Elva and Lynz’s rolls

I have written several times about my mother’s Swedish mom, Elva. She was born on the 11th day and the 11th month in 1911, and was the eleventh child, thus the name Elva-11 in Swedish! She was a feisty lady who loved to cook and bake! I felt she was like a movie star and people came to visit her always raving about her sweet treats! She made cakes, pies, caramels and Swedish breads as well! But mostly I remember her Swedish cinnamon rolls and her maple bars.

When I was married and started doing allot of baking, I decided to try her famous cinnamon rolls. I used her recipe and followed the instructions carefully, taking them out of the oven when they were lovely and golden brown. The brown sugar and cinnamon aroma brought me back to Elva’s Swedish kitchen. I let them set for just a few moments to cool and then turned them over and onto a tray. I lifted the pan anticipating the gorgeous caramelized rolls I had seen as a child, but much to my dismay, they were stuck in the pan! The delicious trade mark sauce, was acting as a super brown sugar glue!!! I could do nothing to pry them out!! After that experience I learned to invert the pan immediately!

I made them in a ring pan with pecans on the bottom, raisins inside, minis, huge large rolls, anything and everything! Long after Elva passed away and I lived in Saudi, I decided to change her recipe and I made my own version of this dough. I felt that my dough was not as light and fluffy as I wanted, so I dared to make a change! I still want to call it Elva’s recipe because she inspired me to bake and it is based off of her recipe. It is a combination of Elva’s recipe and my own. This post is dedicated to that special woman I called Ma!

This dough, like many of my recipes, is dough that is used for dinner rolls, bread sticks, cream cheese rolls, pesto rolls, you get the picture, this is my versatile, go to recipe.


2 Tbs. shortening

1/4  white sugar

1 egg

1 cup water and 1 cup milk in a sauce pan on the stove, heated and cooled

7-8 cups flour (approximately)

Ingredients for dissolving yeast

1 cup warm water 

2 envelopes of yeast

dash of sugar


Filling and topping

2 cups brown sugar–approximately

1 cup softened butter

ground cinnamon


Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water, sprinkle with a dash of white sugar and let it set for a couple of minutes until ready.

Place 1 cup of water and 1 cup of milk in a sauce pan on the stove. Heat this up on medium until very warm and then turn off heat. Let this cool so that it is warm.

Mix shortening, sugar and egg. I use a spoon to mix this because it is such a small amount. Add 2 cups of flour and water-yeast mixture, start mixing with dough hook. Add 2 more cups of flour and start adding some of the water-milk mixture. I alternate adding flour and the milk mixture until both ingredients are gone. Knead the dough with the dough hook or by hand. I like this dough to be sticky (but should be firm enough to work with) this ensures a light roll! So, add just enough flour to make dough workable but still a bit sticky. After kneading is complete, cover dough and let it raise, doubling.


Prepare pans- 

When dough has doubled and is ready to roll, prepare your pans

Soften butter so that it is not totally melted but soft enough to work with. Use a pan that is heavy duty and not prone to burning, spread butter on the bottom and sides of pan. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar.

Divide roll  dough into 4 equal parts, take one piece and roll it on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough until an even, round shape has formed. Spread several spoons of softened butter on the dough evenly, sprinkle with brown sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll the dough up tightly. Carefully cut one inch slices of the roll. Place pieces on top of brown sugar in prepared pan.  Leave a space in between each roll. Cover and let double.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Place rolls in oven and let them bake for 30 minutes or until done. I place them on the bottom rack first to get them brown and then move to the top rack half way through.  Remove from oven when the top of rolls are brown and invert onto a tray, plate or dish that will hold the rolls and is larger than the pan rolls are baked in (sauce will drip out so dish should be larger than roll pan). Be careful because brown sugar and butter mixture is hot and will drip out. Let rolls cool until warm and serve.


126 thoughts on “Elva and Lynz’s rolls

  1. Well these look beyond delicious! And also beyond delicious is your granny and her adorable ways. I love the name. So appropriate. I know a little boy in France also born on the 11th of the 11th but a century later in 2011. His name is similar to Elva but not quite – I must ask his parents if there is a connection to the number. His mother is very well read so I guess it might be!


  2. What a treasure Lynn! The cinnamon rolls look delicious and so wonderfully sticky 😀 I love the story of how your grandmother got her name. Happy Mother’s Day!


  3. Those look divine!!! Ted used to make cinnamon rolls, using his Swedish grandmother’s recipe too! I can remember waking up in the middle of the night, during finals week, as well as other stressful times, to the delicious aroma of those rolls. Happy memories!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These look simply fabulous – and I’m so impressed by all the fabulous things you make!! I really enjoyed reading about your “Ma” – it sounds like she was one hell of a woman, just like you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 11:11
    Love this story about your grandmother, Elva’s almost mystical birth.

    This recipe brought me back to my own birthplace and a recipe they are known for: “Philadelphia Sticky Buns”. Looking forward to trying your recipe for Elva’s Cinnamon Rolls and in return sending you mine:

    Philadelphia-Style Sticky Buns

    (makes 8 buns)


    2/3 cup whole milk
    5 tablespoons sugar, divided
    1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
    2 large eggs, room temperature
    2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted

    1 3/4 cups pecans, chopped
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1/3 cup cane sugar syrup (light corn syrup if you can’t find cane syrup)
    1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
    All-purpose flour (for dusting)
    1 large egg


    Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 TBSP sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
    Add eggs; whisk until smooth. Combine remaining 4 TBSP of sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

    Grease bowl with a little of the melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.
    (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.)

    Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).
    Chill dough for 2 hours.

    Toast pecans in a 350F degree oven, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 1/4 cups nuts aside for bun tops.
    Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden and glossy, 3–4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into a 9×13 baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.
    Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and Kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Set filling aside.
    Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour. Roll dough into a large rectangle, spread buns with filling and 3/4 cup pecans. Starting from one of the the long sides, roll up dough, jellyroll style and then cut the roll into eight equal buns and place in 9x 13 baking pan with pecans and syrup, cut side down.

    Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.
    Serve whole buns warm or at room temperature.

    OR, slice in half, horizontally, and grill, cut side down in a pat of butter, Philadelphia Style.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynn, what a lovely story. I love the ‘old’ recipes, brings back beautiful memories.
    Oh yum ! I love homemade cinnamon rolls. The thought of the cinnamon aroma….makes me smile. 🙂 Me and yeast do not really have a special bond, but I definitely will be making these !!! I battle to get fresh yeast, so end up buying the instant dry yeast, but I always have problems 😦

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.