Finnish Cardamom Rolls

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Finnish Cardamom Rolls – these rolls are sweet, flaky and delicate treasures that can be enjoyed at only 153 calories per roll.finnish-cardammom-rolls

A few years ago when I visited my mother in law in Romania, she taught me along with my sister in law how to make our popular walnut bread. I had written the recipe in my little notebook I had taken with me to write all my mother in law’s recipes and have treasured it since, as well as have shared it with you all. Ever since then I have conquered one of what has to be a miracle in the culinary world. I have learned to make that walnut bread myself. I have been scared of making it all my life. But scared no more, I was.

I have to say that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between baking and myself. I have always loved to bake, but this was a major milestone for me. I knew then that baking would be my passion. And so my journey began. And what a journey it’s been. I have tried and experimented with so may different recipes, hundreds of them, and have loved every single one of them.

But after all these hundreds of recipes that I have baked, it never ceases to amaze me when I find a recipe that completely intrigues me and makes me fall in love. And this is what’s happened here with these Finnish cardamom rolls. I have fallen in love with them. These rolls are sweet, flaky and delicate treasures that should be thoroughly enjoyed. Even the hand model who tells me over and over that he has had enough cinnamon rolls, I do go a bit overboard making different kinds, but even he couldn’t stop at eating just one, or two. Even he fell in love with these exquisite cardamom rolls.


This recipe is one that I truly wish that all of you my readers, my peeps, try and make yourself. This recipe is one that you will thank me that I introduced you to. This will become a staple in your homes. You will fall in love yourselves. I see these rolls as the answer to all your problems. Make a cup of coffee, sit down, take a bite and let it sink in. You will close your eyes and will feel a sense of wonderment. You will then know what I’m talking about.

But let’s talk about these rolls for a bit, because after all they are the subject of my affection. I don’t have many Finnish recipes, as a matter of fact this is the only one. But I do know sweet breads, and cardamom bread is a sweet bread very common in Finland. As a matter of fact this sweet cardamom bread is called Pulla, which if you are Romanian I truly apologize, that word means something completely different, which I won’t mention here. But Pulla is a sweet bread that many Finns enjoy plain, but it’s most delicious when baked with butter, cinnamon and sugar. I can relate to this because Romanians also have a lot of sweet breads, like the walnut bread which are very popular, especially around the holidays. Here I chose to make these rolls instead because I just love the look of them.

This is not your regular cinnamon roll. This is way up at the top there. I wouldn’t even ruin these rolls by drenching them in some sort of icing. They are exquisite just the way they are and only 153 calories a roll.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Finnish Cardamom Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 28
Cardamom Rolls
  • 1 cup milk, lukewarm
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg, for egg wash
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling over the rolls, or regular sugar
  1. In a small bowl combine the milk, ½ cup of sugar and the yeast and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves and starts to bubble.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer add the eggs, stick of butter, cardamom, salt and using the paddle attachment, mix everything together. Add the yeast mixture and continue mixing until well combined. Change to the dough hook and add a cup of flour at a time and mix until you add all the flour. If the dough is too sticky add a bit more flour, but continue mixing until the dough separates from the bowl and forms a ball.
  3. In a large bowl add a bit of oil, about a tbsp and place the dough in the bowl, rolling it around so that it gets oil all over, this way it won't get dry. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. You need to let the dough rise for a couple hours until doubled in size. You can also do my trick where I turn the oven on for about 1 to 2 minutes just until it's warm in there, and place the bowl in the oven, close the door, make sure you turned off the oven and in about half an hour the dough would have doubled in size.
  4. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon together for the topping. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Add a bit of flour on your work surface. Punch the dough gently and place it on your work surface. Cut the dough in 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, cover the other rolls so that they don't dry out. Roll each piece about as thin as you can, should be about 12 inches by 18 inches. With a brush or a knife smear some butter onto it. Make sure it's nicely buttered. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar over the entire surface, as much as you want. Roll it into a tight log starting from the narrower side. Line up the dough log in front of you and cut it slightly on the diagonal, alternating up and down, so that the slices are fat 'v' shapes, with the point of the 'v' about 2 cm (3/4 inch) and the base about 5 cm (2 inches). Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  7. Let the rolls sit for about 30 minutes to rise. Brush the rolls with egg wash and then sprinkle with Turbinado sugar or plain sugar. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 roll Calories: 153 Fat: 5.8 g Saturated fat: 3.4 g Carbohydrates: 22.6 g Sugar: 8.5 g Sodium: 89 mg Fiber: 0.8 g Protein: 3.0 g Cholesterol: 31 mg


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  1. says

    Hi Jo,

    Yesterday I took out of the oven the first batch of your Pulla and everyone complimented me on how beautiful and delicious they are.
    I’m used to make the American style Cinnamon Rolls with icing, but with yours we can eat them without feeling guilty.
    Thank you so much for sharing your mother-in-law delicious recipe with us.

    Sao Pulo – Brazil

  2. Alice says

    Hi Jo, I’m a bit confused on the rolling. When you say the narrower side, do you mean the 12 or 18 inches? Your pics look like you roll from the 12 inches side so the roll is 12 inches long before cut?

    • says

      You’re correct, you roll from the 12 inch side, it might end up a bit longer than 12 inches as you role as it might stretch out a bit.

  3. Joan says

    These look a lot like the Armenian Gatah (Katah). Which I love. No recipe so I look forward to trying this recipe! Also looking forward to trying some of your Romanian dishes!

  4. says

    We spent Christmas in the Finnish Lapland a few years ago and our friend’s MIL made these for breakfast on Christmas morning. Her version had a hint of saffron and some very finely chopped pistachios in the filling/topping mix. It was DIVINE, decadent, heady, exotic, moorish … and I half expected the Three Kings to swagger in from the Orient bearing more buns! I’m off to make the dough … as soon as I wipe my chin! Back later with an update.

    • says

      LOL! I love the idea of adding some saffron in the dough and chopping pistachios for the topping. I think next time I’ll try that because I love pistachios, they’re one of my favorite nuts so I’m sure this would be amazing. I have to tell you I made these yesterday and they are almost finished all 28 of them, when my sister saw the pictures she came straight over and took a whole bunch, and she’s about an hour away, but it was worth the drive apparently.

      • says

        Sorry I’m late with the update. I made half the recipe (just to be safe!) and baked only half. The other half put away in the fridge for slow-proofing to make the next day… my version of portion control! I have to say they are DELISH. We finished all in a single sitting. I made the slow-proofed batch yesterday…. they were pillowy soft… and poof… all gone! I infused a few strands of saffron in the warm milk. This one’s a keeper, Jo. I’m going to make you MIL’s walnut bread next. Thanks for sharing.

      • JuneC says

        Thank you. One more question, my cardamom is pretty old, should I use more? I have read that cardamom has a very short shelf life. I don’t want to buy more because I don’t use it much (hence the old almost full jar), and it is so expensive. Do you every buy it in the pod and make it fresh?

        • nina says

          I make a similar Finnish cardamom sweet bread called nissu . it is a braided loaf. I always try to use cardamom seeds or the pods. The flavor is amazing. Its totally worth getting the pods for. I crushed the pod and empty the seeds into a grinder. Discard the pod. In my recipe I use 16 pods for 6 cups flour. One pod is about 1/8th of a tsp of seeds.

  5. Joy says

    Look so good. I will be making them. Where is the nut Bread you were talking about? I looked through your recpies and couldn’t find. I am new to your site, and am so glad I found you. You have really sparked a new interest in cooking. THX

  6. says

    Your pulla is beautiful — but all pulla is, there are so many different ways to shape the dough, so many variations, an extra-rich dough for Christmas, a saffron version, etc.

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