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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!

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Keyword Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, Holiday Brunch Recipes, Brioche Cinnamon Rolls,
Servings 8 rolls
Author Stephanie Simmons

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. Bake: Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cooking thermometer inserted into the center of one of the rolls registers 190 degrees F. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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. 

Recipe Notes

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.