The highest spiritual path is life itself.
Michael Singer -The Untethered Soul
In winter when temperatures drop to bone chilling degrees, warmth can often be found in the kitchen. During the cold months, I find myself gravitating towards the warming the spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, curry, white pepper and cardamom, which generally get pushed to back of the cupboard during the summer months.
But it is cardamom that holds my heart, keeping it warm on the coldest of days, not only for its flavor, but through the memories it brings. It is one of the first spices I remember tasting as a child. Growing up with a Finnish mother and an Egyptian father, the holidays were filled with recipes from their homelands. Each Christmas, my mother would make a Finnish bread, called Pulla, a subtly sweet braided loaf, speckled with fresh ground cardamom seeds, soft and buttery and topped with course sugar. Sometimes she would add raisins and sliced almonds. When it came out of the oven, the whole house smelled happy -its aroma whispering of exotic faraway places. On Christmas morning, my Egyptian father would crush a few cardamon pods and add it to their brewing coffee, a wistful nod to his past. Cardamom, like the broken English they both spoke, became their common ground in the kitchen.
This recipe for Finnish Cardamom Rolls is similar to my mother's Finnish Pulla recipe, but instead of making a big braided loaf, the dough is rolled and cut into smaller rolls, perfect for company and easily stored away in the freezer. For the traditional braided loaf recipe, and more on my mother and her homeland, Finland, visit this post, Pulla for Lea.