In case you have never been to Sweden before, fika is an important part of their culture.
It’s basically a coffee break and includes a sweet bun or a piece of chocolate or similar kind of sweet, with a cup of coffee. (In Sweden, you drink quite a bit of coffee throughout the day.) But I must say, a fika isn’t complete without a kanelbullar (a.k.a. cinnamon bun), so be sure to try one the next time you visit. No trip to Sweden is complete without it.
Don’t confuse kanelbullar with American frosted or glazed (and overly sweet, in my opinion) cinnamon buns like the ones you get at Cinnabon. The Swedish version is infused with a touch of cardamom, cinnamon, and most importantly, pearl sugar, which you usually can’t find outside of Scandinavian countries (at least in my experience). You might also see versions with poppy seeds.
This recipe was inspired by @KingArthurBaking, and I found it while I was looking for something to bake for my boys. I have slightly simplified it using my knowledge of a traditional Swedish kanelbullar recipe. I think it’s a perfectly balanced hybrid of American and Swedish recipes. I added sweet potato puree to the dough and removed the glaze, and my rolls came out amazing. Next time you have leftover sweet potatoes, go ahead and give this recipe a try! I hope you like them as much as we did.
*Using roasted sweet potato will make the dough less moist, so adjust your portions of flour accordingly.
Makes 15 rolls
1 cup lukewarm water
½ cup caster sugar
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
¼ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
½ cup (about 120g) leftover roasted sweet potato*, pureed
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled before mixing
5 ½ to 6 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp fine sea salt
1 ½ cup (about 300g) soft brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp cornstarch
110g unsalted butter, softened
Glaze and toppings
Egg wash (whisk together 1 egg with 1 tbsp water)
Whisk together lukewarm water and yeast with a pinch of sugar in a small bowl, then set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together yogurt, sweet potato puree, eggs, melted butter, sugar and yeast water until combined.
Change to dough hook attachment and add salt, then flour. Start with 5 ½ cups. Knead dough, increasing speed to medium low in steps at about 30-60 second intervals, adding a tablespoon of flour each time. (I added slightly more than the 6 cups recommended in the original recipe).
Increase speed to medium high and knead dough until it forms a smooth and elastic ball, about 5 minutes.
Cover bowl with a silicon lid or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, combine soft brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch and set aside.
Once the dough is ready, before removing it from the bowl, make sure you have a large surface to roll out the dough, as you will need about 76cm of width in this step. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times to loosen, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 45x60cm rectangle, with the long side facing you.
Make sure that the butter is very soft and easy to spread. Evenly spread softened butter all over the dough surface, leaving 3cm space on the top edge. Sprinkle each roll evenly with the cinnamon sugar mixture, leaving the top edge clean. Use a rolling pin, roll over the sugar topping to adhere it to the dough.
Roll the dough into a tight log, starting from the edge that is closer to you. Pinch the sides of the dough to make sure that the filling is not falling out. Use a brush of water on the edges if needed to seal the ends.
Using a dough cutter, split the log in thirds crosswise, then split each third into five and split the total into 15 rolls. Lightly grease a 22x33cm deep baking tray and line up the cut rolls 3×5 into the tray. Cover tray with plastic wrap and let it rise again for 1-1.5 hours, until they are almost doubled in size. Towards the end of rise, preheat oven to 170C, with rack in middle. Remove plastic from the tray, gently brush egg wash all over the rolls, then sprinkle pearl sugar evenly all over. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Let cool in the tray for 10 minutes further. Serve warm with a cup of tea or coffee.
Store baked rolls at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container for 2 days or individually in Ziplock bags, in single layer, in the freezer for up to 2 months.