Help me recreate a Swedish cardamom roll!
July 4, 2011 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Cardamom rolls - are these a traditional Swedish thing and how can I make them?

I just got back from a trip to Norway and Sweden. We never once saw them in Norway but every coffee shop we went to in Sweden had these little braided circular cardamom rolls. My SO loves them. I've found a couple recipes online ("swedish cardamom roll") but what I'd really love is a recipe passed down by your Swedish grandma or something of that nature.

You can roughly see what I'm talking about in the foreground of this picture.

Also, like I asked above - are these just a Swedish thing? I've never seen them in America or in the other coffee shops throughout Norway.
posted by kthxbi to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, they are very Swedish, and you'll find them in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland too. I don't have a Swedish grandma (I lived there for a while) but from my research on Very Swedish recipes I've found that, like a lot of American grandma recipes, a lot of the recipes originally came from the same package of flour or magazine article.

From poking around the internet, it looks like all the recipes are all pretty similar (and already translated for language, ingredients, and measurements). You'll likely be safe trying one. If you turn out some you don't love, it does make ridiculous french toast.

(I notice that most of the recipes I've looked at say "butter or margarine". Chances are good you will get a more authentic grandma flavor and texture with margarine.)

Here's a braiding video, and there's probably others around for the big wreath loaves and the little cafe-sized knots.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:24 AM on July 4, 2011

Beatrice Ojakangas does a lot of Scandinavian baking books, etc. Her stuff is probably a good start. (On phone, so can't link so easily.)

We usually have these rolls around Christmas, but I would SO not object to having them more often.
posted by Madamina at 9:38 AM on July 4, 2011

Kanelbullar! Recipe courtesy of the Swedish Institute!

The first one I ever had was at AQ Kafe in NYC. Theirs are tender, not too sweet, and (I assume) laminated like croissant dough before being braided. They're pictured on the right side of the header on the linked page. I can't speak to their authenticity, but they are delicious.

Paupered Chef has a cardamom cinnamon roll recipe, which I'm not crazy about. It's too much of a bastard child of American cinnamon rolls and Swedish cinnamon rolls for my tastes.

If I were to try making them again, I would pick a good brioche recipe, add cardamom and cut the sugar back a little. One of the most important parts, I think, is the pearl sugar on top. It gives you that little hit of sweetness without making the whole thing sickly sweet.
posted by clockwork at 11:59 AM on July 4, 2011

We must make sure first that it's not cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar) you are after. Those are Swedish enough to have a sort of recognized day in the calendar here (kanelbullens dag, October fourth). They are traditionally shaped like spirals, but the same dough can be braided or otherwise fashioned into different patterns.
posted by springload at 12:05 PM on July 4, 2011

Response by poster: I don't think they were swedish cinnamon rolls because the very distinguishing feature of them was the cardamom. You could clearly see it in the dough and it was the most noticeable flavor present.
posted by kthxbi at 12:09 PM on July 4, 2011

Response by poster: Or maybe I'm wrong ... but they weren't overly sweet and they didn't have all that pearl sugar on top.
posted by kthxbi at 12:10 PM on July 4, 2011

Then you should google for "kardemummabullar". Most of the top hits seem respectable. They may be typically Swedish (I have a feeling cardamum is, it goes into a lot of bakery), but they hold a lower profile than cinnamon rolls and are perhaps less standardized.

Shout if you need help translating a recipe.
posted by springload at 12:30 PM on July 4, 2011

I think they're pretty common around Mpls. etc. Here's a recipe that looks pretty close.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:55 PM on July 4, 2011

They are kanelbullar. Their distinguishing feature, from other baking culture's perspectives is cardamom - one of the inexplicable quirks of Swedish society.
[Obligatory self link to blog post here. Warning: I'm not such a fan]
posted by Namlit at 2:21 PM on July 4, 2011

Okay, minus the pearl sugar, which I didn't see. So springload has it, kardemummabullar it should be. Here is one recipe.


You need

150 g butter

5 d[eci]l[iter] milk
50 g fresh baker's yeast (or equivalent in dried yeast, adjust your technique accordingly)
1 dl sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon (ground) cardamom
ca 1,4 liter plain four

100 g clarified/melted butter
1 dl sugar
2 tablespoons cadamom

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk, heat up to 37 dgr. C. Crumble the yeast into a large bowl and add the milk-butter mix. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add the sugar, a little salt and the cardamom. Add flour, but save a dl or so for later. Knead the dough with your hands or in a suitable food processor thingy for 5-10 minutes. Let rise under a bit of baking cloth for half an hour.

Roll out the dough [i guess it is here the saved flour is needed...] and spread the clarified/melted butter on it. Spread now the sugar and the cardamom over it. Roll the dough into buns and put them on baking paper, let rise under the baking cloth for 40 minutes, bake at 250 degr. C for 5+9 minutes, serve while still warm together with a glass of milk.

To make little "knots" instead (like on the linked picture) is not difficult. Divide the risen dough into three. Roll out into flat rectangles. Spread the filling over these rectangles and fold them over by half. Cut into strips of 2cm width. Twist each strip and knot them together into a knot. Put on baking paper or in baking cups for bullar [yeah, we have even those] with the ends downward and bake as before.

End translation
posted by Namlit at 2:47 PM on July 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

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