January 7, 2017

Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

Have you heard of hygge?  When the weather turns chilly hygge is all the rage.  But what exactly is it?  In a nutshell, hygge is the art of being "cozy"...think candles, cashmere and warm fireplaces.  On a cold, dreary and grey day I have to say there's nothing better.  The Bay Area was bracing for a major storm this weekend (it's ok, we need the water!) and nothing sounded better to me than staying at home and baking.

I love a good cinnamon bun and the Swedish version, Kanelbullar, has been on my to do list for a while.  They evoke not only hygge, but also fika, the Swedish slang for coffee breaks.  To be perfectly frank I was really drawn to them after seeing this gorgeous photo on Edd Kimber's (aka The Boy Who Bakes) Instagram feed.  There was something about the twisted treats topped with pearl sugar that looked so appealing...I had to make them!

I found the recipe for the kanelbullar on SwedishFood.com.  The dough is similar to any other cinnamon bun recipe except it has the addition of cardamom, a very popular spice used in Scandinavian baking.  The other distinction is how the buns are shaped.  Rather than being rolled up in a log and cut the dough is stretched, twisted and shaped in to a striped round.  I found a great video here on YouTube that shows you how to do this. 

These kanelbullar are so good!  Straight from the oven I devoured two of them as they were the perfect accompaniment to a hot cappuccino.  Storm, schworm...I say bring it on!  I'll be inside gettin' hygge with it.

Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

1 (250 ml) cup whole milk
3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg
4 cups (500 grams) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet (1/4 ounce or 7 grams) instant yeast

3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (60 grams) unsalted butter, soft

1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar

Place the milk and butter into a saucepan over medium/low heat and cook until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly and, once lukewarm, mix in the egg.

Place the flour, cardamom, sugar and salt into large bowl and mix together.  Add the instant yeast and mix thoroughly.  Add the liquid mixture and mix to form a rough dough. Tip out onto the work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with cling film. Place somewhere warm and allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.  

Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, flatten into a rough rectangle and then roll out until approximately 25 cm x 35 cm (10" x 14").  For the filling mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and butter together to form a smooth paste. Using a spatula or spoon spread the filling evenly across the dough.

Roll the dough along the long edge into a sausage. Using a serrated knife or dental floss cut into twelve rounds. Place onto the prepared baking trays and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise until almost doubled, about 45-60 minutes.

ALTERNATE WAY TO SHAPE: watch this YouTube video

Whilst proving, preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F, gas 4, fan 160°C). When ready to bake brush the buns with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar, then bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Best served still warm.


  1. Gorgeous! These are also on my "to-bake" list--I'll have to give them a try!

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