Cinnamon Buns (Kanelsnegle)

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This Summer I went to Sweden for my aunt’s 60th birthday. My parents and I flew up to Copenhagen and then drove over to Sweden, where my family has a little house in the woods in Dalarna.

To celebrate my aunt’s birthday we went on a treck across Store Mosse (the Big Bog) national park. We had to wear snow shoes so as not to sink into the marsh, and after walking for a good few hours made it to Svartgölen (‘Black Puddle’ lake), where we  swam in the lake (the sides were so steep we had to jump in, and then use a rope ladder to get back out!) and had coffee from thermoses and Swedish kanelbullar (cinnamon buns). It was great. I even got a certificate saying I had ‘wandered the bog with an instinc for adventure and for the wilderness, and survived attacks by mosquitos and midges’! I keep it on my fridge! And even though the sun was shining on the day we walked across the bog, I saw an upside-down (smiling!) rainbow, because of the high level of moisture in the air evaporating from the bog 🙂


Growing up, I spent a good amount of holidays at my grandparents’ house in Boda, and weather-wise it was always a mixed bag. And since you don’t monkey with tradition, it rained most of the time we were there this time, too. I slept in a tent on account of there being so many of us there for the birthday, and left my suitcase in the front bit of the tent, not realising the floor in the front bit wasn’t waterproof; as a result, my suitcase (and clothes) absorbed quite a lot of rainwater, making for a wonderful surprise on the last day 😉 Other highlights:


Anyways, kanelbullar; for some reason, cinnamon buns and cold and rainy weather go really well together. I think this is directly linked to the Danish concept of ‘hygge‘, which roughly translates into a feeling of cosiness and the absence of anything bothersome or frustrating, preferably with candles or a fire, and something sweet to nibble on! Danes are way, way into hygge. And for the past week or so, Autumn has seriously settled in in Brussels; the days are growing shorter, and I have had to dig out my woollen socks and mittens. As a result, I am finding myself in great need of hygge, and since cinnamon buns spell hygge, I made some today.

A few days ago I found this recipe for one-hour cinnamon rolls, which promises fluffy, yummy cinnamon buns with no need to leave the dough to rise. Well then! I decided to try it out, although I gave it a ‘Scandinavification’, adding cardammom to the dough, and baking the buns seperately on a tray instead of close together in a dish. I must say, though, that I’m not a huge huge fan of instant dry yeast; I found that it left quite a strong flavour, which is probably partly due to the amount used int he recipe (in order to be able to bake the buns without rising first) – I’m not sure. But they were still very tasty, and I had no problem eating four throughout the afternoon 😉

I will probably go back to my old recipe, although more time consuming! But should you be in need of super easy cinnamon buns in a jiffy, this is the recipe to use.

For the dough, you will need:

  • 350 g / 2 ½ cups flour + more if needed (I used about 35 g / a ¼ cup more)
  • 240 ml / 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used sunflower oil, but I think any mild-tasting oil would do)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cardammom

And for the filling:

  • 115 g / 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 150 g /1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon

Prehat your oven to 170˚C / 325˚F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Warm the buttermilk for just under a minute in the microwave on high, until it feels warm but not hot. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the dough; make a well in the middle, and add the oil and buttermilk. With a fork, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until the dough starts to come together. If the dough seems very wet still, add a little amount more flour, then knead the dough for as long as you can be bothered! (I don’t have an electric mixer so I use my hands. My rule of thumb is to, once the dough starts to feel smooth and springy, knead for at least 200 more counts).

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On a very lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle. Smear the soft butter onto the dough, leaving a margin of about an inch/2-3 cm. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly onto the butter. Roll as tightly as you can into a log.

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Cut the log into 14 slices, using either a sharp cerrated knife or dental floss (it really works, this is the first time I’ve tried it! I only had floss with mint flavour, but it didn’t rub off onto the cinnamon buns, thankfully 😉 ). Place on the baking trays with a few centimetes between them, making sure to tuck in the end of the dough under the cinnamon bun, so that it doesn’t come undone while baking. Flatten the buns with the palm of you hand, then bake for about 15 minutes, until the cinnamon buns start to golden very lightly.

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Let cool, then drizzle with a glaze made of 100 g icing sugar and 1 ½ tbsp just boiled water.

Cinnamon buns keep reasonably well until the next day, kept in an air-tight container, but are definitely best on the first day. You can freeze any leftover ones (just don’t frost them before freezing).



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