These Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls just taste like Christmas! If you’re like me, and you believe the holidays are all about indulging, then I have the best holiday inspired cinnamon roll recipe for you. And, beginner bakers, have no fear, because this holiday recipe is easy, easy, easy!
Hosting a Christmas brunch? These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are a great addition!
If you’re worried about how to keep your cinnamon rolls moist, worry not! I’ve got some tips and tricks to help you create a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls that have that soft, brioche bread-like feel that we all love.
The dough is a combination of all your favorite spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and all spice. Add to that some brown sugar and a little molasses, and it’s pretty much the perfect holiday cinnamon roll recipe.
We baste the dough with melted butter and molasses, and sprinkle it with more sugar and spice. Are you drooling yet? Because we haven’t even talked about the rich, velvety eggnog cream cheese glaze.
The creamy and sweet vanilla, cinnamon and eggnog flavors come together so perfectly, and once you spread this glaze over the top of those homemade cinnamon rolls, you will have one of the most amazing Christmas breakfast recipes ever. Plus, what’s better than the smell of warm, freshly baked gingerbread filling your home?
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls just taste like Christmas!
Molasses comes in a few varieties. For a really in depth look at the different types of molasses out there, this article from Spruce Eats is a great reference.
For this recipe, I recommend using Blackstrap molasses, because Blackstrap molasses has the lowest sugar content. Because we’re already adding sugar to the dough, the filling, and the frosting, controlling the places we chose to add sugar to our recipe is important.
Of course we want these delicious cinnamon rolls to be a roll of warm sweet goodness, but we want to make sure that these flavors are nice and balanced!
OK, honestly, the biggest challenge with these cinnamon rolls is balancing the molasses. When used incorrectly, molasses can create a dry-ish cinnamon roll dough. In most cases, recipe developers avoid adding it to the dough, but I just LOVE the way the brown color of these rolls looks just like gingerbread! So, I found a solution!
To prevent dry cinnamon rolls, I’ve reduced the amount of molasses typically used, and substituted part of the flour in the recipe with bread flour. Viola! Soft and moist homemade cinnamon rolls!
In addition, to create a more beautiful brown color, I add a bit of molasses in between each roll along with the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture, which eventually seeps into the dough.
The key is in creating a balance between molasses in both the dough + the centers.
Simply beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth, then add the other ingredients until well incorporated.
Wait until the rolls are cooled before adding the glaze - about 25-30 minutes.
Before we head over to the full recipe, here are a few tips to ensure your homemade Cinnamon Rolls turnout perfectly:
Yeast is extremely finicky. Be sure that the milk used to activate the yeast is warm, not hot. The packet of yeast will have directions, but a good rule of thumb is between 100-110˚F (37-43˚C). This ensures you don’t kill the yeast and your dough rises to be soft and fluffy.
The consistency of your butter is the ultimate secret to tender cinnamon rolls. The same way room temperature butter creates a great texture in cakes and other dough-based recipes, room temperature butter helps make these cinnamon buns super soft.
Mixing, or kneading the dough, is what releases the glutens and makes the dough elastic. Elastic dough is the easiest dough to work with. Why do you want the cinnamon roll dough to be elastic? Simple: it helps when rolling and allows you to create a nice flat, thin square. Making sure that your dough is a uniform shape and texture will make it easier to fill with your choice of filling. It also makes rolls much easier.
Although I mostly make my cinnamon rolls the same day, letting the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator is the best. This slow rise process allows the yeast to completely feed off of the sugar and creates great flavor and of course—a lot more fluffiness in those gingerbread cinnamon rolls!
Bread flour is the secret ingredient in this cinnamon roll recipe. Before I discovered bread flour, I used only all-purpose flour. However, after a little experimenting, I learned that bread flour does wonders to make baked good super soft and moist (because it absorbs moisture like a champ!) The result? Homemade cinnamon rolls that have the most beautiful texture, and are tender, thick, and even more fluffy - just like brioche bread.
Yes, you read that right. Although the assembly is extremely messy, the way you roll the cinnamon roll dough is extremely important. Rolling the dough tightly creates a nice structure, and allows you to cut the dough more evenly. Evenly cut dough helps the rolls in the baking process. When rolling, always start the first roll really tight to keep the momentum throughout the log.
Need ideas on what to serve with made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls? I have two words for you: Christmas brunch. These Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls will, hand’s down, steal the show at your next holiday brunch. Because one batch of this easy cinnamon roll recipe makes a pan of 12 utterly delicious rolls, it’s great for feeding a crowd.
But holiday brunches aren’t the only occasion to whip up this festive recipe. If you want a super special Christmas morning breakfast, the warming spice of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect solution.
Need to store leftover cinnamon rolls? The great thing about this recipe is that in the unlikely event you have leftover cinnamon rolls (they’re so good that they go pretty fast!), you won’t have to worry about them losing any of their pillowy softness.
You see, the secret to these brioche-like cinnamon rolls is the bread flour. The bread flour really absorbs the water in the recipe so that even if you need to store leftover cinnamon rolls, they’ll still be super soft and moist the following day.
You’ll want to store the cinnamon rolls the same way I recommend storing my dairy-free Cinnamon Roll recipe for Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, or place the rolls in an airtight plastic container. They will store this way on the counter for up to three days. You can also store the cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls.