The authentic Swedish cinnamon rolls “kanelbullar”. The recipe is extremely easy and comes with a step-by-step tutorial to guide you.
When I went back to France for Christmas a month ago, my family asked me to bake some Swedish cinnamon buns. Easy recipe, right? Believe it or not, I had never baked this traditional Swedish pastry before. It was about time!
Baking is really fun for me and I assume it is also for children, so we decided with my boyfriend to bake some cinnamon buns with our nieces, who are 3 and 8 years old. Oh gosh, we had great fun together! While the small one was asking all the time if she could lick the spoon of butter, the bigger one was really focused on brushing the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle the pearl sugar over the buns.
Then we all sat at the table to have a proper “fika” (Swedish name for tea time) and enjoyed the buns with some tea. The entire house was smelling of cinnamon and my boyfriend’s sister was really happy to rediscover the taste of cinnamon buns, reminiscent of her childhood in the US!
Swedes love to add cinnamon and/or cardamom in their baking realizations (sometimes also saffron!). Swedish Cinnamon Rolls are by far the most famous Swedish baking treats, but once you master them you might also want to discover more. Here are some of my favorite Swedish baking recipes:
- Swedish Cardamom Buns (my all time favorite!!)
- Swedish Cinnamon Star Bread + a video tutorial (similar to the kanelbullar)
- Blueberry Vanilla Buns
- Cardamom Raspberry Buns
I went back to Sweden after the holidays and baked a second batch so that I could share this traditional Swedish recipe with you. It’s important to mention there are many different cinnamon buns recipes, but this one is VERY easy and the buns are really good.
Once your lovely kanelbullar are just warm and ready to enjoy, set up the table and make a proper Fika with your friends, as Swedes do. Never heard of fika before? It’s actually the very first word I learned in Swedish and also my favorite one. It means literally “coffee break”, and often comes along with a sweet treat on the side. How sweet is that?
Good to know: October 4th is Swedish National Cinnamon Rolls Day!
Fika is not just a coffee break, it’s also an important time dedicated to socialize, and a serious ritual that is even done in companies once, sometimes twice a day. Indeed, studies have showed that some of the bigger professional decisions are made when a trust relationship exists between two parts, and the thing is that you usually feel more comfortable and trusty when you sit in an informal context. Yes, fika is a serious thing – and very fun too!
One more thing before I leave you with the recipe: baking some kanelbullar is usually a project to do in family (exactly like I did here) as the recipe makes plenty of buns and you need company to help you eat them all! However, it’s good to know that you can slightly under-bake them (remove them from the oven when they are set but not golden yet), let them cool completely at room temperature, and then freeze them in ziploc bags for up to two months. Whenever you have a cinnamon roll craving (yes it exists, I swear!), just remove from freezer and warm them up for 5 minutes in the oven at 350 F (180 C). I usually do that for a cozy Sunday breakfast.
Now, have fun baking in the kitchen and enjoy these lovely Swedish cinnamon rolls!
- 35g fresh yeast
- 1½ cup (360 ml) milk
- ½ cup (120g) butter
- ½ cup (100) white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cardamom
- 6¼ cups (750 g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (120g) butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (50g) white sugar
- 2 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoon (15 ml) water
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) pearl sugar
- Crumble the yeast in a bowl and stir in a few Tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter and pour the milk on it. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead the dough for approx. 10-15 minutes (very important). Let the dough rise while covered at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Roll out the dough so it is about 3mm (1/8 in) thick and 30 cm (12 in) wide. Spread the room temperature butter on top. Make a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the dough.
- Roll the dough the long way and cut the roll into about 25 slices. Place them with the cut edge upward in paper molds or on a baking sheet directly. Let rise under a cloth for about 60 minutes or until the buns have doubled in size.
- Beat together the egg and water. Brush the mixture carefully over the buns and sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Bake in the oven to 425°F (220°C) for 5-6 minutes. Allow to cool on a rack before serving.
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