These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are heavenly. Warm, gooey, with the perfect amount of molasses and warm spices that combines our favorite gingerbread flavor with a classic cinnamon roll!
This post is sponsored by Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk, but reflects my honest opinion of Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk.
Making these Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
What are we putting in the dough?
Like most basic roll dough recipes we are adding yeast, warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, an egg, and flour. Now, where this recipe differs from your traditional roll dough is the addition of molasses, our warm spices (ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves), and Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk. Molasses and our spices are what is going to give us that really classic gingerbread flavor! The addition of sweetened condensed milk, might seem a little odd right here, but let me just say that Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk has just two ingredients—milk and sugar—and that combination in our cinnamon roll dough makes these so rich and delicious!
Why isn’t my dough rising?
Don’t kill the yeast!
The first step to making our gingerbread cinnamon rolls is letting the yeast bloom. Put simply, we are mixing warm milk (not too hot or it could kill your yeast!), a little bit of sugar, and the yeast together and letting it sit for about 10 minutes. You should see that your yeast has grown and gotten very foamy. If you’re not seeing this, your milk may have been too hot, which would kill the yeast, or maybe your yeast is expired—check the expiration date! But one thing is for sure, if you’re not seeing your yeast grow here you’re going to have lots of problems later on with your dough!
Feed the Yeast
One reason we add sugar to our yeast and warm milk is that sugar feeds the yeast! Yeast is technically a bacteria and sugar helps feed it and make it grow! If you tried to add salt in to your war milk and yeast the salt would kill the yeast and you would see no growth at all! So this also why we add yeast later on in the dough, and not right away!
Do I actually need to warm up the molasses and condensed milk?
Your next step in making your dough is going melt the butter, molasses, and condensed milk together until they are smooth and liquidy. So why do the molasses and condensed milk need to be warmed up? Well, molasses and condensed milk are both super thick and heavy and I found that if they were cold they impede the dough’s ability to rise! But, warm them up and the dough rises no problem! So we skip a step, and warm all three up together!
Then you’ll take your melted butter, condensed milk, and molasses and stir in your egg, and all your warm spices!. Once that is combined you’ll stir in our yeast mixture. In a separate bowl you’ll stir together you salt and flour and then add our dry mixture into our wet mixture. Mix the two together and you should come out with a very soft sticky dough.
Knead it up!
Tip your dough out onto an oiled surface and knead the dough until the dough is smooth and elastic, and is no longer sticky. It should not take too long! Place your dough ball into an oiled bowl, use some cooking spray to spray a piece of plastic wrap (placing the oiled side of the plastic wrap down towards the dough) and cover the bowl.
My #1 trick for getting my dough to rise
After this you’ll want to set your covered gingerbread dough aside and let it rise for 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled in side. Now, with it being December and all, my kitchen is not very warm, so here’s what I do:
- Turn your oven on to it’s lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees Fahrenheit) and let it get warm while you’re making your cinnamon roll dough.
- Place your covered dough ball in the center of the oven and turn it OFF.
Now your dough has a warm and cozy place to rise quickly! I use this trick for the gingerbread cinnamon roll’s second rise too!
Roll out your dough
Once your dough has doubled in size, tip the dough out onto an oiled work surface. I prefer to use oiled work surfaces instead of floured, I find that too much flour ends up getting worked into the dough this way!
Use a rolling pin and roll your gingerbread dough out into a rectangle about 9 inches wide x 18 inches long—it doesn’t have to be exact. Spread soft butter –not melted—over the dough and then sprinkle your mixture of brown sugar and warm gingerbread spices over top of the butter.
Slice it up!
Start on the long side of your dough and tightly roll it up until you have a tube. Then, using a sharp knife or unflavored tooth floss slice your long roll into 12 equal pieces. Place them in a greased 9x13 pan evenly spaced, cover again with a piece of greased plastic wrap, and let rise again for 1-2 hours. Here is where I use the same warm oven trick again to help them rise! At the end of this rise, your cinnamon rolls should have doubled and filled in all that empty space in the pan.
Baste the Outside of your Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls with Sweetened Condensed Milk!
Before you jump right into this step, make sure you set aside ⅓ cup of Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk for the frosting. Then, whatever is left in the can at this point can be used to baste our cinnamon rolls! So why the heck are we basting them with sweetened condensed milk? We are basting the outside of our gingerbread cinnamon rolls with sweetened condensed milk for a couple reasons, first its going to make them super moist and gooey! And I don’t know about you, but I loveeee gooey cinnamon rolls. Second, because of the sugar in the sweetened condensed milk it’s going to caramelize the outside of the rolls just a little bit, which is, again, going to help trap moisture in the rolls, but also add an awesome flavor to these.
Then these little beauts are ready to be popped into that preheated oven and baked! While they’re baking whip up the super easy cream cheese frosting, and I like frost them straight out of the oven so that the frosting kind of melts into all the nooks and crannies of the gingerbread cinnamon rolls!
Devour and enjoy!
You May Also Want to try these other yummy Brunch Ideas:
- Biscuits and Gravy Casserole
- Cranberry Almond French Toast
- Banana Cinnamon Rolls
- Buttermilk Parmesan Apricot Bacon Biscuits
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Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 package of yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- ¾ cup milk warm
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼ cup Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 egg
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 cups of flour measured correctly
- About ½ cup Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk for basting cinnamon rolls with
- 6 tablespoons butter room temperature
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 ounces or 8 tablespoons cream cheese, softened (½ brick)
- 2 tablespoons of butter room temperature
- ⅓ cup condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt about ⅛ teaspoon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Mix warm milk, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and your yeast together and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly and foamy
- In a microwave safe bowl mix together butter,
condensed milk, and molasses. Microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Add in egg, ginger, cinnamon, and clove. Then add in your yeast milk mixture. Stir until smooth.
- In a separate bowl mix together flour and salt. Then add your dry mixture into your wet mixture. Mix until fully incorporated. You should have a very soft dough.
- Tip dough onto an oiled surface, oil your hands and knead dough until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and not sticky.
- Place in an oiled bowl, spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover bowl. Place in a warm place to rise for 1- 2 hours until doubled in size, see notes.
- Once dough has doubled in size, tip dough out onto an oiled work surface use a rolling pin and roll into a rectangle approximately 9 inches wide by 18 inches long. Spread soft butter over the dough. Then take your brown sugar and mix it with your, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. Sprinkle your sugar mixture all over the softened butter.
- Starting on the long side of your rectangle, tightly roll your dough into a tight cylinder. Using either a sharp knife or unflavored floss, cut into 12 equal pieces.
- Place in a greased 9x13, cover again with greased plastic wrap, and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Feel
free to use our same tip in notes for helping dough rise in a warm oven.
- While your dough is rising, prepare your
frosting. Using a hand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add in ⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk, beat until smooth. Add in powdered sugar, beat until smooth. Set aside for later.
- When cinnamon rolls are done rising, Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take your remaining condensed milk and baste your cinnamon rolls with it. If your condensed milk is too thick, microwave it for 15 seconds and then baste your cinnamon rolls with it.
- Bake your cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then spread your frosting over top. Serve and enjoy!
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