Cinnamon Rolls (Kanelbullar)


I learned about this recipe from my boyfriend, who comes from a Swedish and German heritage. This recipe is from the Swedish side, he makes it for me on St. Lucia day, a holiday commemorating St. Lucia saving a village from starvation and it is the first day of Christmas in Sweden. My boyfriend tells me that in Sweden it is traditional to eat saffron buns instead of cinnamon buns on St. Lucia day, shaped into fanciful rolls that resemble cats paws and are therefore called Lucy’s Cats (Lussekatter). His father, however, was never fond of saffron buns, and instead made these cinnamon rolls.

These make an excellent, if not traditional, breakfast. Alternatively you can enjoy them with coffee in the afternoon. A wonderful treat for the holidays for me, and a pain for my boyfriend who gets up quite early to make them on St. Lucia day! They reheat just fine, as per the recipe below, so the extras will give you a nice treat for a long while after.


2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg (3/4 for dough, 1/4 for brushing) (or use 1 in dough and another for egg wash)
3/4 tsp. whole cardamon seeds (crushed) or 1 1/2 tsp pre-ground cardamon
3 and 1/2 – 4 cups flour (bread and pastry flour or all-purpose flour)


Pärlsocker (sprinkled on top)

Below is a picture of Pärlsocker, or pearl sugar, sold at Scandinavian stores (and most if not all Ikeas). It is worth a trip to get a box especially since you won’t run out quickly.


Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F).

Melt butter in saucepan and add milk. Chill until lukewarm.

Mix all ingredients with half of flour, making sure to reserve part of the egg for later (or just use two eggs like my boyfriend), and mix with a wooden spoon until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour gradually. Save about 1 cup flour.

Sprinkle dough with small amount of flour. Cover with clean towel and let rise in warm place until double in bulk (50 – 60 min,). Punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured baking board and knead until smooth, adding small amount of flour gradually, if necessary. Shape dough into desired shapes, see below.

Yield: 1 Cinnamon Ring
or 2 Coffee Braids
or 2 dozen Cinnamon Buns

For the cinnamon buns, roll out dough into a 24×10 inch square and slather the top with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, and roll up the short way so you have a thick log. Cut into rings, so you get roughly two dozen total. You may get more or less, probably less.

Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the egg from earlier on top. Sprinkle the Pärlsocker on the top.

Bake in a VERY HOT OVEN (475 degrees F.) for 8-10 minutes, turning pan halfway through.


Note: This coffee bread keeps very well for a few days, if stored the proper way at room temperature in covered metal box with tiny air hole. It can be refreshed, just before serving, by being heated in very hot oven (450 degrees F.) until soft, about 5 min.



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