Happy New Year everyone! This is the first new recipe of 2019 and I am super excited about it. Vasili recently surprised me with a new recipe book I had been dying to have, The Nordic Baking Book by Magnus Nilsson. It features recipes from all across Scandinavia, and details the history and techniques of those areas. The paternal side of my family is from Sweden, and I was lucky enough to travel there in 2017. The recipes in this book take me back to that amazing trip and the family traditions I experienced growing up. These cardamom buns specifically are pastries I saw (and ate) in several bakeries during my trip, so I am thrilled to finally make my own!
Working with Recipes using Weight Measurements
If you’ve never measured your ingredients by weight before, you may be thrown by the units used in this recipe. The truth is, it’s almost always better to use weight than volume. When measuring by volume (ie cups), there is a larger margin of error in your ingredient amounts. Depending on what you’re making, this may not change much. But it’s better to be on the safe side, especially when making something that requires delicate ratios like this yeast-leavened pastry dough.
All you need to do this, is a simple kitchen scale. The best part? They are super affordable! Then you can say goodbye to carefully spooning ingredients into your measuring cup, and just use a single bowl and scale. I’ve included the cups amount in this recipe in case you don’t have a scale, but I highly recommend using grams.
Another reason why it’s important to get familiar with measuring by grams is because its the standard way in any country that uses the metric system. (Hint: almost all of them!) The recipe I used for these buns was Swedish, and so everything was given in grams. You can certainly go through the process of converting a recipe from grams to cups, but it won’t be quite as accurate and it’s a lot of work!
This recipe may have a few aspects that you aren’t familiar with, but I promise it’s not hard. The trickiest part is twisting and coiling the dough into shape. As with most processes like that, it can be easier to understand from an image than from written instructions. I have included this diagram, straight from the Nordic Baking Book, to help you get the hang of it. Plus, you can always shape your buns however you want! No need to stress.
Another peculiarity is the use of Swedish pearl sugar. You may have seen it before, but it creates the classic look of these Swedish pastries. I really wanted to include it in my cardamom buns, but it’s totally optional. If you want to try it out, heres the link to the one I got from Amazon.
- Sweet Dough
- 37.5 g melted butter (2 1/2 T)
- 125 mL whole milk (1/2 c. + 2 tsp)
- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 22.5 g granulated sugar (2 T)
- 200 g bread flour (1 1/2 c. + 1 T)
- 37.5 g softened butter (2 1/2 T)
- 11 g granulated sugar (1 T)
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 T honey
- 1 tsp water
- 1/2 T sugar
- 1/8 tsp cardamom
- 2 T Swedish Pearl Sugar (optional)
- Combine melted butter with milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. (Be sure mixture is warm enough to activate yeast) Stir in yeast to dissolve it.
- Stir in salt, sugar and cardamom and then with a dough hook add flour gradually.
- Keep the mixer on low speed to knead the dough until it comes together and doesn't stick to the bowl. (about 5-10 minutes)
- Cover the bowl and leave to rise in a warm area until doubled in size. (about 30-50 minutes)
- Mix the softened butter together with the sugar and cardamom in a small bowl for the filling.
- Once the dough has doubled, turn out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a rectangle about 8x12 inches and spread the filling on one half.
- Fold the non-filled half up so your dough is about 8x6 inches, and cut lengthwise into 4-6 strips. Then make a slice in each strip from the bottom up, leaving about 1 1/2 inches not cut. (each strip should now have an end and then split into two strips)
- Holding the non cut end in one hand, use the other hand to spiral the two strips together and then begin to coil them around the hand holding the end. When you are at the end of your dough, pull the strip up over the top and secure under the bun. (Use this diagram to help in steps 6-8)
- Place buns on parchment lined pans and let sit until doubled in size (about 30 mins)
- Bake in oven preheated to 425 F for 10 minutes, until golden brown.
- Stir together honey and water, and brush on baked buns. Sprinkle sugar, cardamom on honey, and top with Swedish pearl sugar (if using).
Use this image to help while slicing/shaping the buns.
Recipe adapted from The Nordic Baking Book.