A few years ago, we had friends from Finland staying with us over the Easter holiday. They have four kids, so that made 9 kids in one small house for six whole days! You can imagine how much fun was had!!

On Easter morning, I woke early with the realisation I had forgotten to make the dough for my mom’s famous butterhorns, an Easter tradition from my childhood. The dough for the butterhorns needs to be made the night before, allowed to rise overnight, so it was too late to make them on Easter morning. Thankfully, we happened to have Finnish friends in the house, who come from the land of the cinnamon roll. (Technically, Finland is not part of Scandinavia, but who’s counting, right?) Their trusty cinnamon roll recipe requires only about an hour of rising time, so Easter was essentially saved by the Finns this year. AND THE CINNAMON ROLLS DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!! OMG!!! The outside is crispy, the sugar is caramelised, and I love the addition of raisins — they keep the insides extra moist. I asked our friends to translate their recipe into English for us so it could become a new family go-to. Below is the recipe!

Scandinavian Cinnamon Rolls (makes about 24 rolls):

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 5 dl (approx 2 cups) milk
  • 2 dl (approx 3/4 cup) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 22g dry yeast
  • 6.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams of butter

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • Cinnamon
  • 200 grams butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • Raisins, evenly dispersed on the dough


To make the dough, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to dry ingredients. Mix all together. Knead in the butter. Knead the dough until it feels springy and doughy. Let the dough rise for roughly 40 mins.

Flour a large surface and roll out the dough until it’s thin, making a large rectangular shape. Spread the butter around — it can be chunky here and there. Sprinkle loads of sugar and cinnamon and raisins (make sure there is a lot of filling, enough for the sugars and butter to caramelise and ooze out of the cinnamon rolls in the oven). Starting at the end of the dough, roll into a long log roll. Cut diagonally into triangle shapes. Stand triangle shapes onto their wide end and press well down on the tip to create the correct shape. Place on a baking sheet and let rise for 30 mins before baking. Heat oven to 225 C.

Whisk one egg and baste cinnamon rolls with egg mixture. Bake for approx 15 mins. Once out of the oven, with a brush spread oozed out caramel onto cinnamon rolls. Let the cinnamon rolls cool down and sprinkle with icing sugar before eating. Enjoy!

For more family-friendly recipes and food ideas, you can check out my eBook or the Nurture e-course. Both of these include some of our favourite recipes!