Kaneelbullar on a winter afternoon

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February generally marks the beginning of my impatience with winter. The fact that winter over here started damn late, like in late December, does not make it easier. The cosy winding down, feels not cosy at all anymore! I'm ready for action, totally fed up with winter tiredness. I wanna go out into the garden, get my hands in the soil and start sowing seeds.

Luckily there are a few things one can already do now in the garden, and luckily we had a bit of sun over the weekend.
February is a good month for pruning vines and all your summer and autumn blessing trees.
In my case this is the Cotinus coggygria or smoke tree. I only just found out it's called smoke tree in English, in German it's called "wigtree". How much more fitting is smoke tree! The amelanchier needs pruning too and so does the vine that covers the pergola.

In order to shake off winter tiredness, I decide to spend all weekend in the kitchen and the garden; sourdough was made, and a lovely tangerine tart. But what better to accompany a winter garden session than Kaneelbullar?!
So Kaneelbullar were made too. I decided to try a new recipe this time, not that I don't like the one featured
here before, just that I was in the mood for experimenting. This recipe is fast and easy and the result is a slightly lighter bun.

So the new garden year was started on a sunny day in a still snowy garden, pruning trees, melting snow to make some strong black tea to go with the Kaneelbullar - not too bad I'd say.

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For the dough you'll need:

  • 300 gr plain flour
  • 150 gr whole-wheat flour
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240 gr whole milk
  • one egg
  • one egg yolk
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • zest of half an organic lemon

For the cinnamon butter you'll need:

  • 100 g butter, very soft
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Combine the milk, egg and yolk. Pour the liquid over the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon .
Transfer to a clean work surface and knead until smooth. If available, use a stand-mixer fitted with the dough-hook. If you’re kneading by hand, expect to be at it for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and just tacky.
 At this point, add the butter, rubbing it into the dough, then knead for an extra 5 minutes.
Place the dough into a clean bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise at room temperature for a couple of hours, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, get the cinnamon butter ready. Cream the butter, sugar and spices for a minute or two and keep at room temperature until needed.
When the dough has risen, punch to deflate, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 30x40cm rectangle, approximately 8mm thick.
Spread with the cinnamon butter and roll into a tight log. Cut the log into ten 4cm-wide slices using a sharp knife, and arrange into a large baking tray lined with baking paper.
Cover loosely with buttered clingfilm and proof until doubled in size.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 170°C.
When the buns have risen, bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes until golden-brown.

Img 2410

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Swedish kaneelbullar - perfect afternoon delights
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Swedish kaneelbullar - perfect afternoon delights

It has been a work intensive January. 8 fairs in 4 countries in 2 weeks. I’ve been back to London jobwise and took the opportunity to eat at Ottolenghis in Islington, something I wanted to do for ages. Unfortunately I did hot have time to check out this little conscious fish & chip place, but I intend to go back there soonish. London is the place, isn’t it?

From there straight to Stockholm. My first time since ages in Sweden and my first time in Stockholm.
What a lovely city. I mean how can you not love a city where sourdough bread is the standard and you even have a sourdough hotel where you can bring your starter when you leave the town!
We ate a lot of very interesting new nordic cooking but it’s the Swedish classics like the potato parsnip  patties with pickled cucumbers, sour cream and fish roe I fell in love with. Still trying to cook this simple dish at home but after a first massif success we can not reproduce them again. I’ll let you know once we get there. Oh and we had the best sauna experience ever, with a bath in a frozen lake.

The Swedish have the tradition of extended afternoon tea / coffee called "vika". Traditionally they eat Kaneelbullar for vika, a yeast pastry with cinnamon or even better cardamom. Cardamom is a brilliant spice I started to rediscover it last year. It goes well with sweet and savoury flavours. Try serving fresh goats cheese with cardamom. These sweets are really nice, I strongly recommend giving them a go.

You'll need:

For the starter:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 tbs instant yeast
  • 2 cups all purpose flour

For the dough:

  • All the starter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 8 pods cardamom, freshly powered
  • 2 tbs lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 60 gr butter at room temperature

For the filling

  • 75 gr butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup coarsly ground almonds

For the Topping

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Pearl or hagel sugar

The starter: Mix the milk, yeast and 2 cups of flower in a large bowl. The dough will be very sticky. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover and refrigerate it.
Let it rest over night or at least for a few hours.

The dough: The next day, 30 minutes before you plan to bake, take the dough out of the cold and leave it at room temperature.
Tear the dough into large pieces. Now add the flour, cardamon and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and sugar and mix well (preferably in a food processor).
Now add the soft butter and knead well until you have a sooth and elastic dough. Add some milk if the dough feels to dry.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle (approximately the size 30x50cm) .

For the filling: Mix together the the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the filling over half of your dough (see image above). Sprinkle with the almonds.
You could make rolls instead, then you would have to spread the filling all over the dough.

Fold the dough in half and cut long stripes, this should give you approximately 15 stripes. Twist and shape them as you like and put on a baking paper, leaving enough room in between. Let rise for 10 more minutes, then brush with milk and sprinkle on some pearl sugar or similar.

Bake them at 200° for 10 to 15 minutes.

Best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee sitting outside in the garden or balcony on one of the first spring days, covered with a blanket... Or maybe inside in front of a fireplace doing some knitting. Then again, I guess they are just as nice eaten in a hurry waiting for the bus to work ....

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Kaneelbullar on a winter afternoon
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