According to its Facebook page, the annual Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon bun day) will see over 5,000 fans tucking in to this delightful confection on the 4th October by way of celebration. As a devotee myself, no trip to Stockholm is complete without several visits to the charming Söder Munkens konditori and bageri on Renstiernas Gata in Södermalm. This delightful bakery/café with its ornately carved door in the heart of Söder’s trendy shopping district offers not just a treat for the tum, but a feast for the eyes with its mouth-watering window displays and imaginatively decorated celebration cakes.
Located close to Stockholm’s central station (T-Centralen), the food hall in Åhléns department store makes a convenient stopping off point to refuel before heading out to the airport. In this era of no-frills flying and uninspired in-flight sarnies, here you’ll find a dazzling array of salads, delicatessen and freshly baked goodies to take-away including the kanellängd, a larger, plaited version of the bun intended for sharing… Many’s the time I’ve staved off ecomony ennui with surreptitious bites of bulle and strong, Swedish coffee as my flight starts to blink “delayed” on the departure board.
So what makes these buns so delish? Firstly, the irresistible combi of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter is incredibly moreish when married to the lightly crisped yet doughy texture – especially on a cold day. Secondly, there’s an essential ingredient – and one which sets the Swedish bulle apart from its American cousin, the cinnamon roll – sweet’n’spicy ground cardamom, perhaps more usually associated with Indian food (in the UK at least). Unlike their US counterparts, kanelbullar are rarely iced but rather sprinkled with pearl sugar for added crunch. With the possible exception of The Nordic Bakery on Golden Square, I’ve found it virtually impossible to buy good cinnamon buns in London so perhaps it’s time I took a leaf out of my nephew’s book and started making my own.
Ingredients (Makes approximately two dozen buns)
For the dough:
35 g yeast
100 g sugar
300 ml milk (room temperature)
120 g butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbs ground cardamom
750 g flour
For the filling:
100 g butter (softened)
50 g brown sugar e.g. light Muscovado
2 tbs cinnamon
For the glaze topping:
2 tbs water
pearl sugar (optional)
Method Crumble the yeast into a bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of milk. Melt the butter in a pan and pour in the remaining milk. Transfer the yeast and butter mixtures to a dough-mixer, add the rest of the dry ingredients and knead for 10-15 minutes. Cover with a tea-towel and leave the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Roll out to an oblong shape approximately 3mm thick and 30cm wide. Using a palette knife spread the softened butter on top. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the buttered dough. Fold the dough over the long way to form a sausage shape and cut into about 24 slices. Place the individual slices with the cut edge upwards in paper moulds. Transfer to a baking sheet and let the buns rise under a tea-towel for about 60 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
Beat together the egg and water, brush the mixture carefully on the buns and sprinkle the pearl sugar (if using) on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220˚C/425˚F for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack – if you can!