• Sarah Cohan

Holiday Spice Rolls

As someone who didn’t grow up celebrating Christmas, I’ve always heard of people’s tradition of having Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning. It sounds so lovely, doesn’t it? Warm sweets to go along with your presents…and maybe some mimosas or a little splash of whatever in your coffee… As an adult creating my own family traditions, this seems like one to try for sure.

But, of course, I can’t let well enough alone, so I had to challenge myself and add a little extra holiday to the mix - by way of some eggnog and spices that really make these a holiday-time treat. They are a two-day process, but what better to do on Christmas Eve than make cinnamon roll dough? They’ll also definitely take a bit of time the next morning what with the rolling and the rising and the baking and the cooling (if you can stand to let them cool), but boy will they make your house smell fantastic.

Happy Baking!

MAKES 12 Rolls

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker


  • 624 grams Bread Flour (4.5 cups)

  • 100 grams sugar (1/2 cup)

  • 1 Tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons whole milk

  • 2.25 sticks butter, room temperature

  • 2.25 sticks butter

  • 225 grams light brown sugar (1 cup + 2TB)

  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon ginger

  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom

  • Eggnog (approximately 1/2-3/4 cups)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (or more, to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (fresh is important!)

  • Stand mixer with dough hook and beater blade

  • 1 each Large, Medium (microwave safe), Small mixing bowls

  • Hand whisk or spatula

  • Oil or shortening

  • Plastic wrap

  • Parchment

  • Cookie sheet

  • 9x13 glass baking dish

  • Offset spatula or spoon

  • Serrated knife

  • Silicone brush


  1. In your stand mixer, combine 624g bread flour, 100g sugar, 1TB instant yeast, and 1TB kosher salt. Mix on medium to combine for about 30 seconds.

  2. Add 4 eggs and 1 cup + 2TB whole milk, and mix on low until the dough starts to ball up around the hook, about 4 minutes.

  3. Turn the speed up to medium and mix about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. You can use medium-high or go for an extra minute or two as needed.

  4. One tablespoon at a time with the speed on medium, add 2.25 sticks of butter.

  5. Transfer your dough to an oiled/greased large mixing bowl, cover taut with plastic wrap, and set aside in a room temp or warm place to rise for 1.5 hours.

  6. Transfer your dough to a parchment lined cookie sheet, press or pat it into an 8x11” rectangle, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.

  7. If you want to make the filling the day before as well, melt 2.25 sticks of butter in a medium microwave safe mixing bowl, add 1c + 2TB light brown sugar and 1TB each of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for use the next day. (If you’re going to make the filling the day-of, only soften the butter instead of melting it, and mix with a spatula instead of a whisk.)

  8. Grease the bottom and sides of your 9x13 dish.

  9. Roll your dough into a 12”x20” rectangle, with one of the long edges facing you, and spread the filling evenly across the dough all the way to the edges with the offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

  10. Roll up the dough starting from the edge closest to you, and then cut evenly into 12 pieces. Space the pieces evenly in the 9x13 dish, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place.

  11. Heat your oven to 375F.

  12. When the rolls are ready to go in, brush them lightly with eggnog, and then bake them for 25-30 minutes until browned. Let cool to the touch before frosting.

  13. To make the frosting, beat in your stand mixer 8 ounces of cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix on high to combine. Taste and add more as needed (I think I used about 1 cup).

  14. Add 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg, and then add eggnog a few tablespoons at a time, mixing in between, until it gets to a spreadable texture and tasted like eggnog! If you end up adding too much you can always add a little more powdered sugar and/or cream cheese to thicken it up. But, better to be careful and add a bit at a time, making sure not to make it too thin/liquidy.

  15. Frost your rolls, decorate however (more grated nutmeg, sprinkles, etc.) and EAT UP!

custom desserts

boston, massachusetts

© 2014 by Sarah Cohan