Twisted Nut Rolls


Today is the day my Baking Challenge get its start. I’ve chosen this month’s cookbook to be Grandma Rose’s Book of Sinfully Delicious Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Cheesecakes, Cake rolls and Pastries by Rose Naftalin. I purchased this cookbook in 1978, when I lived on Portland, Oregon. After living in Portland for just a few months, I was introduced to Rose’s, a bakery and deli that was located in the Nob Hill neighborhood, on

IMG_4267NW 23rd Street. Rose Naftalin was an east coast transplant in the Northwest. She was a self-taught baker, and produced some of the most memorable cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls and cakes. Here pastries and cakes were COLOSSAL, as conveyed by most of the recipes in this cookbook. I was entertaining her Basic Sweet Dough, which asks for for 14 cups of flour, 12 eggs, 4 oz. of yeast (about 16 packages) and a pound of butter. I was left wondering if I even owned a mixing bowl that could hold the enormity of these ingredients, never mind considering when dough proofed and doubled in bulk.

After paging through the cookbook’s pastry section, I settled on Twisted Nut Rolls, which is a yeast-based sweet dough recipe. The yield seemed reasonable and I was able to half the recipe to make sure the ingredients fit in my Kitchen-Aid Mixer.

As I dove into the recipe, I found the direction to be scant, and found myself constantly questioning, “Is this what she means?”…and “Will the outcome be affected if I did this or that?” I guess I inferred correctly, as the rolls materialized quite well.

I would make a few revisions if I were to rerepeat the recipe. The nut filling spilled out when I twisted the dough strips. I would add a thin layer of orange marmalade (or apricot jam) on the dough, so the filling would stick to the dough.  I would also lower the oven temperature at the baking time and bake for an additional 10 minutes so that the glaze would and filling will cook a little more, without overly browning or drying out the pastries.

In the end, Rose Naftltin’s Nut Rolls are delicious. Not too sweet, and the dough is absolutely perfect, which I’m finding it hard to describe…not to dense, or airy, not too wet (undercooked) or dry, with a sweet flavor, and hint of orange. I will definitely make this dough again, as it has many possibilities. I will likely fill the rolls with a more decadent and defined mixture.

You can read more about Roses’s Deli here. Although this location appears to be the only remaining restaurant, nothing will ever compare to the authenticity of the original location on NW 23rd Street, when Rose, herself, was baking and operated this bakery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this baking challenge and wish I could share the final product with all of you! #yeastdough

xo ~debbie

Rose’s Nut Rolls

Ingredients and Directions for Nut Filling

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds or pecans
  1. Cream the butter.
  2. Blend in sugar thoroughly and add nuts.

NOTE: I doubled the sugar and butter, finding that there wasn’t enough filling to spread on the dough;

Ingredients and Directions for the Dough

  • 2 packages of dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup milk scalded (about 180 degrees F)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • 2 unbeaten eggs (at room temperature)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  1. Soften (dissolve) the yeast in the water in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate large bowl, combine butter and hot milk (I used the bowl of my Kitchen Aid Mixer)
  3. Stir until butter melts; cool to room temperature (If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast)
  4. Add sugar, salt, orange rind, eggs and yeast mixture into the bowl with the milk and butter mixture
  5. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Mix thoroughly and cover
  6. Let stand for 30 minutes
  7. Roll the dough out onto a floured board, into a 22” x 12” rectangle
  8. Spread the filling on half the dough along the 22-inch side
  9. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling
  10. Cut into 1-inch strips, crosswise and twist each strip 4-5 times, (you can do this on the baking sheet.)
  11. Then, hold one end of the strip down on the baking sheet, for the center of the roll, and curl the strip around the center, tucking the other end under. (This is confusing…I know! Just keep trying until you like your result)
  12. Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise until light and doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour

Bake in a 375° oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown

NOTE: I have made this recipe 2 times, and the mixture always oozes out of the nut roll while baking. I am working on solving this problem. Also,  I used 2 baking sheets (cookie pans) silicon/silpat baking liners


  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine the orange juice and the sugar and until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Brush the glaze on top of the rolls and bake five minutes longer, or until deep golden brown.
  3. Remove from baking sheet immediately.

NOTE: I feel the glaze is too thin and more of a ‘wash’ than a glaze; I added apricot jam to the glaze mix. Or you can add orange marmalade, until it’s of a thicker consistency

8 thoughts on “Twisted Nut Rolls”

  1. Lovely rolls. Perhaps spreading the dough with softened butter – and then sprinkling the filling over the butter would help to adhere it better.


  2. Debbie, Ruthie’s a friend of mine and she shared your blog.
    I grew up frequenting Rose’s in the original location on 23rd street. The huge matzo balls, the thick corned beef sandwiches and her giant cinnamon rolls were favorites!
    My mother taught Rose”s grandchildren @ Bridlemile Elem in Portland.
    I used to demonstrate how to make a cake using her French 6 layer Silk cake in my Home Ec classes! 1000 calories a slice.
    Do you have her 2nd cookbook? I look forward to other blog posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks SO much for posting this! I have been a fan of Rose’s baking for decades. I got a copy of her cookbook when I was just 17 yrs old. I am now 60. I decided today to make her Twisted Nut Rolls. I am getting up early in the morning to have them done by 8. I was contemplating the directions, specifically for twisting and shaping. So, I googled, and there you were! Your photo helped SO much.

    Liked by 1 person

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