Swedish cardamom buns, or kardemummabullar in Swedish, are soft and fluffy sweet buns filled with an aromatic and buttery cardamom filling. You can shape them like cinnamon rolls or more fancy like these cardamom knots - either way they will be delicious!
I even made a video for you to see the shaping of the knots, it's one of those things that are easy to do but hard to explain, you know. Like how to lattice a pie crust, hopeless trying to explain that, but it is quite easy. Well, I made a video of the whole recipe, but if you just want to see the shaping, skip to 01:53. You're welcome.
If the video clip doesn't show up somewhere on the blog post, you can also see the recipe on YouTube.
More bun recipes
As a Scandinavian, I grew up with buns in all shapes and sizes, flavors and textures, filled or not. Yes, we LOVE bread and buns. That is also why I force all these recipes on to you, Scandinavian or not, I'm going to convert you into a bun lover.
So if you're interested (you should be interested), here are my other favorites as well:
- Basic sweet buns (the classic they are all based on, tons of valuable tips here!)
- Vanilla custard and coconut sweet buns (known as skoleboller)
- Vanilla custard filled crescent rolls (Norwegians are also crazy about vanilla custard)
- Scandinavian cinnamon rolls (they do NOT need icing!)
- Pumpkin brown butter rolls (yes, they are as amazing as they sound)
- Saffron buns (lussekatter or lussebullar, the perfect Christmas buns!)
You now have a bun recipe for every occasion, and at least one (preferably two) of these should at all times be in your freezer.
Freezer friendly, make ahead buns
Yes, all buns are extremely forgiving when it comes to making them ahead and freezing them. Bread turns stale relatively quickly on the counter, but you can get fresh-out-of-the-oven buns each time you have them. That's a fact.
All you do is pre-heat your oven to about 300F (150C) and add the frozen buns, it takes roughly 10 minutes for them to thaw. It will depend a little on the variety of bun, for example the vanilla custard coconut buns take a little longer and they should also be frozen without the coconut icing (I'm talking all about that in the respective post above).
The kardemummabullar will be fluffy with a slight crisp on the outside with a delectable cardamom smell embracing your kitchen like a warm Scandi hug. It truly is divine and so, so worth taking up space in your freezer.
Do you know the Swedish phenomenon 'fika'? It means 'to have a coffee' but actually, it's more like a state of mind, a concept. How Swedes make time to sit down with friends or colleagues for a cup of coffee or tea and something to eat, often something sweet like cardamom buns or a slice of apple cake.
Fika is huge in Sweden, and according to Fikarapporten (yes Fika report is apparently a thing!), they spend about 9.5 days a year having fika. That includes small fikapaus (fika breaks) during work hours as well, where they exchange knowledge and nurture relationships. However, not all those hours and days are spent eating sweets. That's the bigger lunch fika.
But fika is always better with cardamom buns, right?
Start by mixing the dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (1). In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, add in the milk and check the temperature. It should be lukewarm at about 102F (39C), reheat a little if necessary.
When it has the right temperature, whisk in the fresh yeast (if using active dry yeast instead, mix it with the dry ingredients) (2). Add the egg to the dry mixture, along with the butter-yeast mixture and knead (3).
Knead until the dough lets go of the bowl, somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky but will not stick to your fingers when you test (4-5). Cover with a towel and place on a warm, non-drafty spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1.5 hours, but that will depend on the climate (6).
Meanwhile, make the filling
I like to use (green) cardamom pods for this recipe. Just pulse them in a spice grinder until powder form. However, there is zero problem in using pre-ground cardamom.
Mix the cardamom with softened butter and sugar with a stand mixer or handheld mixer until smooth. Easy peasy!
Once the dough has doubled, pour it onto a work surface and cut it in two equal pieces. Take one piece and roll it out to about 23x16 in (60x40 cm) (8). Spread the cardamom filling on ⅔ of the dough (9). Then take the un-spread part over half of the spread part (10), and take the bottom half that is spread, on top of that again (11). Almost like an envelope effect.
Now roll it a little more just to blend the cardamom into the dough. The size of this depends on how long strips you want for your knots, I like to roll it to 12x16 in (30x40 cm) (12). Then, using a pizza cutter, cut 1 inch (2.5 cm) strips (13).
How to shape them into cardamom knots
As I mentioned, this is one of those things that are hard to explain, but easy to do, so if you find it difficult to understand by words (I am NOT judging), then the video may be more in handy for you, or the GIF.
Take one strip of dough. While you twist the strip around itself, turn it around three of your fingers, then take the ends and tuck them in under, securing the knot. Here's also a short GIF if you're so inclined.
Let them rest on a parchment lined baking sheet under a towel until again doubled in size. This time it takes about 45 minutes, and in the meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 440F (230C).
Right before you bake them, whisk an egg together and brush on top of each bun, and then sprinkle with some coarse sugar. That way you get a beautiful golden crust and a little extra texture from the sugar. If you want less texture, then omit the coarse sugar. You can also reduce temperature and bake for longer if you don't want the crisp-ish exterior.
Bake for around 9 minutes or until golden and when you tap the underside, it makes a hollow sound! Let them rest on a cooling rack.
These cardamom buns are best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee and good company - just like a fika should be!
Did you like this recipe? Here are more Scandinavian treats I think you would like:
- Nordic mulled wine (gløgg, and it is easy to make non-alcoholic!)
- Sheet pan chocolate cake (Norwegian chocolate birthday langpannekake)
- Homemade berry cordial (preferably made with red currants, but raspberries can work)
- Apricot and rum pastry cream soft cakes (omg you have to try this)
- 4-ingredient almond crunch milk chocolates (krokanrull)
- Norwegian gingerbread cookies
- Norwegian krumkake cookies
- ... or just head to my Scandinavian category page for the newest!
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