A Swedish cinnamon bun so good that it doesn’t even need frosting (I’m looking at you, American cinnamon rolls).
The cinnamon bun is to Sweden what the apple pie is to America. You smell it walking down the clean sidewalks in the morning, the cinnamon welcoming you in like a lit doorway in the dark. (For those of you who don’t know, in the winter Sweden sometimes only gets six hours of daylight). Soft and filled with spices, Swedish cinnamon buns, Kanelbullar, are a great addition to the daily fika.
What makes this cinnamon bun different from our American counterpart? The first difference is the addition of cardamom. Cardamom, a spice originally found in India, can be described as warm and aromatic; a similar flavor profile to cinnamon yet with a sharper bite.
Another difference is the shape of the cinnamon bun. In America, most rolls are baked pushed together in a pan, creating a crisp top, but a soft and bread-like middle and exterior along the sides where they were up against other buns. Swedish cinnamon buns are baked individually, creating a flatter bun with crisp edges on all sides.
The final, and biggest difference, is the Swedish cinnamon bun lacks an icing. Instead pearl sugar is used, which adds a slight crunch and pop of sweetness. Find out all about this fun crunchy topping over here.
- 2 cups milk, warmed
- 2 envelopes yeast
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cardamom
- ½ tsp. salt
- ⅔ cup softened butter
FILLING AND TOPPING:
- ¾ cup softened butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- ½ cup pearl sugar
- In small bowl combine warm milk and yeast. Stir until the yeast is dissolved and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
- In separate bowl combine dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cardamom and salt. Add in milk and yeast mixture. Using your fingers, add little knobs of butter. Using a dough hook or your hands, form the dough and knead until the dough holds its shape, around 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a moist towel and let rise until doubled in size, around 45 minutes.
- Once the dough has risen, divide it in half and roll each portion of the dough into a large rectangle.
- For the filling, combine butter, sugar and cinnamon. Spread on both rectangles of dough evenly.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Roll up each rectangle from the smallest end and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices. Place buns on baking sheet and cover with a towel, proof until doubled in size, around 20 minutes.
- Whisk the egg until frothy. Brush on buns and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.