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 🙂

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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:

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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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Rainy Day Cinnamon Bun Cake (Kanelsneglskage)

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Adapted from Lil’ Luna

It was raining yesterday, and the rain sounds lovely in my apartment, drip-dropping on my roof
(I live on the fourth floor, so some of my walls are made of roof!).

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Rainy Autumn days (even if it is, technically, still Summer? Or at least it was still August on Sunday! September is definitely an Autumn month.. no? I can’t believe September is here already…) always make me crave cinnamon buns. Truth be told, I crave cinnamon buns most of the time; we’re big on cinnamon in Scandinavia. In Denmark, cinnamon buns are called kanelsnegle – ‘cinnamon snails’ – because of their shape (obviously 😉 ), and while I have made them a lot, they take aaaaages, with the rising of the dough, and the rolling out… So I rarely make them these days, even though they really are worth the fuss. Enter: the cinnamon bun cake.

I printed this recipe out to test about a week ago, and a rainy Sunday afternoon seemed the perfect time to make something sweet, rich and cinnamony. Oh and easy!

Although I did have some trouble with the swirling of the cinnamon-sugar-butter gloop – it just wouldn’t swirl for me. So I will have to practice my swirling, because it really does make for a more beautiful-looking cake (I may try adding a tbsp more butter next time, to make the filling a little runnier, or leave out the 2 tbsp flour – I’ll let you know how this goes!). But man, it tastes good just the same – sweet, buttery, cinnamony, just like a cinnamon bun with more of the filling! I’m definitely a fan. If you like cinnamon buns, I’m sure you will be too 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the batter

  • 375 g ~ 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200 g ~ 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 360 ml ~ 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115 g ~ ½ cup butter, melted

For the filling

  • 170 g ~ ¾ cups butter, softened
  • 200 g ~ 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flour

For the glaze

  • 250 g ~ 2 cups icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp just-boiled water

Preheat your oven to 180° Celsius ~ 350° Farhenheit ~ gas mark 4, and grease a baking pan
(more or less 22×34 cm ~ 9×13 inches).

In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.

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In another bowl, briefly whisk together the eggs and milk, and poor this into the flour mixture a little at a time, whisking well after each time, until you’ve incorporated all the eggy milk into the flour and the batter is smooth.

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Poor in your melted butter, and gently whisk until the butter has just been absorbed and you have a shiny, thick batter. Poor into your prepared baking tray.

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Make the filling by mixing the ingredients in a bowl.

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Distribute evenly across the batter, using two teaspoons. With a knife, make cinnamon-butter swirls throughout your cake! (Or, if you’re me, try to do this, and end up with something much less dignified-looking, but delicious all the same).

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Bake for about 30 minutes until the cake begins to brown nicely.

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When your cake is out of the oven, prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar and just-boiled water until there are no icing sugar lumps (giggle at the words ‘sugar lumps’).

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Drizzle this over your cake while it’s still warm from the oven. Eat some straight away, or wait until it’s cooled down a bit, if you can 🙂 It’s equally good once cooled, and stays super moist because of the filling. I think this would keep well for several days, if kept covered.

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Hope you like it! I’m already planning to make a second (hopefully prettier) batch! I need to practice my swirling.

P.s.: I also tried making this as cupcakes a few days later, and it turned out ok – but I like the ‘cake’ cake version better, this cake wasn’t made to be teeny tiny and fussy… I think for this to work in cupcake form, I would need to get a jumbo muffin tin! Makes for about 36 little cupcakes, baked for approximately 20 minutes. 🙂

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