Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect holiday morning breakfast. They’re made with molasses and filled with a brown sugar spiced filling for a gooey and delicious winter-inspired roll. They’re soft and fluffy and topped with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting.
What’s a winter season without gingerbread? Cookies, houses, cake, and cupcakes are all classics for this flavor. But this season, take it one step further and add gingerbread cinnamon rolls to your baking list. It’s the same great flavor transformed into warm and gooey breakfast rolls for the whole family to enjoy. You can prep them the night before and have a delicious breakfast treat ready in just one hour.
Why this recipe works
- Fun and festive winter breakfast.
- Gooey brown sugar and spiced filling.
- The dough is made with molasses for a lovely gingerbread flavor.
- Topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting.
- Freezer-friendly breakfast recipe.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
Dough hook attachment
9×13-inch baking pan
Small offset spatula
Allow all your ingredients to come to room temperature.
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
There are several types of yeast: fresh, instant, rapid rise, and active. For this recipe, use instant yeast. It’s simple to work with compared to other yeast. All you have to do is add it straight to your bowl and mix. There is no initial hydrating nor worry about how warm the water is or how long you have to let it sit. You can skip all those variables with instant yeast. Store yeast in the refrigerator to maximize its shelf life and to ensure it maintains its leavening power.
Sour cream is traditionally not added to bread. However, these cinnamon rolls are enriched, and I have added sour cream for a couple of reasons. The acidity and tanginess of sour cream add a more complex flavor to the dough. The extra fat adds another layer of richness. And finally, sour cream adds moisture to the dough.
Molasses is a key ingredient in gingerbread. It adds a dark, rich color to the dough, but more importantly, it adds that distinctive gingerbread flavor that pairs well with the spices. Use unsulphured molasses, which will yield the best flavor. Blackstrap molasses has a slightly bitter flavor, which would not be as pleasant in these rolls.
How to make gingerbread cinnamon roll dough
Knead. First, begin with mixing the wet ingredients in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Slowly add the dry ingredients and milk, and then switch to the dough hook and mix for about 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Proof. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl. Loosely cover and allow to rise in a warm place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Fill and roll. Roll the dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Spread with the softened butter and sprinkle the brown sugar filling mixture on top. Roll the dough nice and tight to keep your filling from spilling out. Using a technique of stretching and rolling the dough helps keep it tight.
Slice. Once rolled, trim the ends of the dough and slice the log into 12 equal-sized pieces.
Second proof. Allow your rolls to proof a second time once they are cut and in the pan. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to proof for about 30 minutes, until they are puffed.
Easy brown sugar filling
The filling for these gingerbread cinnamon rolls is simple and adaptable to your preferences. All you have to do is whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough.
You can easily alter the spices. If you prefer, you can substitute the spices with pumpkin pie spice. Although baking is a science, you can easily adapt the flavor with other flavorings and spices without worrying about affecting the recipe.
Proofing gingerbread cinnamon rolls overnight
Once the dough is mixed, it will take about 1 hour to proof depending on the surrounding temperature. If you prefer, you can proof the dough in the refrigerator overnight. A cold fermentation process means the yeast releases carbon dioxide more slowly. As a result, your rolls will have a more complex, robust flavor. It’s a great way to prep the cinnamon rolls ahead of time and have less work in the morning before enjoying them!
How to cut dough for cinnamon rolls
Once your dough is rolled into a log shape, it’s time to slice it into 12 even rolls. To cut the dough, it’s best to use a sharp serrated knife for easy slicing. Allow the knife to do the work for you. Do not press the knife into the dough. Instead, use a gently sawing motion to cut the rolls to not smush the dough.
- Trim both ends of the log and discard the scraps.
- Slice the log into quarters.
- Slice each quarter into thirds.
- Carefully transfer rolls to your prepared baking pan.
How to store cinnamon rolls
Once baked, keep cinnamon rolls in an airtight container to prevent the moisture from escaping. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
You can also freeze the rolls before adding the icing. Place into a freeze-safe container or bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, warm up in the oven and add frosting before enjoying.
Reheating cinnamon rolls
You can either reheat your rolls in the oven or microwave. It’s a personal preference and depends on how much time you have. Let’s take a look at both options.
Reheating using the oven
Using the oven requires a bit more time, but this method results in moist and gooey cinnamon rolls that taste like they were just baked.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C.
- Place cinnamon rolls onto a baking sheet pan and place into the oven.
- Reheat for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
- Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!
Reheating using the microwave
For a quicker method, use the microwave to reheat your rolls. The one caveat is that microwaving can cause your cinnamon roll to become soggy, so do not heat them for too long using this method.
- Place the cinnamon rolls on a microwave-safe plate.
- Reheat for 15 to 30 seconds or until just heated through. Enjoy!
Tips and takeaways
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients (including the sour cream and egg). It will allow you to mix your ingredients more evenly into the dough as well as provide the optimal temperature for yeast activity.
- Proof your dough in a clean and lightly oiled bowl. This will make it easier to remove the dough from the bowl after it proofs and it will also allow the dough to rise higher instead of fighting the sides of the bowl.
- Instead of making 12 rolls, you can slice the dough log into ten rolls and bake them in a round pan.
- Do not overbake the gingerbread cinnamon rolls otherwise, they will not be soft and chewy. Press the center gently, they should feel slightly firm and not squishy. The perfect roll will be golden brown on the outside and baked to an internal temperature of 190°F/88°C
For more fall and winter breakfast inspiration, try these recipes…
- Gingerbread Pumpkin S’mores Pop Tarts
- Sweet Potato Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Donuts
- Pumpkin Nutella Muffins
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print