’s homemade buns, they’re a whole lot lighter (thank you applesauce) and the one-two punch of the sticky sauce and frosting (part agave, part sucanat, part organic sugar) focuses your attention on the sweet cinnamon flavour rather than the texture of the cake.
The only thing that really didn’t work in the recipe was the instruction to flip the cinnamon buns out of the pan onto a baking sheet. Once they’re covered in sticky syrup, they get a bit lazy and don’t much feel like flipping. Would you?
So I decimated one pan of these before deciding to just leave the second batch in the pan to serve. The other option would be to keep a piece of parchment paper under the cinnamon buns when you bake them. But the recipe seems to indicate that you remove the paper after rolling up the buns.
I was also so frazzled after the bun flipping disaster that I forewent the cream cheese frosting. There was more than enough flavour (from the sugar, cinnamon and fat from the coconut milk and Earth Balance) to satisfy a sweet tooth. When I buy the buns at the store, though, the frosting is completely indulgent. But the next day, I caved and made a basic buttercream (it was simpler and still vegan) frosting instead, put it on the side, and let guests spread it on their cinnamon bun to their hearts’ content.
Guests? you say. Why would you share this delectable treat with others? I made this recipe for my family’s Christmas party, which was Star Wars themed. So the name of the dish was Leia’s Buns – yet another reason not to frost the buns since it would hide the joke under a mound of icing.