Last week I was inspired by Kati’s (of Vegan-zu-Tisch) photo on Instagram that took me right back to the time I spent in Norway. Years ago I was able to live there as a full-time student and to a degree this was the best time of my life. I felt blessed that with the help of European programmes and German student stipends I was able to spent my time walking around on the campus of Oslo university, getting to know all kinds of people, learning Norwegian and visiting German and English language classes. Coming from a background of a family that never went on vacation and where I was the first person to set foot in a university, it still sometimes seems unreal to me.
What doesn’t seem so unreal to me is the fact that I ate a lot of cinnamon buns ate the campus cafeteria. (While I didn’t know how to bake back then I sure did know how to eat!) They were huge and sweet and so soft. And they had this really special taste to them that I couldn’t place. Now I know that there was a second spice in these buns which made them so outstanding and mysterious: cardamom. It’s a spice that you almost never find in German baked goods and still it has become a huge favourite of mine. Probably because it reminds me of Oslo, the waterfront, the huge forests around the city and all the things I learned to love while being in Norway.
I have been making basic Norwegian kanelboller for ages now, usually I shape them like regular cinnamon rolls. (And call them kanelsnegler!) If you want to get fancier you can shape them like twisted knots and call them kanelknuter (cinnamon knots) or kanelsnurrer (cinnamon twirls, snurre means “to spin”). I like the word kanelsnurrer best because it’s much more fun to say.
Even though they look difficult to make, it’s actually a lot of fun and doesn’t take much time. You start by rolling the dough into a large rectangle which you then smear with vegan butter and sprinkle with a lot of sugar and cinnamon. Then, with the long edge of the dough facing you, you fold one third of the dough into the middle and then the remaining third over from the other side. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 50 x 15 cm long and cut it into 8 long strips. Twist those strips and wrap the twist around two fingers, then tuck the end of the dough into the hole where your fingers used to be. If this sounds too confusing, you can see a couple of very descriptive pictures here. (Just keep in mind that I folded the dough differently and that in my version your dough shouldn’t look long and thin after folding but rather much more compact and almost square.)
These Norwegian kanelsnurrer are an elegant twist on your favourite cinnamon bun recipe. Literally!
- 250 ml soy milk at room temperature
- 1 package instant yeast (7 g)
- 250 g whole wheat flour
- 250 g spelt flour
- 75 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
- 75 g vegan butter softened
- 60 g vegan butter softened
- 60 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To make the dough, stir together milk and yeast.
Add flours, sugar, salt, cardamom, and butter.
Knead for about ten minutes by hand.
Cover dough with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for about 90 minutes.
Roll the dough into a rectangle about 50 cm long and 30 cm wide.
Spread the vegan butter on top. Mix sugar, cinnamon,and cardamom and sprinkle on top.
Fold one third of the 50 cm long dough into the middle and then fold the other third on top, so that you have three layers.
Make sure to seal the edges and roll the dough into a rectangle, about 50 cm long and 15 cm wide.
Cut into eight long strips and twist each strip.
Roll the twisted strips around two fingers and then tuck the end of the strip into the middle of your dough knot.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the remaining strips.
Brush with melted butter and let rise covered for about 60 minutes.
Meanwile preheat the oven to 200°C.
Sprinkle the twirls with sugar and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Adapted from this recipe.