Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls are a must this holiday season. Topped with a greek yogurt cream cheese frosting your family will love. Dairy-free friendly recipe! See recommendations in recipe page.
I don’t know about you, but it is feeling mighty festive here in Michigan. And by festive I mean snowy 🙂 We got about six inches of snow Wednesday and even more Friday and Saturday. While it isn’t the most fun thing to drive in, it is pretty to look at. I think we’re actually scheduled to have a white Christmas here in mid-Michigan.
Snowy Decembers helps me get in the holiday spirit. I mean, how can you not feel all festive and cheery listening to holiday tunes while snow is coming down? Speaking of holiday tunes, Hanson just put out a new Christmas album – It’s Finally Christmas – and it has been on repeat here in the FMK household. Seriously awesome.
Also, I just realized Christmas is NEXT WEEK. Well, I didn’t JUST realize this but it dawned on me as I was typing. I plan on having my sisters over for a little cookie and gingerbread house decorating fun on Christmas eve. And maybe I’ll put cinnamon rolls on the list for Christmas morning. Nothing screams Christmas morning like good old fashioned CINNAMON ROLLS, right?! And homemade ones at that –doesn’t get much better. Oh wait yes it does
Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls (with Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting)
We’re talking gingerbread flavored ones topped with luscious greek yogurt cream cheese frosting. Soooo good, my friends.
I made these last week during the snowstorm that came through. Drew was working from home that day – meaning every 30 minutes he yelled from upstairs “Are the cinnamon rolls ready!?” He definitely doesn’t understand the process for homemade cinnamon rolls. Then our friend stopped by and Drew essentially complained to him I had been working on them for “HOURS.”
LOL yes, the process for making homemade cinnamon rolls can in fact, take hours. Although using a quick-rise yeast helps speed things up a bit.
But luckily (for both me and the boys) I was just wrapping up the photography session and allowed them to dive right in.
Well, let’s just say they didn’t last long. I enjoyed one and then I am fairly certain the boys ate two each. So I suppose if you plan on feeding a crowd, double the batch.
what you need
- milk of choice
- rapid rise yeast
- coconut or brown sugar
- butter, ghee or coconut oil
- whole wheat pastry flour
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
- vanilla, almond or maple extract
So the process for making homemade cinnamon rolls isn’t anything to be afraid of. If you enjoy baking or even if you’re just getting into it, you can make these. I share plenty of steps and little notes in the recipe page so you should have a good idea of how it all comes together.
I based these off of my Healthier Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls, but made a few adjustments.
Butter vs. coconut oil. I used butter in Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, but coconut oil in the recipe linked above. Which means if you happen to be dairy-free, you should be okay using coconut oil here too.
Flour. I used a whole wheat pastry flour but if you don’t have that on hand you can use about 1 1/2 cups all-purpose + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat. OR 3ish cups of whole wheat white flour. I didn’t test this with any gluten-free flours.
Frosting. Like the recipe title says, I went for a (really delicious) Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting. But again, if you’re dairy-free you can use a simple powdered sugar glaze: about 1 cup powdered sugar to 1-2 TBS milk (or even orange juice would work here).
But honestly if you’re not dairy-free just go for the cream cheese frosting. I actually added maple extract and Oh EM GEE too good. It’s definitely a must.
Christmas morning never tasted so good.
for the dough:
- 1 cup milk of choice (I used cashew)
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) rapid rise yeast
- 2 TBS coconut or brown sugar
- 2 TBS butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
for the filling:
- 1/4 cup coconut or brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, softened
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
for the frosting:
- 4oz cream cheese, softened (regular or lite)
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt (plain 2% of vanilla recommended)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla, almond or maple extract
See notes below about preparing for overnight
- In a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, heat milk for about 20-30 seconds. Allow temperature of mixture to reach 110F (or lukewarm). If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.
- Add yeast and sugar into large mixing bowl of stand mixer and gently add milk. Stir until combined and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until top is foamy.
- Add melted butter, egg and molasses stirring gently or using paddle attachment on low speed until combined.
- Start to add flour and salt, about ½ cup at a time. You will likely need about 3 1/4 cups. Dough should be elastic and start to pull away from edge of bowl when it is ready. At this time, change the attachment to the dough hook, and allow the hook to need the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Dough should remain soft but not overly sticky – you may need to add another ¼ cup flour here.
- Oil large bowl and shape dough into ball, place dough in bowl and cover with towel and let rise in warm environment until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes. TIP: set oven to warm or preheated to 200F then turn off. Place bowl in the warmed oven and allow to rise.
- Grease a 9″ pie dish or square baking pan with butter or coconut oil, set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, lightly cover rolling pin and flat surface with flour. Roll out dough into a 15×9 inch rectangle. Be patient, and roll gently. If you’re new to this it could take some practice! Don’t use too much flour or your dough will be stiff.
- Using spatula, spread softened butter on dough, sprinkle on sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Roll up dough into a log shape then place the dough seam side down. Use a large sharp knife and gently cut into 9 rolls, or use floss to lift up from under the dough. Transfer rolls to prepared dish and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free environment. Again, you can use the warm oven tip above.
- Once the rolls have risen again slightly, preheat oven to 350F (take rolls out and wait for oven to get up to 350F). Bake cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Then, if necessary, cover top of rolls with foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Covering the rolls for the last 5-10 minutes will prevent them from getting too brown on the top.
- Make the cream cheese frosting: In medium bowl using electric hand mixer (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) beat softened cream cheese until light and fluffy then add yogurt. Add in extract and powdered sugar; mix on low speed until combined. Spread on slightly cooled gingerbread cinnamon rolls. Best served immediately while warm. Enjoy!
Butter vs. coconut oil. I used butter in Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, but coconut oil was used in this recipe. Which means if you happen to be dairy-free, you should be okay using coconut oil here too. Flour. I used a whole wheat pastry flour but if you don’t have that on hand you can use about 1 1/2 cups all-purpose + 1 1/2 cups whole wheat. OR 3ish cups of whole wheat white flour. I didn’t test this with any gluten-free flours. Frosting. Like the recipe title says, I went for a (really delicious) Greek yogurt cream cheese frosting. But again, if you’re dairy-free you can use a simple powered sugar glaze: about 1 cup powdered sugar to 1-2 TBS milk (or even orange juice would work here TO MAKE OVERNIGHT: Follow recipe directions preparing dough through “Step 8” – so you’ll roll out the dough into the rectangle, slice and place in prepared baking pan. At this point cover tightly with wrap and place in fridge overnight. Remove the pan from the fridge in the morning about an hour before baking, to allow the rolls to rise at room temperature. Or if your house is extra cold, let them rise in a 200ºF preheated oven then turn the oven off. Once the rolls have puffed up and risen again, place rolls in preheated 350ºF oven to bake for 20-25 minutes (remove rolls from oven while preheating to 350ºF).
- Serving Size: 1/9th
- Calories: 361
- Sugar: 28g
- Sodium: 196mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 54g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 7g
- Cholesterol: 57mg
SOME OF THE PRODUCTS I USED IN TODAY’S RECIPE
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