According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture and Statistics, Swedes eat a lot of cinnamon buns or kanelbullar as they are known here.
Apparently, the average Swedish person eats the equivalent of 316 cinnamon buns per year. That is almost one cinnamon bun per person, per day. Kanelbullar are by far the most popular pastry treat in Swedish culture, so much so, that they have their own national day of celebration every October 4th.
When I moved to Sweden, I was given this recipe to make kanelbullar at home. The recipe has been passed around to the newbies at my international club. Allegedly, it is an authentic hundred year old recipe.
Makes: 12 buns
Preparation: 45 minutes (+ 2 hours rising time)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F, gas 4, fan 160°C)
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk (3-4%)
100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter (1 tbsp less than ½ cup)
500 g (4 cups) strong white flour (bread flour)
½ tsp ground cardamom*
50 g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tsp salt
7 g (1/4 oz) fast action dried yeast (1 packet “instant” yeast)
*Cardamom is optional, but very popular in Sweden so if you want an authentic Swedish kanelbulle, the cardamom is important. Cardamom can be found at almost every grocery store in Sweden. If your supermarket does not carry it, search out an Indian foods market as cardamom is a common ingredient in many Indian recipes. If all else fails, you can order to order it online.
150 g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
60 g (1/4) unsalted butter, very soft
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp pearl sugar. Pearl sugar can also be found at many grocery stores in Swede. If you cannot find it in your neck of the woods. you can substitute regular or powdered sugar. Alternatively, try small flakes (slices) or almonds.
1. Place the milk and butter into a saucepan and heat on medium until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to a lukewarm. Once lukewarm, mix in the egg.
2. Place the flour, cardamom, sugar, salt and dried yeast into a large bowl and mix together.
3. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix and form a dough ball. Place the sticky dough on a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
4. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl somewhere warm and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Rising usually takes anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.
5. After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat into a rectangle. It should measure approximately 25 cm x 35 cm (10” x 14”).
6. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and butter together to form a smooth paste for the filling. Spread the filling evenly across the dough.
7. Roll the dough starting along the longer edge. Cut into twelve rounds. Place on baking trays lined with parchment paper and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the rolls to rise again until they have almost doubled in size. It should take about 45-60 minutes.
8. When ready to bake, brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
9. Invite friends and family.
10. Serve warm or cold with a hot tea or cup of coffee.