Kanelbullar – Swedish cinnamon buns

As all children, I thought I had the best parents when I grew up. And I still do. They were always there for me, while still raising me to be independent. ‘I can do it myself’ was a very common sentence from me around the age of 2 and 3.

My childhood memories are all very loving, and most are actually about food. The smell of meatballs sizzling in butter, the comforting feeling when eating creamed spinach and the smell of cinnamon buns fresh from the oven.

Cinnamon buns, you see, is a Swedish institution. My mother will always have some in the freezer, along with other cakes in case of unannounced guests popping by. 

This past weekend when I was in Sweden, I baked cinnamon buns with my mother, something we always used to do together when I was a child.

And I can assure you, nothing in the whole world tastes better than warm cinnamons fresh from the oven.

My mothers recipe is a fairly standard one, but it contains more butter tahn other recipes, for a richer dough, and it has the addition of an egg to make the dough more elastic.

This recipe is actually half a batch, but it is still enough for around 40 buns or 25 buns and a sweet loaf. The loaf has the same filling as the buns but with raisins added to it for a more Christmassy feeling. Other fillings are usually marzipan for Christmas and we sometimes substitute the cinnamon for vanilla sugar.

Cinnamon buns, makes about 40

50 g fresh yeast

150 g melted butter

500 ml milk

2 tsp ground cardamom

125 ml caster sugar

1 egg

1,4-1,7 l plain flour


About 300 g softened butter

about 300 ml caster sugar

ground cardamom

ground cinnamon

For brushing:

1 egg

pearl sugar

Break up the yeast into the bowl for a machine with a dough hook. Mix the melted butter with the milk and heat until finger warm. Add a splash of the milk mixture to the yeast along with the sugar. Mix until the yeast has dissolved. Add the rest of the milk and butter mixture, cardamom and the egg. Start working the mixture with the dough hooks while adding the flour bit by bit until you have a fairly wet dough. Work the dough for 10 minutes. It should be sticky but come off the sides of the bowl. Cover the dough and let it rise for 20 minutes.  

Empty the dough onto a floured work surface. Divide into three equal sized pieces. Roll out the dough pieces one at the time until you have a rectangular dough about 3 mm thick. Spread about 100 g softened butter onto the dough rectangle in a smooth layer. Cover the butter with an even layer of caster sugar. Add a small dusting of ground cardamom. Add an even layer of ground cinnamon. Roll the dough from the widest side into a roll. Push the ends into the middle a little for an even roll. Cut into 12-15 pieces, about 3 cm wide. Place flat side down in baking cases on a baking sheet. Cover and let them double in size. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with the pearl sugar. 

Bake in a preheated oven of 225C/200C fan at the top of the oven for 6-10 minutes. Make sure they don’t burn. 

And a little dessert…

The vegan dessert I had planned was almond biscuits with rose water buttercream wedged in between. But that didn’t happen.

Apparently it is very difficult to make a vegan buttercream that involves rose water. Ifailed. Three times.

So I had to come up with plan B. Said almond biscuits fresh strawberries, perfectly ripe mango and a splosh of rose water on the fruit. Nice too, but not what I had in mind.

Oh well, shit happens sometimes, and the best you can do is to make it work with what you’ve got.

Almond discs with sesame and cadamom, makes 25

100 g ground almonds

3 tbsp sesame seeds

100 ml caster sugar

100 g margarine

2 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp soy milk

1 tsp ground cardamom

Melt the maragine in a sauce pan, add the other ingredients. Cook for a few minutes while stirring, until you have an even batter. Place dollops of teaspoon size onto a baking sheet, with plenty of space in between. Bake for 6 mins, 175C, leave to cool on a flat surface, then store in an airtight container.