Kanelbullar, Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Fresh from the oven. Mmmmm.....
Fresh from the oven. Wish you could smell them.

This house smells like Ikea! my husband commented as he entered the house. And all thanks to these lovely swirls of cardamom spiced dough laced with cinnamon sugar called kanelbullar that I had just pulled out of the oven.

I had not heard of kanelbullar until yesterday. It all originated with this sudden need of mine to bake sticky cinnamon buns – picture Cinnabon-type buns – pillowy soft, tooth-achingly sweet, finger-licking sticky and heady with the scent of cinnamon, butter and brown sugar. Such is my idea of perfect winter food and boy do I need such comfort after being holed up at home after a heavy snowfall yesterday.

A quick search on Google for “cinnamon buns” came up with hit after hit that introduced me to the world of kanelbullar. These cinnamon buns are apparently a Swedish institution and variations of it can be found all over Scandinavia. I decided to try baking them today as they seem so exotic to me (with their addition of cardamom) yet familiar at the same time (due no less to the butter and cinnamon sugar filling).

As you can tell from the picture, these buns are a far cry from those made by Cinnabon but they are, as both my kids can firmly attest to, no less delicious. Kanelbullar are not slathered with a thick coating of sugar and butter like the sticky buns we are accustomed to in North America. These soft, fluffy buns are not lethally sweet; their distinct flavour comes not from caramelized sugar but from ground cardamom, which gently spices the dough throughout and gives it a sophisticated edge.

The recipe I followed to make these kanelbullar is from the blog, London Eats. The photos are gorgeous and I was secretly hoping to be able to churn out such beautiful swirls on my first attempt. I liked that this recipe produces a manageable batch of 12 buns, just perfect for my small family of four to finish before they go stale. I ground the seeds from four cardamom pods myself using a mortar and pestle and found that a generous 1/2 teaspoon was the perfect amount of spice for me.

Aren’t these kanelbullar pretty? My daughter calls them lollipops. They are simply delicious, by the way. All 12 of these buns were gone in seven hours, split between two adults and two toddlers. My husband requested a repeat batch tomorrow, which I will happily oblige.


8 thoughts on “Kanelbullar, Swedish Cinnamon Buns

  1. I live in the home of kanelbullar, and yours look fabulous! You’re right- they certainly are an institution here! I am so glad yours worked so well and were such a hit :)

    1. Thanks for the compliment! A second batch is proofing as I type, that’s how addicted we are. I’m so envious of you right now – wish to be able to visit Sweden at least once!

    1. These are definitely not as sweet as sticky cinnamon buns. In fact, my husband thought I deliberately left out sugar from the buns! But these are just perfect for snacking.

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