Saturday, December 10, 2022

Swedish Cardamom Buns

I've been meaning to share this recipe for several years now.  I was so delighted with it I knew I had to share it with you. And it came about by pure necessity.  I have a friend who is Swedish and she was missing her home and in particular Swedish Cardamom Buns and she asked me if I would make some for her.  To be honest I had never heard of them so I had to look up what they were.  I found numerous recipes recipes online but they each seemed fraught with their own complications.  So I combined what seemed to be the best aspects of several recipes with a few personal dashes of my own tossed in for good measure and this is the resulting recipe.

As I mentioned, I had never even heard of these buns before my friend requested that I make them.  But according to Sandra they are the best Swedish Cardamom Buns she's ever had.  I certainly love them and have made them for the past 3 Christmas seasons.  The recipe is reliable, delicious and fun to share with others because it's very much a unique taste and bakery quality.  I hope you will enjoy them too!

Oh, and don't be alarmed when you look at the instructions!  I haven't timed myself but if I start around 9 in the morning the buns are out of the oven by 1 or 2 in the  afternoon.  The most time intensive part is preparing the dough and filling.

Swedish Cardamom Buns

~ yield 16 buns~

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast (just under 1 package)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm whole milk (100-110 degrees)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups (480g to 540g) bread flour - divided - (I use Bob's Mills Artisian Bread Flour)
  • 1/2 scant cup (92g) granular sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. heaping fresh ground cardamom (see Note 1 below)
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter - softened (I used European style or Kerry Gold)

Filling Ingredients:

  • 11 Tbs. unsalted butter - softened
  • 1/4 cup granular sugar
  • 1 tsp. heaping fresh ground cardamom (see Note 1 below)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Egg Wash:
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Tbs. water
  • Garnish: Swedish pearl sugar


  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granular sugar
  • drop of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

NOTE 1:  For this recipe is it extremely important that you use freshly ground cardamom.  I purchased green cardamom pods on Amazon (2oz) for $9.99 and used a mortar and pestle to crush the pods, extract the seeds and grind.  This may sound like it's unnecessary work but it goes quickly and there. is. no. substitute.  This should be done only minutes before using to preserve the fresh sparkle of taste which is quickly lost. If you use pre-ground cardamom you will not achieve the same result..


1.  Heat milk to 100-110 degrees and add dry yeast.  Mix until all yeast is dissolved.  Add egg to milk mixture and lightly beat.  Set aside.

2.  Combine the following dry dough ingredients in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment (4 cups (480g) bread flour, granular sugar, salt, and ground cardamom).  Mix to combine.    

3.  Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix until dough starts to come together.  If your dough is very wet you can add some of the remaining 1/2 cup (60g) of flour until a wet shaggy dough comes together.  Try not to add too much flour.  I generally add about 1/4 cup flour to get the right consistency.  Allow this wet dough mixture to "rest" for 20 minutes and allow the flour to absorb the wet ingredients.

4.  After the resting period change to a dough hook set at low and begin adding the softened butter.  Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time allowing the dough hook to mix until the butter is fully incorporated before adding more.  Do not rush this process.  After all 8 tablespoons have been incorporated increase to a low/medium speed and kneed for 10 minutes.  Perform window pane test and if necessary continue kneading for another couple of minutes at a higher speed until passing the window pane test.

5.  Remove dough to a very lightly greased bowl and cover.  Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

6.  While dough is resting prepare filling by whipping the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) to a soft and spreadable consistency.  Save the ground cardamon to sprinke on top of your filling.

7.  Prepare 2 baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.

8.  Roll out dough to approximately 16" x 24."  Spread butter mixture evenly over dough and sprinkle with ground cardamon.  Fold dough in half length wise and using a pizza wheel cut 16 strips.  Twist into knots (watch this video).

8.  Transfer dough to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Cover loosely with tea towels.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200C)  (N.B. with this recipe I usually do not use a baking stone in the oven as I believe the additional heat causes the filling ingredients to spill). Allow buns to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until roughly double in size.  Note: you will get a nice oven rise as well once the buns are in the oven.

9.  Mix egg and water to create a wash.  Brush buns with wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar.  Bake for  15 minutes, or until internal temp is 200F.    If baking 2 sheets at once rotate pans half way through baking.

10.  While buns are baking make syrup by boiling water and sugar until thickened.  Add a drop of vanilla bean paste.  Set aside.

11. While buns are still hot brush with syrup.  These buns are best still warm from the oven.  Left overs can be frozen.  Reheat by placing in 300F oven for 10 minutes or simply pop frozen buns in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.


Update on These Past Few Years ~

I won't dwell too much on these past few years.  They have been sad years as I lost my father to Lou Gehrig's Disease; Simcha to old age; and recently my mother to dementia.  But we do have the joy of adding a new puppy to our lives and we named him Tadash (which means "renewal" in Hebrew) and he has brought renewal of life and spirit into our home.  Here he is at age five months.  He's a year and a half now but he was born with an old spirit and seemed to entirely pass by the puppy stage.  We love him to bits.

On my last posting I  mentioned that I was using my time during the pandemic lockdowns to learn to draw and I continue to find drawing an enjoyable creative outlet.  I particularly like wildlife drawings and  below are a couple of my recent pictures.  For the lion cub I used both soft pastels and pastel pencils (my reference image was free curtesy of Antony Trivet a Wedding Photographer in Kenya that I found on Pixabay) and the bear was drawn using pastel pencils with the assistance of a tutorial by Jason Morgan on Youtube.  I have found this approach to learning to be the most effective for me, namely, watching tutorials to learn a medium and then applying that skill to a picture of my choosing.

I haven't knit for years now but with the winter we are having this year I just might start knitting again!  We are having an extraordinarily cold and wet winter and I've been dragging out shawls and mittens that haven't seen the light of day for years!  I do have a beautiful Icelandic sweater that I finished but hadn't worn until this year and maybe it's time to take a few pictures....   

Until next time, be well, love well, and enjoy this holiday season and perhaps start a new Christmas tradition by adding Swedish Cardamom Buns to your holiday fare!