Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are the BEST holiday brunch! They’re soft and pillowy and flavored with ginger, cinnamon, and molasses, and filled with butter, brown sugar, cozy spices, and molasses! Top with a classic Cream Cheese Icing, and prepare to forget that any other brunch food exists!
There’s nothing better than sitting down to a pan full of soft, warm, pillowy cinnamon rolls this time of year. Gingerbread is to me what Pumpkin Spice is to everyone else – I cannot get enough of it! Give me Gingerbread tea, coffee, french toast, pancakes, cookies, and cinnamon rolls every day!
How can you resist these? Look at that perfect sweet, sticky filling!
How to Make Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls:
If you’ve never made homemade cinnamon rolls before, don’t fret – it’s actually fairly simple! The overnight method makes it nice too, because it breaks up the work into two “batches”, which is why this recipe is great, even if you’re new to cinnamon roll making.
First, stir up the dough – it’s made with eggs, flour, water, yeast, maple syrup, molasses, and cozy spices like ginger and cinnamon! Let the dough rest, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours, then pop it in the fridge overnight (about 10 hours).
Here’s the dough just after mixing (on the left) and after rising at room temp for 2 hours (on the right). I know they appear to be two different colors, but it’s just the bad kitchen lighting since I made these at night!
This is what the dough will look like in the morning.
In the morning, flour your counter well (the dough can be a bit sticky, but if you generously flour the surface and your rolling pin, it won’t be a big deal) and roll the dough out. Spread it with softened butter, sprinkle on the filling mixture – sugar and spice – and drizzle on a little molasses. Roll up the dough from the long side, slice into 8-9 pieces, and place in a sprayed pan to let rise 30 minutes.
As you can see, my cinnamon roll pieces did NOT all look perfect after I cut them – that’s OK. They’ll still turn out just fine after you bake them (even the tiny little end pieces that are always smaller – they’re hiding in the back in the photo below).
Then, bake for about 25-30 minutes! While they’re rising and baking you can mix up the frosting – or you can mix up the frosting the night before, and use this time to relax and visit with your fellow brunch-ers. And if they still look imperfect after they’re baked, well, that’s what the icing is for! 🙂 Perfectly imperfect.
Spread the frosting on and enjoy immediately once they’re out of the oven! Like I said, there’s NOTHING better than a fresh-baked Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll, on a winter morning, preferable with snow flakes falling outside. (Oh, right, I’m also obsessed with snow and winter, if you didn’t already know).
Happy brunching! If you LOVE cinnamon rolls, be sure to try my Maple Brioche Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Maple Icing, too!
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Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are the BEST holiday brunch! They're soft and pillowy and flavored with ginger, cinnamon, and molasses, and filled with butter, brown sugar, cozy spices, and molasses! Top with a classic Cream Cheese Icing, and prepare to forget that any other brunch food exists!
For the Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, at room temp
- 6 tbsp melted butter I use salted
- 3 TBSP molasses NOT blackstrap
- 2 and 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
For the Filling
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened 1 stick or 8 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1 and 1/2 TBSP molasses NOT blackstrap
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tbsp salted butter, softened
- 1 and 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 TBSP real maple syrup
Mix up the dough: In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients, except flour. Whisk until just combined, then stir in the flour last. The dough will be sticky and shaggy (see photos above). Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rest for 2 hours in a warm place.
After two hours, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (about 10 hours). See prep + bake time schedule idea in the recipe notes below.
Assemble Cinnamon Rolls: Butter a 9-inch round baking dish or spray well with nonstick spray.
The next morning, flour your counter well - this dough can be a bit sticky but if you flour the counter and your rolling pin well, it shouldn't be an issue. Dump the dough out and gently punch it down a bit, and try to shape it into a large, thick envelope shape. Begin rolling it out. We're going for a long rectangle, about 18 x 12 inches.
Gently spread softened butter over the rolled out dough, with a spatula. Stir together the remaining filling ingredients - except for the molasses - in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Drizzle the molasses over the filling.
Slowly roll the dough into a log - rolling from the long side. Go slow here and make sure you're rolling tightly.
Use a piece of string or un-flavored dental floss to cut your cinnamon rolls into 2 and 1/4" pieces (ish). Watch this video if you're unsure how to do this. (You can also use a sharp, serated knife if you don't have a string). The end pieces may turn out a bit smaller - this is normal and not a big deal at all.
Place the cinnamon roll pieces cut side up in the prepared dish and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake: Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cooking thermometer inserted into the center of one of the rolls registers 190 degrees F.
Make the Icing: While the cinnamon rolls bake (or up to 3 days before), prepare the frosting. Beat together softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until well creamed. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and maple syrup and mix until everything is combined and creamy.
Serve + Store: Top cinnamon rolls with the icing as soon as they're out of the oven. Top with sugared cranberries and rosemary for a bit of extra holiday cheer, if desired. (Directions for them can be found here.)
Enjoy immediately! Store leftovers, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
NOTE: Make sure your eggs sit out for a bit before you start, or pop them in a bowl of warm water while you get out/start mixing the other dough ingredients. If they're cold, it will cause issues with the dough.
NOTE About Make Ahead Timing: I love to make the dough for these at 8 or 9 pm. Then, the dough gets moved to the fridge at 10 or 11 pm. At 8 or 9am the next morning, you can assemble and bake the cinnamon rolls! You can adjust this time schedule as needed - the important part is that the dough rises at room temp for 2 hours, and then gets refrigerated for 10 hours.
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