Swedish cinnamon rolls (Kanelbullar)

Swedish cinnamon rolls are lots of work and worth every little bit of it. Cardamom in the dough makes the entire bun aromatic, and since it is made with fresh yeast and milk, and left to rise for over an hour, it is incredibly tender and puffy yet not as heavy and buttery as its Danish cousins. The filling of cinnamon and vanilla gives them an almost gooey centre, and the topping of brittle pearl sugar a contrasting texture. And once you get the hang of it, they aren’t that difficult to make. There is probably nothing in the world that makes your kitchen smell as heavenly as these little cardamom and cinnamon bundles. Promise.

You need:

For the dough

  • 12-14 decilitres of plain flour
  • 50 grams of fresh yeast (you can get a hold of this from your local baker, or if you live in London, buy Swedish stuff at Scandinavian kitchen, in which case you need 1 packet of kronjäst)
  • 150 grams of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 decilitres milk
  • 1 decilitre sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (this can also be bought at Scandinavian kitchen if you don’t have the means to grind it at home)
For the filling and topping
  • 9 tablespoons plain sugar
  • 4 1/5 tablespoons vanilla sugar (yet again a Swedish ingredient, however if you can’t get ahold of it you can subsidise it by adding more plain sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract).
  • 125 gram unsalted butter
  • 1 1/5 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • Pearl sugar (this is the traditional topping on the cinnamon rolls and can be bought at Scandinavian kitchen as “Pärlsocker”. But you could use an alternative topping)

+ 24 large paper muffin tins

And this is how you make them:

Melt the butter and add the milk on the stove until it is about 37 degrees (this should feel like your finger’s temperature, just a tiny bit warmer. You don’t have to get the temperature absolutely precise, but it is important that it is warm in order to activate the yeast). Break down the yeast into small pieces in a bowl, and add some of the butter-milk mix to dissolve it.

Add the rest of the butter-milk mixture and start adding the flour bit by bit until you have a dough (my friend Natalie who is a trainee chef in Sweden says to under-do the flour a little bit and then add in more as you knead rather than accidentally add too much from the start). It’s a good idea to mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, salt, cardamom, sugar, and, if you’re using dry yeast, that too) and then add it all in gradually. Knead it until it is firm but still light, and then let it rest in its bowl under a kitchen towel for 40 minutes.

In the meantime, make your filling by mixing vanilla sugar, ordinary sugar, cinnamon and butter. Take the dough out of the bowl when it’s done resting and knead it for a little while longer on a floured surface. Cut the dough in two parts. Use a rolling pin (or an empty, well-cleaned wine-bottle if you like me don’t have a rolling pin) to make the first half of the dough into a large square, about 25×40 centimetres (you then do exactly the same with the other bit of dough). Spread the filling evenly across the square, and then roll it up.
Cut into into twelve bits. The easiest way of doing this is by marking three parts along the roll and then dividing each of these twice, and cutting along those lines.
Place these the cut side up in muffin cases on a tray, and put a kitchen towel over them. Put your oven to 250 degrees. Make your second batch the same way and let them rest under a towel for another 30 minutes. . When they are done resting, brush them with eggs and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
Put them in the oven for 8-12 minutes (depending on your oven). You want them to be browning at the top but not underneath, and it doesn’t matter if they look a little unbaked in the middle for they after-bake for a few minutes after you’ve taken them out. Done! Remember to put them in a cake tin or plastic bag in room temperature after they have cooled down, for they go dry quickly sitting around on their own uncovered.
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3 Comments on “Swedish cinnamon rolls (Kanelbullar)”

  1. […] background-position: 50% 0px; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } meatballandsaltedcod.wordpress.com (via @arrd1s) – Today, 6:03 […]

  2. […] are getting a blog post dedicated to them. The technique of making them is identical to that of Kanelbullar, you just change the dough slightly and the stuff that goes in it. You can mix content around […]

  3. […] Here’s another famous Swedish treat. Kanelbullar or cinnamon rolls is tasty, aromatic, and scrumptious. For recipe, see https://meatballandsaltedcod.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/swedish-cinnamon-rolls-kanelbullar/. […]


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