Monday, March 14, 2011

Swedish Cinnamon Butterhorns (Kanelbullar)



Doesn't this look like the perfect weekend breakfast?  Warm cinnamon and sugar rolls, straight out of the oven, a little bit of sweet fruit, and a warm cup of coffee... All enjoyed while relaxing in your pajamas with the morning paper or your favorite magazine.  Yes, that is my idea of a perfect weekend breakfast.  Of course, I would like these butterhorns any day for breakfast, but I find the weekends allow for the time needed to savor a simple European sweet bread such as this. 


Swedish Cinnamon Butterhorns, or Kanelbullar, are the Scandinavian equivalent of the American cinnamon roll.  Translated, Kanelbullar literally means cinnamon (kanel) bun (bullar or bulle), and it is an appropriate name since these are delicately spiced with cinnamon and less sweet than their American cousins.  These breads can be shaped in a spiral like a traditional cinnamon roll, or in a crescent like the ones I have here.  While almost all American cinnamon rolls are topped with a sticky sweet glaze, Kanelbullar can stand on its own or it can be dressed up with a little powdered sugar or a traditional glaze.


I first made these rolls almost four years ago now, when I decided that I would impress my Norwegian boyfriend with my baking prowess.  (Not that I had a lot of baking prowess four years ago, I think I was blinded by love.)  He was returning home from a summer trip to Norway, and I wanted to surprise him with something I knew he would appreciate so I headed to the library and checked out The Great Scandinavian Baking Book.  I figured if an authentic recipe was to be had, I would find it there.  

Of course, when I paged through the cookbook, the problem ended up being that I found too many great recipes and had trouble choosing!  I finally landed on these Kanelbullar which seemed easy to make and didn't have any bells or whistles to trip me up.  I got it right on the first try, and when my boyfriend arrived from the airport he promptly ate four of them.  I suppose that means they got the seal of approval.



I think what I love most about this recipe is that you can make the dough ahead of time (the night before if you want these for breakfast) and then finish them whenever you please.  And for those yeast-phobes out there, this recipe has no kneading and you let the rising happen in the refrigerator.  Are you convinced yet?

In all actuality, I wonder if it really might be pretty difficult to convince many Americans to eat this type of sweet bread.  Here in the US, we seem to be obsessed with cloying and rich desserts; more delicately sweet yeast-based treats often aren't even on our radar, and faced with a choice between a Kanelbullar and jelly-filled doughnut, the latter would undoubtedly win.  Is this just a historical cultural difference, since it seems there is more of a bread-making tradition in Europe?  Or is it more a reflection of the alarming American diet?  I can't really say.  All I know is that I love these Kanelbullar, and I hope there will be more of a trend towards these types of desserts in the future. 

Adding a light egg wash makes the top of the dough shiny before baking.

Perfectly golden after baking, with just the smallest sprinkling of sugar on top.

A little bit of of cinnamon and sugar peeking out from inside the roll.


When I was talking to my boyfriend about which ones of my favorite recipes I wanted to make for my birthday week, I mentioned Kanelbullar.  He raised his eyebrows in surprise and laughed a little bit, because I think he didn't realize just how much I love these rolls.  They are simple and homey and make me think of him and his heritage, and that is not even considering the taste and texture - just sweet enough, with a strong note of cinnamon as well as a softness from butter and a perfect crumb.  Kanelbullar could be perfect for so many occasions, or just to show someone you love them.  Use a weekend breakfast as an excuse to make these and I promise you will love them too.   




Swedish Cinnamon Butterhorns (Kanelbullar)
Adapted from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, by Beatrice Ojakangas
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book


1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup warm water (ideally between 90-115 degrees F)
1 package active dry yeast (3/4 oz, or 21 g)
6 cups all-purpose flour


Filling:
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon


Egg wash:
1 large egg beaten with 2 tbsp milk 


A few teaspoons of granulated sugar for sprinkling on the top


In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk until hot, then add butter and stir until butter is dissolved.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a small dish, add yeast to warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat together eggs, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, then beat in cooled milk as well as yeast mixture.  Add flour in two additions, mixing well to make a smooth but thick batter.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 and up to 24 hours. 


When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking liner.  Remove dough from the fridge and divide into four parts.  Working with one 1/4 of the dough, roll it into a ball using your hands, then transfer it to a well-floured surface and roll it into a 12-inch circle.  Spread 1/4 of the softened butter on the dough round, then mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1/4 of the mixture over the butter.  Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice the round into 8 wedges.  Starting at the wide, outer edge of one of the wedges, roll the dough towards the inside, pointed edge, forming a crescent shaped roll.  Transfer to the lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.  Cover the rolls with a towel and let rise for about 45 minutes in a draft-free area.  


Before baking, lightly brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash, and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on the tops.  Cool on baking sheet on a cooling rack, then transfer Kanelbullar to an airtight container.  Will keep for 3-4 days, or longer if refrigerated and well-sealed.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.  

44 comments:

  1. Lovely Kanelbullar! I love cinnamon-based goodies. Today I am making the Finnish cousin of that speciality (I'll blog about them soon)...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. You have that book! I've been thinking to buy it since years now...
    These rolls looks wonderful and so easy to make...nice recipe

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  3. I totally agree that this would be the perfect weekend breakfast. I am gradually getting over my fear of yeast and these certainly look like I could manage them. Lovely photos too.

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  4. Kanelbullars are great, not overly sweet.

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  5. These look wonderful- never tried them or even heard of them!

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  6. lovely! I am so fond of baking cinnamon rolls and buns- this is a recipe from heaven ;) Bookmarked!

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  7. I could eat these every day! They look the perfect blend. You don't need much convincing on my part.

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  8. I like the site of this Swedish cousin!

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  9. Wow, these look fabulous! My cinnamon roll/crescent roll loving family would be all over these~

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  10. You're right these look perfect for a weekend brunch. I'll have to give them a try.

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  11. Gosh, I would eat about 5 right now!

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  12. Those look delicious! My Mom used to make some like that, now I'm totally craving them!

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  13. The cinnamon butter horns are looking awesome. Loved the perfect shape and taste, am going to try it soon.

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  15. These are beautiful! I wish I wasn't so affraid of yeast so that I caould make these this weekend. Guess I'll just have to keep looking at your drool-worthy pics :)

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  16. these look so, so good! My boyfriend lived in Finland for 1/2 a year... I think he would appreciate these too!

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  17. I think I love these more than American cinnamon rolls. I hope this isn't sacrilege, but I find the American version way too sweet, what with all that sticky glaze over it. I much prefer these, which really let the cinnamon shine through.

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  18. Hooray for libraries with good cookbook sections! These look divine, although I admit to being somewhat scared of making yeasty things. Not sure why...

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  19. I saw you over at 101 cookbooks and I have the same problem as you: where to begin baking out of this wonderful cookbook. These will have to join the queue (where does it end!!!?) My favorite still are the finnish cinnamon cardamom rolls in the book.

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  20. You had me at cinnamon! Great minds think alike because I posted cinnamon rolls yesterday! :) I just got a book of different European treats.. I wonder if these are in there as well! Yours look fabulous!

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  21. These look so great! The dough looks so airy and delicious. I love cinnamon, especially when it isn't overly sweetened!

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  22. They are great! In Finland we make savoury 'horns' as well, filled with cheese or sweet ones filled with jam. Brings back a lot of delicious memories :-)

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  23. I should not have looked at these at dinner time. I'm drooling. They look phenomenal.

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  24. oh my goodness! this looks so good! thank you for sharing this.

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  25. These sound so great! I love that you can make the dough ahead of time, perfect for a weekend breakfast!

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  26. Kanelbullar is my favorite :) These look great!

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  27. These are gorgeous! Love sugar and cinnamon on something baked and golden :-)

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  28. these look sooo good, and your photos are gold!

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  29. These look wonderful and not too scary! I find I prefer things that aren't horribly sweet as I get older.

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  30. This looks like my perfect weekend breakfast too! I want a cinnamon butterhorn now.

    Your photos are absolutely stunning and evoke a perfect relaxed Sunday breakfast.

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  31. So cute! Wish I can pop this to my mouth now
    !

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  32. I'm from Sweden and we call those gifflar, not kanelbullar. These are kanelbullar:
    http://raz.nu/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/kanelbullar_juni.jpg

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  33. Oh yum- I can't wait to try these!!

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  34. I am a big sucker for cinnamon anything. I lose control when I see cinnamon rolls and can have them every minute of the day. These are just calling my name. cute and every bite delicious.

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  35. These look awesome: like the delicious love child of a cinnamon bun and a crescent roll. Great point about the over-sweetening of America, too!

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  36. Perfect breakfast food. I love the shapes.

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  37. We have something similar in Italy, just not with cinnamon as Italians are not big cinnamon lovers but with jam or marmalade inside. I agree with you: the best weekend breakfast!

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  38. Weekend? This looks like the perfect EVERYDAY breakfast. :)

    Assuming someone else would make them for me so I could sleep in...

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  39. The first time I ever made butterhorns was in middle-school home ec. Ours were savory, but this would be a great brunch version. (And Happy Belated Birthday! I'm always late to the party these days.)

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  40. I think you meant to write "the mother of the american cinnamon rolls" as theyre origins are from sweden.

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  41. I'm going to start my project commercial and Who will contain the products of cinnamon and Swedish pancakes will be present .. thanq you very much

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  42. Perfect recipe! I followed step by step and yes, it WORKS! So good, so pretty! I added cardamom with the sugar-cinnamon mix, and it is marvelous. Thank you!

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