Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cinnamon Ears

Finnish Cinnamon Rolls

DSC_4278In Japan, I was introduced to “mimi pan” (the ears of the bread). They cut the heels (now that I think of it, ears makes more sense than heels) of the loaf off before selling it and, at least at the time I was a missionary there, in many cases they threw it away. So as money-strapped missionaries we could get a whole bag of it either for free or for very little dough. When I read about these “little ear buns” on Rosa’s site I decided I had to give them a try.

Bread has always been a comfort food for me. When I was growing up my mom always made bread. I remember the smell of fresh-baked bread and spreading fresh-churned butter and home-made jam on it. Then washing it down with a tall glass of milk. And dough boys where you cut a nice willow branch, stripped the bark up 8 or so inches then wrapped bread dough around the stick and cooked them over the coals of a fire. My mom always made whole-wheat dough for these and hers were always the most popular in the neighborhood. Once they were done you’d pop them off the stick and fill the hole left in the middle with butter and chokecherry jam. Hmmm. I’ll be right back, I think one of the last of these ears is calling my name…

Ingredients and Recipe for 8 ears (Print recipe here)


1 Package (7g) Active dry yeast
1/2 Cup (120ml) Lukewarm water
1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted
1/4 Cup (50g) Bakers sugar
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Egg yolk
1/2 Tsp Fine sea salt
3/4 Tsp ground cardamom
2 1/4 -2 1/2 Cups (~ 300g) All-purpose flour


1/4 Cup (60g) Unsalted butter, softened
1/4 Cup (50g) Bakers sugar
1 Tbs Ground cinnamon


1 Egg, slightly beaten
1 Tbs Milk

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the butter, sugar, egg, yolk, salt, cardamom and flour, then knead until dough is smooth.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 12 inches by 24 inches rectangle.
5. Spread with the butter, then sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
6. Roll up tightly, starting from one of the 24-inch sides.
7. Cut the roll diagonally into 8-12 pieces (each piece will be about ½ inch on one side and 3 inches wide on the other side).
8. With two thumbs or the handle of a big wooden spoon, press down the middle of the side of each roll (by doing that the two cut edges will be forced upward so that the rolls will look like two “ears”).
9. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
10. Place the cinnamon ears on prepared baking sheets. Cover them with plastic wrap and a damp towel.
11. Let rise for about 40 minutes, until the rolls are puffy and have doubled in size.
12. Preheat the oven to 400° F after 20 minutes of rising.

13. Once the rolls have risen, mix the egg and milk together.
14. Brush each roll with the egg-milk mixture.
15. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

These turned out to be delicious. The hint of cardamom gave it a different taste and I really liked it. Next time I will roll them more tightly as mine flattened out more and did not turn out nearly as nice looking as Rosa’s. Be sure to check out her blog if you want to see what they should look like.

I am looking forward to having Nipponnin back home and really want to see what great things she has planned for her next blog. Thanks for reading. 


  1. These were delicious! Thank you for sharing them.....they were enjoyed!

    1. Thank you Danae. You're so sweet. And we're blessed have wonderful neighbor.

  2. Well done! They look wonderful.

    Thanks for the mention and kind words.



    1. Thank you Rosa. Indeed he did a great job. I love this recipe and he has to make it again, again, again.

  3. こんばんは。美味しそうですね。なるほど、お母様がお料理好きですか。 私の妻の母は全く料理が苦手でして、その遺伝子が妻にも伝わっています。

    1. 義母は10年ほど前に亡くなりましたが、、オモシロイお母さんでした。良くドーナッツを大量に作っては、食べさせてくれました。 一緒に住んでいたら、かなり太っていたかもしれません。 ははは、のんびりした性格の奥様のイメージが浮かんできます。 次の旅の写真を楽しみにしています。コメントありがとうございます。

  4. These cinnamon buns look mouthwatering!

    1. Thank you Angie. It's too cold to try your popsicle recipe but I can't wait try it soon.

  5. I think there might be a law here (in Sweden) which states that its treasonous to specify a preference or liking for Finnish cinnamon buns, so I'll keep my newly-adopted country happy by saying that these look very good...
    but Swedish ones reign all supreme! :D. Of course, if you turned these on the other side then this near diplomatic incident could have been avoided! :D

    1. Ha ha ha ha ha! You're so funny! Thank you for your comment. I will make sure my husband makes Swedish cinnamon rolls next time.

  6. These buns look really like professional-made by an experienced baker. I bet the smell was amazing.