Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kardemummabullar‬ (Swedish Cardamom Buns)

I love traditions. For me, the holidays are synonymous with baking delicious treats. Inspired by my Scandinavian heritage and recent trip to Sweden, I decided to bake Kardemummabullar‬, traditional Swedish cardamom buns.

My desire to create Kardemummabullar‬ was twofold. One, I could not get enough of the Swedish baked goods while visiting. We indulged in saffranbullar (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (gingersnaps), but did not have a chance to try kardemummabullar. Second, I am obsessed with cardamom. So really, it was a no-brainer. Plus, I like the challenge of baking something new, and kardemummbullar seemed a little complicated. Challenge accepted.

To begin, I wanted to use whole cardamom seeds and crush them myself. This proved a little hard to find in a small town the day before Christmas. After some searching I found whole cardamom seeds, which was so worth the effort! There is nothing more satisfying than grinding your own spices and sensing the fragrance come alive.

Making the buns was not as complicated as I thought. I looked online for some inspiration, and found that most recipes were similar to a yeast roll. Not too tough to recreate. I like to use few ingredients when baking and cooking, which was easy for these rolls. My list included: flour, yeast, milk, butter, brown sugar, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.

To make the dough, I heated milk in a saucepan over low heat. I used 1% because that's what we had in the fridge, but I think 2% or whole milk would be even better. Once the milk was lukewarm I added the yeast and mixed until it was dissolved. In my mixer I combined the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom, and added the milk. I turned the mixer on low and slowly started to incorporate the butter (cut into cubes), then increased the speed for about 5 minutes using a bread hook to knead. (You could do this by hand too- knead for about 5-10 min) After mixing, I rolled the dough into a ball and placed in a bowl, covered, to rise for about an hour.

While the dough was rising I did two things: 1) made the filling (easy as mixing butter, sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon together), and 2) Made coffee. Baking and coffee go together like cooking and wine. I can't do one without the other. Plus, in honor of Sweden and all the coffee drinking done there I felt it was only fitting. Also, it was 4:00am when I started baking, and coffee seemed necessary. I'm still jet lagged from my trip....

............Twiddle thumbs and drink coffee for an hour..........

Then finally the dough was ready. I rolled it out in a long rectangle and spread the filling over the entire surface using a spatula. The filling was pretty thin and I think I maybe would make a touch more the next time.

Next, I folded the rectangle in half the long way. 

To make the classic knotted bun look, I had to do some searching. I tried a few times and it just didn't look right. For my attempted description at how to form these, see recipe below. Otherwise, a photo says a thousand words.... 

Cut into 10-15 long stripes.

Cut a slit about 3/4 of the way up each strip and twist the ends inward to make a spiral.

Fold the two ends over each other and tuck in behind the bun.

Something like this.

And if you can't get them to look right, just make a messy knotted bun. I promise they will still taste good!

After forming the buns, let sit for about 30 min before baking. I used this time to prepare the glaze (which again, was as easy at mixing sugar, water, and cardamom together).

To bake, preheat the oven to 400 F. Bake for about 8-10 min and remove. The buns should be starting to brown on top, but still soft. I took mine out at 8 minutes because I like them a little underdone rather than crispy. And my oven runs hot.

Immediately spoon the glaze over the top and let it seep into the buns.

Pair with coffee and enjoy!

Kardemummabullar‬ (cardamom buns)

by Stephanie Howe
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Keywords: bake breakfast cardamom Christmas Scandinavian winter
Ingredients (10-15 buns)
    For the Dough
    • 1 c (250 ml) milk
    • 1 package dry active yeast
    • 1/3 c (60 g) brown sugar
    • 3 1/4 c (420 g) flour (I used a mix of al purpose, spelt, and pastry)
    • 1 teaspoon cardamom
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 5 Tablespoons (70 g) butter at room temperature
    For the Filling
    • 4.5 tablespoons (60 g) butter at room temperature
    • 1/4 c, scant (30 g) brown sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons cardamom
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    For the Glaze
    • 1/4 c (50 g) brown sugar
    • 1/4 c (60 g) water
    • 1 teaspoon cardamom
    For the Dough
    Warm milk over low heat and add yeast. Stir until dissolved. Add flour, sugar, cardamom, salt to a mixer with a bread hook attachment. Add milk and begin to mix. After a few seconds, start to add butter. Mix for about 5 min (or knead by hand for 5-10 min). Roll dough into a ball and place in a bowl. Cover, and rise for about 1 hr.
    For the Filling
    Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir until well combined. Set aside.
    To Shape
    Roll out dough into a long rectangle. Spread filling evenly over the entire rectangle. Fold in half longways. Cut 10-15 evenly shaped long strips from the rectangle (see photos). Make a slit with a knife about 3/4 of the way up the long strip. Twist ends inward to make a spiral shape. Take twisted ends and cross them over each other and tuck the loose ends behind the bun (this sounds complicated, but really just make a 'messy' bun look- the shape doesn't terrible matter). Place on a baking sheet and let rise for another 30-40 min.
    For the Glaze
    Mix water, brown sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon together in a small bowl
    To bake
    Bake at 400-425 for 8-10 min. Remove from heat and spoon glaze on top while still warm. Sprinkle with decorative sugar if desired.
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