Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Provided World Peace isn’t an option, my holiday wish list this year includes: fleece-lined leggings, a faux fur vest, and a pan of Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.
Rereading my list (which is completely legitimate, by the way) leads me to realize a few things about myself:
One: I work from home in a freezing (um, 67 degree) house. In order to remind myself that I am an actual human being, I exit my sweatpants each morning and put on leggings, which are clearly more refined than sweatpants (please do not fight this logic). The fleece lining will keep me warm, alleviating my current need to walk around the house wrapped in a blanket like a giant human burrito.
Two: Due to the amount of time I spend in said leggings, I clearly have fettered desires to be more fashionable outside the house. I hear faux fur vests are totally hot. True?
Three: I am craving all things cozy. Gingerbread is one of my all-time favorite holiday flavors, and I can’t image a snugglier, more comforting breakfast than cinnamon rolls.
These soft and tender cinnamon rolls are packed with the rich, warm flavors of your favorite gingerbread cookie. The dough is deeply tinted with molasses, spicy with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, and sweetened with brown sugar. It’s a lovely gingerbread color and oh so fluffy too.
The filling is a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, and even more spice. It’s like holiday fairy dust, sprinkled over melted butter. (Do you see why these cinnamon rolls are on my Christmas list?)
Ready to roll. Gingerbread cookie taste, meet cinnamon roll shape.
No self-respecting cinnamon roll would be without frosting, and since holiday wishes are being granted here, let’s make it a cinnamon spice cream cheese frosting, shall we?
Now all that remains is to eat these fabulous, fluffy, gingerbread cookie-flavored rolls warm from the oven. I think I’ll munch mine in fleece leggings and a faux first vest.
Cozy, cozy, all the way.
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour — or substitute all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg — lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 2 1/4 teaspoons Red Star Platinum Instant Yeast — 1 standard envelope yeast
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, — light or dark
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted
For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3 ounces cream cheese — softened
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Prepare the dough: Pour milk into a large glass measuring cup. Add butter and microwave on high, until the mixture is warmed to the temperature directed by the yeast manufacturer (120°F to 130°F for Red Star Platinum Yeast). Start with 30 seconds, then microwave in 10-second intervals, until the desired temperature is reached. The butter may not melt completely and the milk should feel warm but not hot.
Place the white whole wheat flour, brown sugar, egg, molasses, vanilla, yeast, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl. Pour in the heated milk and butter. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour. Beat on low speed, until the flour is absorbed and the dough is no longer sticky, scraping down sides of bowl as you go. If dough is extremely sticky, add remaining 1/2 cup flour one tablespoon at a time, combining after each, just until dough begins to form a shaggy ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. It should still feel fairly tacky.
If using a stand mixer, fit the mixer with a dough hook and knead on medium low for 6 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Add a little flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky and clings readily to your hands. Lightly oil a large, clean bowl with cooking spray. Form dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, turning once to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Stir together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12x20-inch rectangle. Brush all over with 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle all of the sugar and spice filling over the top. Starting at one of the short edges, roll the dough into a tight log, then tightly pinch the seam to seal. Gently stretch and pat the dough log as needed so that it is roughly even in diameter and 18 inches in length. With a serrated knife, gently saw the log into 12 segments (each segment will be 1 1/2 inches wide). Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, cut sides up. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. (It may take a bit longer but is worth the wait.) Alternatively, you can place the rolls in the refrigerator and let rise overnight.
Place rack in center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls until golden and the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes. Check the rolls at the 20-minute mark. If browning too quickly, gently tent with foil and continue baking.
For the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves. Add a little additional milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Frost rolls and serve warm.
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I baked these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with my favorite bread-baking tool, Red Star Platinum Yeast. It’s foolproof, yields consistent results, and most importantly, creates super-fluffy, tender breads every time. For baking tips, check out Red Star Yeast’s step-by-step baking guide, and don’t forget to follow Red Star on Facebook for tasty recipes and inspiration.
I created this recipe and post in partnership with Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue providing quality content to you!
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