Today, we are going to Sweden to make the most popular Swedish pastry called kanelbüllar or kanelbulle (singular).
What is a kanelbulle?
Also called cinnamon roll or cinnamon swirl (or korvapuustit in Finland), kanelbulle is a little bun that is topped with softened butter, sugar and cinnamon. In Sweden, where it seems to originate, kanelbulle simply means “cinnamon bun”.
Kanelbullar were made popular in Sweden in the 1920s, after World War II, but it has really become a fairly common pastry in the early 1950s. In the nineteenth century, ingredients such as flour, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and eggs were considered luxurious and their enjoyment was generally reserved only for wealthy families.
International day of cinnamon rolls (Kanelbullens dag)
Today, kanelbulle is the most popular of Swedish pastries… so popular that an International Day of kanelbullar was started in 1999. It is now held every October 4th.
Cinnamon bun is also widespread in the United States. Kanelbullar are not as sweet and sticky as the typical American cinnamon rolls though. Another key difference in that the Swedish cinnamon buns include cardamom in the dough. US buns are served with icing on top while kanelbullar are topped with pärlsocker or pearl sugar.
In Sweden, kanelbullar are served equally at breakfast as for fika, the Swedish snack concept we discussed here. Fika defines snacks that can be eaten in small cafes dedicated to these specialties that are typically open all day and are called mysigt fik, or cool little cafes.
I am usually not a fan of cinnamon but curiously, I loved these little buns that I enjoyed hot off the oven.
This recipe is validated by our Swedish culinary expert, Delphine from Del’s Cooking Twist.
- 2 tablespoons instant dry yeast
- ½ cup sugar
- 1¼ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 6 cups flour
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons pearl sugar
- Mix baking powder with flour.
- Dissolve instant dry yeast with a few tablespoons of milk in a small bowl.
- Melt butter and pour in the milk.
- Add all the other ingredients and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes (important).
- Cover dough with a cloth and let it rise for about 45 minutes in a dry place, away from drafts.
- Combine all ingredients for the filling (butter, sugar and cinnamon) in a food processor and mix to obtain a very smooth cream.
Roll the dough over ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick and 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Spread the cream on the entire surface.
- Roll dough the lengthwise so that it forms a long roll, then cut into 25 slices.
- Place on a baking sheet or in medium size paper containers.
- Cover the buns and let them rise again for about an hour (or until small buns have doubled in size) in a dry place away from drafts.
Preheat convection oven to 450 F / 230 C.
- Beat the egg and water and brush the buns with the mixture.
- Sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Bake for 5 to 6 minutes then let cool on a wire rack before serving.