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Image / Living / Food & Drink

Start your week off right with these authentic Scandinavian cinnamon buns, or ‘kanelbullar’

by Meg Walker
01st Feb 2021

Some of us start our weeks off with healthy recipes for soups and salads. Sunday was spent food prepping and now you have a fridge stocked with ready-to-go meals.

And some of us, well, do not. This week seems like it was a particularly rough one for everyone, as January dragged into its ninth week, the weather took a turn for the wet and windy and we headed into our 45th week of this pandemic (that one’s actually true).

So we did not make it to the supermarket over the weekend, our fridge is empty, the weather is cat and we need a reason to get up in the morning that isn’t a bowl of plain cereal and a computer screen.

Enter: Scandinavian cinnamon buns by Brontë Aurell. You can make these the day of but you can also make them the night before and pop them in the fridge overnight for their second rise. Then all you need to do is bring them to room temp and pop them in the oven first thing in the morning.


Brontë Aurell’s Real Cinnamon Buns
Serves 16

Having a good recipe for kanelbullar is essential, because it’s the Scandi treat you will make over and over. Don’t forget to knead some love into the dough; it makes them extra-delicious.


For the dough

  • 13g dried/active dry yeast or 25g fresh yeast
  • 250ml whole milk, heated to 36-37ºC
  • 80g butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 400-500g white strong/bread flour
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the filling

  • 80g plus 1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp vanilla sugar
  • 80g plus 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • beaten egg, for brushing

For the topping

  • 3 tbsp golden/light corn syrup (warmed) and nibbed “pearl” sugar


  • 2 baking sheets, greased and lined with baking parchment


If using fresh yeast, add the warm milk to a mixing bowl and add the yeast; stir until dissolved, then pour into the bowl of the food mixer. If using dried/active dry yeast, pour the warm milk into a bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and whisk together. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes to become bubbly. Pour into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Mix in the cooled, melted butter. Allow to combine for 1 minute or so, then add the sugar. In a separate bowl, weigh out 400g of the flour, add the cardamom and salt and mix. Start adding the flour and spices into the milk mixture, bit by bit. Add half the beaten egg. Keep kneading for 5 minutes. You may need to add more flour – you want the mixture to end up a bit sticky. It is better not to add too much flour, as this will result in dry buns. You can always add more later.

Cover the dough with clingfilm. Allow to rise for around 30 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead through with your hands and work in more flour if needed. Roll out the dough to a 40 x 50cm rectangle.

In a bowl, add the butter, flour, spices and sugars and mix together well to make the filling. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough. Fold the dough in half lengthways.

Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 16 widthways strips of dough. Take one strip and carefully twist it a few times, then curl into a “knot”, ensuring both ends are tucked in or under so they do not spring open during baking. Place the folded knots on the prepared baking sheets spaced well apart. Leave to rise under a kitchen cloth for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200?C/gas mark 6. Brush each bun lightly with beaten egg and place in the preheated oven to bake for around 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven. Brush the warm buns lightly with syrup then decorate with the nibbed “pearl” sugar. Immediately cover with a damp, clean cloth for a few minutes to prevent the buns from going dry.


Extracted from ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Brontë Aurell (Ryland Peters & Small, approx €20). Photography by Peter Cassidy.


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