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Finnish Cardamom Buns: A Long Wait

Finnish Cardamom Buns, breakfast

Sometimes, I sit on recipes so long that they become sort of a conundrum. Should I still write about them on the site, even though I made something months ago? Was there a particular reason why I didn’t write about said recipe shortly after making it?

When I first tried to commit to posting 2-3 times per week, I knew that I had to try new recipes A LOT. I rarely ever found myself making the same dish twice. But then, I suddenly started accumulating photos on my laptop faster than I could write about everything I was making. Sometimes, the photos got pushed down so much that I nearly forgot about a certain recipe. That is, until I’d scroll through all of my photos and realize that it’s truly a shame that I never shared something here.

I feel that way about these cardamom buns from the cookbook “Falling Cloudberries.” I don’t know how you decide to make a recipe, but often I obsess over something for a few weeks before actually making it. I felt that way about these beet ravioli that I told you about and cinnamon rolls.

When Matt and I took a roadtrip to Portland last summer, I had quite possibly my most favorite morning sweet ever at the Sparrow Bakery: an Ocean Roll (essentially, a morning bun with cardamom, sugar and salt). I’d never thought of cardamom as a flavor that I loved, but after having this dessert, I started identifying it in many other delicious things. I began adding it to everything from granola to pancakes to cookies. It just has this very assertive heat about it that I love as a contrast in sweets.

Having had the Ocean Roll, I was dying to find something similar to try to make at home and came upon this recipe doing a Google search. I saved the link and decided that I just had to get Tessa’s book. The first time I made these buns, I misread the recipe and used twice the amount of butter. The buns still tasted great. The second time, I stuck closer to the recipe, and they, again, came out great.

The best way I can describe these little buns, which are definitely not your average cinnamon roll, is to compare them to big rugelech (not quite crumbly, though – more flaky). They’re on the drier side compared to the traditional cinnamon bun, dense, and beautifully bring forward the cardamom flavor. It’s true, this recipe has been sitting in my folder since last summer, but it’s certainly no reflection on how good these morning pastries are.

Cardamom Buns
adapted from Falling Cloudberries
*makes about 30-35 buns

For the buns:
1 cup of warm milk
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1 ounce of fast acting yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
1/4 pound plus one tablespoon of butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of salt
5 1/4 cups of flour

For the bun filling:
1/4 cup of sugar plus more, for sprinkling
5 1/2 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
1 egg, beaten lightly with a fork
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

*Optional: if you really love your cardamom, you can feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon of it to your filling as well. You can also use large sugar granules for sprinkling.

1. Combine the milk and sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let the mixture stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes (until the yeast begins to foam).
2. Stir in the beaten egg, butter, cardamom, and salt. Next, add the flour, a little at a time, stirring it with a wooden spoon or your hands.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes, until it becomes soft and pliable.
4. Transfer the dough back to the bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let the dough rise for two hours.
5. Make the filling by mixing the cinnamon, sugar and butter in a medium bowl.
6. Once the dough has risen, divide it into 4 equal portions. Cover the portions you are not working on as you roll out one portion into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
7. Spread about a quarter of the filling over the dough. Roll the dough, forming a sausage of sorts.
8. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F to allow it to warm up as you finish shaping the dough.
10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To shape the buns, slice the logs diagonally, making V-shaped buns about 2 inches in length at their widest part.
11. Turn the V’s so that their thinnest end is pointing up and they are sitting on their thicker base. Press down the pointy edge at the center and push it down until in meets the base. Repeat this process for all of the buns.
12. Place the buns about an inch apart on the baking sheets and brush them with the egg wash. Dust with some sugar and let them sit at room temperature for another 30 minutes before baking for about 20 minutes.
13. The buns are done when they are a light golden brown. Eat them warm.

Musical Pairings: The Vagrants – I Can’t Make A Friend: 1965-1968 + Cardamom Buns

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • I’ve heard great things about the Falling Cloudberries cookbook, do you recommend it? I once added twice the butter to a biscuit recipe and they spread and didn’t look much like biscuits, but boy were they good!

  • Nicole- haha, more butter tends to never be a bad thing (even if it makes your baked goods somewhat unrecognizable). I do really like Falling Cloudberries – it takes you through so many different places and is quite eclectic, but very inspiring. I’ve made a number of tasty things from it- including salmon ceviche (in the archives), chickpea, parsley and feta salad, baked lima beans, roast chicken and chocolate cake..I’m always finding more stuff I want to make, too!

  • I love your description of these! They do look like rugelech, but I like that they are flakier (and much more beautiful, I think).

  • Thanks, Jeannette! I also prefer the flakiness…rugelech are a bit too dry for my taste.

  • What a sweet treat. I just purchased a bag of cardamom pods and can’t wait to make these. I’m going to pair them with a warm chai latte.

  • Hi Alexis! I am sure these would go great with a warm chai latte. Mmm, I’d love one right now!

  • I have printed this and will be making it this weekend. Thanks!

  • Maris: Fab! Can’t wait to hear what you think.

  • Love the taste of cardamom – such a wonderful medicinal flavour. On flights within Scandinavia the airline SAS often serves warm “kanelbullar” or cinnamon swirls on the plane which make the whole cabin smell amazing! You should definitely try and find some “Pearl sugar” – I never saw it outside Sweden although I’m sure it exists. Big white grains of sugar, like rock salt, perfect for sprinkling on top of buns like these!

  • @Charles – I have heard of Pearl sugar – I am pretty sure you can get it in the States – I’ll have to try to find it!

  • Pingback: No Carb Left Behind | You're Doing It Wrong()

  • Jody

    Am trying this recipe for the first time – could not get the dough to take more than 4 1/4c of flour – any suggestions?

  • Hi Jody, unfortunately, a lot of conditions could affect baked goods. I’m not sure why your dough wouldn’t take any additional flour – it could have to do with the type of flour you used, the temperature of your butter, etc.. I hope that you were able to proceed with the recipe and your buns still turned out!

  • Brenda

    I live in Bend. I just recently had a Sparrow Bakery Ocean Roll …. OMG, good thing it took this long. I’d probably be 50 # heavier by now. I’m also glad the bakery is across town from where I live. They have to be one of the most WONDERFUL desert rolls I’ve ever had, but are not overwhelmingly sweet. I’ll try your recipe one of these days. They look great. Brenda

  • Elizabeth Schipper

    Hello! Do you have a gluten free version of this recipe?

  • Laura

    I am trying very hard to visualize how to form these buns, but I can’t– do you cut the log diagonally twice to create the ‘v’ shape? Like this: > > > ? or is it just cutting the log diagonally like this: / / / ? From there, where is the ‘thinnest part’ of the v, and how do you press it down to meet the base? It is standing up? Which side is the cut part facing? Or, if there is a similar bun type that does this same process, can you name it so that I can look up a video/step-by-step? Thanks! (I’m from Bend, so I’m very excited to make my own ‘ocean rolls’)

  • evadiva5495

    Your 1 oz of yeast seems a bit off. That would be 4 of the little packets that you typically buy in packs of 3. And considering the amount of flour you’re using, that seemed way too much. Can you verify? I’m making these now. I used 1 packet of yeast, which is 1/4 oz. I’ll let you know how they turn out. They did indeed rise with just the 1 packet. Thanks!

  • Susan Huff

    Anyone know – salted or unsalted butter for the Cardamom Buns?

    King Arthur Flour (and I’m sure other baking ingredient suppliers) have pearl sugar.

  • Pingback: Cardamom roll recipe | pizzelle()

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