Ever since I was about 12, my mom used to make us cinnamon rolls for Christmas. She’d make dozens upon dozens and give them away for Christmas presents, and we’d be drawn into the kitchen by the intoxicating smell, begging for a bit of icing or the littlest roll in the pan. Although that recipe has given me so much joy over the years, I decided to break tradition with Wren’s first Christmas and try something new. After I tried out this recipe, Alec promptly declared these as the best cinnamon rolls he’s ever had, and dubbed them queen of our yearly Christmas breakfast. The spice makes it warm and festive, and the dark brown sugar gives it that mollases-y goodness of a gingerbread cookie.
Add the cream cheese frosting and it’s a home run!
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- 3 cups flour
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 2 tbsp gingerbread spice (if you can’t find mix in store, use this recipe and nix ground cloves)
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 c butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warmed milk, yeast, and sugar. Milk should be warm to touch but not hot. Let stand 5 minutes until yeast becomes foamy.
- Add in softened butter, sugar, egg, salt, and mix with paddle attachment for 30 seconds.
- Add in flour 1 cup at a time, then switch to dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Dough should pull away from the sides and be soft, not sticky. If still sticky, add flour in 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Let dough rise for 1 hour.
- After the rise, turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a 8×12 rectangle.
- Combine dark brown sugar and spices. Melt 1/3 cup of butter and spread evenly on dough. Top with sugar/spice mixture.
- Starting at the wide side, roll tightly and lightly pinch seams. Using a serated knife or plain dental floss, cut log into 2 inch slices, discard ends and place in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Leave an inch space between rolls.
- At this point, you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or bake after a 30 minute rise. If refrigerating, make sure to remove from fridge an hour before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 16 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whip together butter and cream cheese until creamy, then add in remaining frosting ingredients.
- Spread on warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.