Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

updated Dec 21, 2020
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

These soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls are packed with gingerbread flavor, thanks to molasses and warm spices in the dough and a velvety maple cream cheese glaze.

Makes12 rolls

Prep15 minutes

Cook40 minutes

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cinnamon rolls sit in a white baking tray half covered in icing with rubber spatula and tin of icing near it
Credit: Photo: Shanika from Orchids + Sweet Tea

These soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls are a beautiful twist on the classic. The addition of molasses and warm spices in the dough packs them full of gingerbread flavor, and a velvety maple cream cheese glaze makes them practically melt in your mouth with every bite.

Of course, what really takes these rolls over the top is double-frosting them, a tip we picked up from Sarah Kieffer’s cinnamon rolls. Coating the rolls once while they’re hot from the oven allows the icing to melt into all the nooks and crannies (and keeps the rolls moist), and a second layer after they’ve cooled gives you all the gooey goodness you crave.

Credit: Photo: Shanika from Orchids + Sweet Tea

Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

These soft and fluffy cinnamon rolls are packed with gingerbread flavor, thanks to molasses and warm spices in the dough and a velvety maple cream cheese glaze.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 40 minutes

Makes 12 rolls

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet

    rapid rise or instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1/2 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    warm water

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 1/4 cups

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1/4 cup

    molasses

  • 5 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground allspice

  • Olive oil, for greasing the pan

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

For the glaze:

  • 4 ounces

    cream cheese

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    maple syrup

  • 3 cups

    powdered sugar, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

    heavy cream

Instructions

Make the dough:

  1. Let 2 large eggs sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.

  2. Place 1 packet rapid-rise yeast and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup warm water and stir to combine. Let sit until the yeast begins to activate and is foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 1/4 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and let cool until warm to the touch.

  3. Add the butter-milk mixture to the yeast and mix on low speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until combined. Add 1/4 cup molasses and mix until combined.

  4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined and the dough begins to form a ball.

  5. Switch the whisk attachment to the dough hook. Knead on medium-high speed until the dough ball becomes smooth, elastic, and springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers, 5 to 7 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add more all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.

  6. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Make the filling:

  1. Place 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or coat with butter.

  2. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 9x14-inch rectangle that’s about 1/2-inch thick, with a long side closer to you.

  3. Lightly brush the dough with melted butter. Spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter, then use the brush to sweep the sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough tightly up into a log. Cut the log crosswise into 12 rolls. Transfer to the baking dish cut-side up in a single layer. Brush the tops of rolls with the remaining melted butter.

  4. Cover the baking dish and let the rolls rise until puffed and doubled in size, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375ºF. Place 4 ounces cream cheese and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter for the glaze in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and let sit at room temperature to soften.

  5. Uncover the rolls and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the rolls comes out clean and the tops are golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Make the glaze:

  1. Bring 1/4 cup maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat.

  2. Beat the cream cheese and butter together with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Sift in 3 cups powdered sugar, then add the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Mix on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time to thicken) if needed.

  3. When the rolls are ready, place the baking dish on a wire rack. Immediately spread half of the glaze over the rolls and let it melt, then cover and refrigerate the remaining glaze. Let the rolls cool completely, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the remaining glaze evenly over the rolls before serving.

Recipe Notes

Using active dry yeast: You can use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, but the rise times will be twice as long

Make ahead: The rolls can be prepared up to placing them in the baking dish. Cover the pan of unbaked rolls tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then refrigerate 8 to 12 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, let the rolls rise at room temperature, still covered, until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and proceed with the recipe.

Storage: The finished rolls can be tightly wrapped and stored at room temperature up to 3 days, refrigerated up to 1 week, or frozen up to 2 months.