This past summer I spent two weeks traveling in Norway. I explored beautiful cities and countryside, gaped at the most stunning fjords, drank cups and cups of the Scandinavian style light-roast coffee, and devoured lots of the cardamom and cinnamon scented Norwegian pastries. (This was my first trip to Europe, don’t hold my immodesty against me.)
Skillingsboller or kanelsnurrer in Norwegian, depending on your dialect I guess, these twisted, palmandahalf-sized buns were in every coffee shop and bakery we visited. I couldn’t get over how beautiful they were.
Then for Christmas, I received a Norwegian baking magazine that included a version of those cinnamon buns. The recipe needed a little tweaking – they left yeast out of the ingredients! – and a lot of translation, but they turned out perfectly in the end. This recipe makes enough for a hoard, so halve the recipe if you’re baking for just a few.
Scandinavian Cinnamon Buns
(adapted from Bake magazine)
makes ~20 buns
- 10 g (approx. 1 1/2 packets) active dry yeast
- 500 g water
- 1200 g unbleached all-purpose flour
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 15 g kosher salt
- 10 g ground cardamom
- 200 g butter, softened
- 100 g egg
- 100 g marzipan*
- 100 g sugar
- 100 g butter, softened
- 10 g cinnamon
1 egg, beaten and demerara sugar for finishing
*If you cannot find marzipan, I highly suspect that an equal weight of well pulverized aliments or pecans would be an excellent substitution, although I have not verified this.
Mix the yeast and a pinch of sugar with the warm water and set aside for 10 or 15 minutes. Mix thoroughly the flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl (or the bowl of stand mixer). Add the softened butter, egg, and water-yeast mixture and mix with a spoon or your hands. Once the mixture has started to come together, turn out on to the counter and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a towel, and let sit in the fridge for an hour.
While the dough is resting, pulse the filling ingredients in a food processor until well combined and set aside.
After the dough has rested. turn it out onto the counter and roll into a large rectangle (appox. 1.25′ by 2′). Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough (you may need to soften it a bit in the microwave first). Fold the dough in thirds (‘hamburger style’) and then slice width wise into 1.5 inch strips. Twist the strips around themselves and into knots. Let the knots rest and rise for about 30 or 45 minutes.
Just before baking, brush the buns with the beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake at 425ºF for 12 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and the sugar filling is bubbly.
Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy with coffee and lots of friends.