Pull-Apart Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

These pull-apart gingerbread cinnamon rolls were born "for fans of cinnamon rolls and gingerbread," says recipe developer Kara Barrett. "I find that traditional cinnamon rolls are too sweet for my taste," Barrett says about her inspiration for this bake, which she instead describes as "buttery, with notes of ginger and cinnamon, and not overly sweet."

This pull-apart loaf comes together with a yeasted dough, which is technically possible to knead by hand if you're willing to put some elbow grease. However, Barrett highly recommends using a stand mixer. "Be patient as you are making the dough," she advises. "It takes time to come together and add the butter, but the payoff is worth it." Conveniently, she points out that you can essentially "cut the work in two" by prepping the dough at night, letting it rest while you sleep, and then shaping and baking the rolls in the morning. In the end, "you may find this recipe easier than traditional cinnamon rolls" since you're creating a loaf rather than perfect spirals, Barrett says. "A fluffy and tasty treat for a cold winter day," these pillowy pull-apart rolls are the ideal accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee.

Gather the ingredients for pull-apart gingerbread cinnamon rolls

The dough for these rolls is made with milk, flour, instant yeast, olive oil, vanilla, salt, and butter. It's flavored with brown sugar, powdered ginger, and cinnamon, which are the same seasonings used in the filling. If you'd like to add a sweet topping, Barrett recommends a dusting of powdered sugar.

Step 1: Heat some milk in a saucepan

Prepare a tangzhong: Add milk to a saucepan a place on the stovetop over medium heat.

Step 2: Stir some flour into the warm milk

When milk starts to steam, add 60 grams flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture resembles a paste similar to mashed potatoes. This will happen quickly.

Step 3: Add all the dough ingredients (except the butter) to the bowl of a stand mixer

Add tangzhong to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the remaining 300 grams flour, yeast, olive oil, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ginger powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar.

Step 4: Beat the ingredients until they form a dough

With the dough hook attached, mix on the stir setting until combined. Next, increase the speed to the second setting and continue mixing for 10 minutes, until the dough is cohesive and clears the sides of the mixer. If needed, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl.

Step 5: Gradually mix in the butter

With the mixture still running, add 4 tablespoons butter, 1 pat at a time, to the dough until emulsified. This will take about 5-7 minutes.

Step 6: Beat the dough until it's elastic

Once the butter is incorporated, continue mixing for an additional 10-15 minutes until the dough wraps around the hook and is firm and elastic.

Step 7: Rest the dough, then chill it

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature. Next, refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

Step 8: Turn on the oven

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Step 9: Prepare a baking pan

Using 1 tablespoon butter, grease a loaf pan, line it with parchment, and grease the paper.

Step 10: Mix up the ginger-cinnamon filling

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and ½ cup brown sugar. Set filling aside.

Step 11: Shape the dough into a square

Add dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it into a square.

Step 12: Roll it into a rectangle

Roll dough into a long rectangle, approximately 8x17 inches.

Step 13: Cut out some squares

Cut into 8 even squares.

Step 14: Divide filling among the squares

Spread a dollop of filling onto each square, leaving the edges clean.

Step 15: Stack the squares to form a loaf

Stack the squares, rotate the pile horizontally, and add it to prepared loaf pan.

Step 16: Bake

Bake for 35 minutes until cooked throughout.

Step 17: Cool, garnish, and enjoy

Let cool and garnish with sifted powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.

Can I make these pull-apart gingerbread cinnamon rolls without a kitchen scale to measure the flour?

In this recipe, Barrett gives the measurements for the flour in grams instead of cups or tablespoons. As she explains, "I would recommend using a scale to foolproof the process." If you don't have a kitchen scale, no worries: Barrett says you'll use a total of 3 cups of flour in the recipe. The 60 grams you'll need in the first step comes out to around ½ cup, and the rest will go in the dough.

Whether or not you use a scale, Barrett says there's no need to sift the flour. What you should do before measuring, however, is fluff the flour by stirring it to incorporate some air. Once the flour's been fluffed, spoon it into a measuring cup instead of using the cup as a scoop. These steps avoid packing the flour, which would give you hard, rather than light and fluffy, rolls.

How should I store these pull-apart gingerbread cinnamon rolls?

When pulled apart, this gingerbread cinnamon loaf yields 8 generously sized rolls, so you may not be able to finish every last one when it's still warm and fresh from the oven. In that instance, you have a choice of how to store them. If you opt for room temperature, Barrett says they'll last for about 4 days in an airtight container, while if you refrigerate them, you can enjoy leftovers for up to a week as long as you've wrapped them well. If you'd like to freeze the rolls, do so after they've been baked, since Barrett doesn't recommend storing the dough in the freezer.

Leftover cinnamon rolls will taste great at room temperature or even with a slight chill from the refrigerator. If you prefer your cinnamon rolls to be warm, though, Barrett recommends that you "gently rewarm them in the oven or in the microwave."

Pull-Apart Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
Your stand mixer will do most of the work for these sweet, pillowy cinnamon rolls, which are stacked and baked in a loaf pan for extra ease.
Prep Time
3
hours
Cook Time
40
minutes
Servings
8
servings
cinnamon loaf with powdered sugar
Total time: 3 hours, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • ‌1 cup whole milk
  • 360 grams all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ginger powder, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, divided
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Prepare a tangzhong: Add milk to a saucepan a place on the stovetop over medium heat.
  2. When milk starts to steam, add 60 grams flour and whisk vigorously until the mixture resembles a paste similar to mashed potatoes. This will happen quickly.
  3. Add tangzhong to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the remaining 300 grams flour, yeast, olive oil, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ginger powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar.
  4. With the dough hook attached, mix on the stir setting until combined.
  5. Increase the speed to the second setting and continue mixing for 10 minutes, until the dough is cohesive and clears the sides of the mixer. If needed, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl.
  6. With the mixture still running, add 4 tablespoons butter, 1 pat at a time, to the dough until emulsified. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
  7. Once the butter is incorporated, continue mixing for an additional 10-15 minutes until the dough wraps around the hook and is firm and elastic.
  8. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature. Next, refrigerate for 2-24 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  10. Using 1 tablespoon butter, grease a loaf pan, line it with parchment, and grease the paper.
  11. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 tablespoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and ½ cup brown sugar. Set filling aside.
  12. Add dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it into a square.
  13. Roll dough into a long rectangle, approximately 8x17 inches.
  14. Cut into 8 even squares.
  15. Spread a dollop of filling onto each square, leaving the edges clean.
  16. Stack the squares, rotate the pile horizontally, and add it to prepared loaf pan.
  17. Bake for 35 minutes until cooked throughout.
  18. Let cool and garnish with sifted powdered sugar, if desired, before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 373
Total Fat 14.8 g
Saturated Fat 8.1 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 33.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 51.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Total Sugars 14.5 g
Sodium 262.5 mg
Protein 6.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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