Kardemummabullar (Swedish Cardamom Buns)

A tried and true favorite of Swedes everywhere, Kardemummabullar (Cardamom Buns) basically represent the whole of Swedish baking. They even recently made an appearance on the Great British Bake Off where Henry made a version of cardamom buns as his signature festival bread… though they are more of a daily essential in Sweden.

Cardamom buns definitely seem to be having their day in the sun outside of Scandinavia. Just a month or so ago, the New York Times ran a special article about Fabrique’s new location in New York City and the “Cardamom bun that took New York.”

Of course you can find these buns just about anywhere that sells kaffebröd in Scandinavia—they’re about as omnipresent as donuts at gas stations here in the US. Our favorite kardemummabullar are at a place called Cafe Hörnan in Norrtälje, just northeast of Stockholm.

These yeasted sweet rolls can be a bit harder to make than they seem. Getting them to rise appropriately and achieving just the right balance of cardamom can be a bit tricky. We are sharing our own recipe for these scrumptious rolls below. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Kardemummabullar (Swedish Cardamom Buns)

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Cardamom buns are definitely having a moment, but here is folksmak's tried and true recipe for these amazing delicious sweet buns.

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 300mL (1 1/4 cups) whole milk, warmed to ~110°F
  • 90g superfine sugar
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 tsp SAF instant yeast
  • 500g (4 cups) bread flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp whole cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Filling:

  • 12 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g (1 cup) superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Topping:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp whole cardamom seeds, ground
  • 1 tbsp superfine sugar

Directions

Make the Dough:

  1. Bring the milk to about 110°F
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and superfine sugar until creamy, but not overly fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and freshly ground cardamom.
  3. Switch the paddle for the dough hook attachment. Grease a separate bowl with about a tsp of olive oil or butter and set aside.
  4. Pour warmed milk, yeast, and flour mixture into the bowl with the creamed butter and sugar. Mix together on lowest setting until just combined (~2 minutes). It should go from a shaggy dough to smooth and almost shiny. When this happens, turn up the speed to low and beat for 2-3 more minutes.
  5. The dough should be soft and supple and bit sticking only to the bottom of the mixing bowl. After this, give the dough a few more turns by hand inside the bowl. Shape dough by hand into a neat ball and place into the greased bowl to prove. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Set dough in a warm place and let rise at least an hour or until doubled in size.

Make the Filling:

  1. Cream together the butter, sugar, cardamom, and salt in bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. After the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough until it is about 15 inches across and 18 inches in length. You want the short side of this rectangle facing you.
  3. Using an offset spatula, spread the filling over the surface of the dough, making sure to reach the very edges. Fold furthest 1/3 of the dough down and the closest 1/3 up over the first fold, like you would fold a letter. Roll out the dough again until it is 16 inches across and 12 inches in length.
  4. Be sure to clean up any filling that has oozed out since you began. Using a pizza cutter (or a small knife with a great amount of delicacy), cut the dough into 1-inch strands.
  5. To form the buns, hold one end of a strand between your thumb and and middle + ring fingers. Keep your index finger extended outwards. Wrap the strand vertically around your index finger twice before bringing it across horizontally. Be sure the end of the strand ends up on the bottom side of the bun.
  6. Place formed buns on baking sheets with parchment paper. Allow to rise for another hour until soft and puffy.

Bake:

  1. Towards the end of the rising period, preheat the oven to 425°F for at least 30 minutes. You want your oven nice and hot.
  2. Whisk together the egg and 1 tbsp of water until light and frothy. Brush the egg wash over the buns and sprinkle with plenty of sugar-cardamom mixture.
  3. Bake the buns for 10 minutes, then completely rotate the baking the sheets 180° and move top to bottom and vice-versa. Bake about 10 more minutes until the buns acquire that nice golden-brown, caramelly color. Let cool for at least 5-10 minutes before enjoying.

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