swedish cardamom buns
I’m writing this post as I head home from a very long, very full week. On Monday through Wednesday, I was a part of KitchenAid’s very first retreat in Chicago. On Thursday through Sunday, I attended (my very first) BlogHer Food. Between there, a ridiculously quick trip home to my parents in the Chi-town suburbs where they were taking care of my little girl for the week. I got a few kisses and hugs from her (actually, I lied about the kisses — she actively refused to give out any of those, being the lovably sassy toddler she is) just before I had to head back into the city.
It wasn’t enough, though, and while I am incredibly grateful and thankful to have had the opportunity to visit the city, learn, meet the wonderful people I work with and hang out with my very best blogging friends, I’m also very ready to be home. I need to refresh, recharge, rest in my own bed. I need to be a hermit for a bit. I need to hug my cat. You understand.
I also need to get more of these delightful Swedish cardamom buns in my belly, as I stored a few away in my freezer for when I’d return. I knew it would be like a little homecoming party just for me, to heat them up and pull them apart into soft, sweet, pillowy, spice-filled, bite-sized pieces just before they head into my mouth. I don’t even know how I can think about food, honestly, after the gargantuan amount of delicious goodness I devoured in Chicago all week long. And yet, I will always crave breads like these.
I’ve been meaning to cross off my baking bucket list my own variation of Swedish cardamom buns or bread, and while you may not have known just how long it’s taken me to make these, I do, and with that knowledge I apologize. Because once you give these a try yourself, you’ll wonder, as I did, just why you haven’t had them sooner. The cardamom-flecked dough is soft and pillowy, the same texture as a cinnamon roll, and the buttery, cinnamon-date sugar filling (yes! Date sugar! I’ll get to more about that in a sec) is weaved into every crevice of each bun. It is then all topped off with a sprinkle of pearl sugar and baked to a golden brown perfection just begging to be served with hot coffee for your afternoon fika (that’s a set afternoon snack time in Sweden, btw. Another reason why I love the Swedes).
But more about that date sugar, right? Bob’s Red Mill makes its own and ladies and gentlefolk, all I can say is WHOA. It’s made from dehydrated dates and oat flour and it yields just the most perfect amount of sweetness to your foods. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying it, now is your time. It tastes great sprinkled into these buns, obviously, but I imagine it’s also wonderful in just about any other pastry, or in pancakes, waffles, etc. It’s a sweetener I can certainly get behind in just about any capacity.
But my favorite way so far, of course, is in these cardamom buns. And I already can’t wait to have them again for breakfast — at my own kitchen table.
For the dough:
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill date sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the topping:
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
- In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in milk. Check temperature of milk-butter mixture — when it reaches 110 to 120 degrees F, remove from heat (or, if it’s too hot, remove from heat and let cool until it reaches the correct temperature). Pour in large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Stir in yeast. Let sit 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in separate large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cardamom and salt.
- Add flour mixture to yeast mixture. Stir until just combined. Knead by hand on lightly floured surface 10 to 15 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic; OR, knead with dough hook in stand mixer on medium speed 5 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic. Shape dough into ball. Place in clean bowl. Cover bowl with towel and let dough rise in warm place 1 hour until doubled.
- Meanwhile, prepare filling: In small bowl, stir date sugar and cinnamon until well combined.
- Punch down risen dough. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 12-by-18-inch rectangle, short end toward you. Spread softened butter on bottom third of dough (closest to you). Sprinkle with date sugar-cinnamon mixture.
- Fold top third of dough down and bottom third of dough up, like a letter. Use sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into 12 6-by-1-inch strips. Use knife or pizza cutter to cut each strip three-quarters of the way up lengthwise. Twist both ends, then tie in knot. Tuck ends under. Repeat with remaining buns, then place buns 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with towel and let rise 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Uncover buns and brush tops with beaten egg. Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until buns are golden brown and baked through.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Bob’s Red Mill for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.