Vegan Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

This weekend, I had breakfast at a Danish bakery in London Fields with my boyfriend. It is called The Bread Station and it’s a pretty cool industrial-looking bakery/café underneath the train tracks. They mostly do wholesale to other shops, so you can actually see the bakers at work producing large quantities of pastry and sourdough bread! I had a delicious “Kanelbullar” with my coffee, which is a Swedish cinnamon bun (not very Danish, but oh well). I absolutely love cinnamon buns: the crunchy outside with the soft, enriched dough on the inside… the way you can pull the different layers apart… the delicious sugary cinnamon stuffing… need I say more?

I have wanted to make cinnamon rolls for a long time, but I could never decide which kind I wanted to make. But after seeing the lovely knotted Swedish buns, there was no doubt in my mind. I had to have a go at these myself. Swedish people love these so much, they even have a national day to celebrate them! The 4th of October is “Kanelbullens Dag” (Cinnamon Bun Day) in Sweden. Unfortunately, my timing is not that good, because it is nowhere near October, but hey: you don’t need a national day to enjoy these. The Kanelbulle is a popular treat to have during “fika”, which is the Swedish word for coffee break. It is comparable to British afternoon tea, but more often it’s coffee with pastry instead of tea with scones!

Some of you might already know that I am pescotarian (have been for 3 years now), although most of the stuff I eat is plant-based. However, because I have started to bake a lot more, I have been using a lot more animal products like eggs, milk and butter than I used to. In an attempt to reduce my use of animal products, I decided to make these buns vegan. Traditionally, Kanelbullar have a butter & sugar filling, but I have found that using vegetable oil instead of butter is just as delicious! These homemade buns were just as good (if not better!) than the non-vegan ones I had at The Bread Station.

You can get these lovely homemade buns on the table in just over 2 hours time. Trust me, it’s worth the wait! My roommate and her boyfriend were really happy with me this morning 😉 Without further ado, let’s get to the recipe.

Vegan Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

Ingredients (makes around 16 buns)

  • Dough
  • 250 ml almond milk
  • 60 ml boiling water
  • 7 gr active dried yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 370 gr plain flour
  • 40 gr white bread wheat flour + extra for dusting
  • 60 gr soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • Filling
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 100 gr soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Icing
  • 6 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Decoration
  • Handful of almond flakes

Method

Start by activating your yeast. Combine the almond milk, hot water, and 1 tsp sugar. Check the temperature: you want it to be around 26 degrees (that’s what the yeast likes). If it’s not warm enough, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. Then stir in the dried yeast and set aside to become bubbly.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, spices and sugar. I like to use a little bit of wheat bread flour next to plain flour, because I find it adds some structure. Feel free to use just plain flour if that’s what you have on hand. I do recommend adding the ground cardamom: it adds SO much to the flavour of these buns. It is definitely worth spending the few pounds on to get!

Make a well in the middle and pour in the oil and the activated yeast mixture. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together, then flour the surface and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. The dough will be sticky in the beginning but it will get easier to handle as you go along. You might need to add a little extra flour depending on temperature and humidity, but be careful not to add it too soon as the kneading really does make the dough less sticky eventually.

Place your dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place somewhere warm and leave to prove for 1 to 1,5 hours until doubled in size.

When your dough has proved, tip it onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square until the dough is 1 cm thick. Combine the oil, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and spread the mixture on the dough. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spread the mixture out until you can only see around 1 cm of the edges (so bit more than the photo on top). Then, fold the dough like an envelop: take the upper edge and fold it 1/3 down, then take the bottom edge and fold that op 1/3d of the way. Roll the envelop out again so that you get a rectangle of around 40×20 cm. Divide in long, 2cm wide strips. Watch the following video to see how to knot your buns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHNFA4hcpok

Place your knotted cinnamon buns on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake them for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size). When they’re cooled halfway, whip up a quick icing by combining powdered sugar with some water (the more powdered sugar you add, the thicker and whiter the icing, the more water the more translucent and thin the icing. You do you!). Top the buns with your icing and sprinkle some almond flakes on top. Enjoy!

Serve these lovely buns with a cup of steaming hot coffee and indulge! Be sure to show me your results if you do try this recipe. I love to see your bakes, so get in touch on instagram

Lots of love, Tori

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The Pancake Series #2: Healthy Turmeric & Apple Pancakes

Turmeric is one of my favourite spices. I always have some powdered turmeric stored in my cupboard. It is so incredibly versatile: I use it in lovely Indian curry dishes, but I also like to use it in sweet cooking. Although more unconventional, as turmeric is more often used savoury because of its slightly bitter, earthy aroma, I think turmeric goes wonderfully with something sweet! No wonder the “turmeric latte” is very popular, appearing on more and more menus in London coffee shops.

The turmeric latte is actually what inspired me to make this dish for lunch today. My mum came home from the hairdresser this morning, proclaiming she wanted to stop drinking as much coffee. So I asked her if she maybe wanted to have a turmeric latte instead. She replied: “Why would I want that? Putting turmeric in it doesn’t mean it’s not coffee anymore, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid!” I laughed, because this is exactly the same mistake I made the first time I ordered a turmeric latte in a cafe. Baffled, I asked the waitress: “Uhm, maybe I’m being really weird, but are you sure there’s coffee in this?” She looked at me funnily and said: “I sure hope not, ’cause it’s supposed to be without any coffee!”. So there I had it: a latte without coffee. And then I realized, of course “latte” does not mean COFFEE WITH MILK. It just means: MILK. It’s just that we are so used to ordering a “latte” that we tend to forget that it’s basically an abbreviation of caffè latte. So I made my mum and myself a turmeric latte (real easy: heat up 400 ml soy milk, or any other milk, in a small saucepan add 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp vanilla extract & whisk til the top becomes frothy, and serve in a glass!). My mum absolutely loved it. And I said to her: could you put this in a pancake?

The answer is Hell. Yes. You can definitely put turmeric in a pancake. One trip to Google.com and I would’ve had the answer, but instead I just went for it. And boy, was I happy I did. I decided to pair the turmeric with some grated apple and it just works. You have to try it for yourself, because my descriptions wouldn’t really do it justice. These pancakes are super healthy: I had these for lunch after my 6k run today and felt re-energized immediately! There is no butter or artificial sugar in these, just one egg, one apple, wholemeal spelt flour, oat flour and soy milk. The topping is quark (a really thick sort of yoghurt with a high protein and low fat content that is very common in The Netherlands), some roughly chopped hazelnuts and some left-over grated apple. And of course, there is turmeric in these pancakes. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties*. Not only is inflammation bad for your bodily health, there is new evidence suggesting that depression can be caused by inflammation levels too. I just started reading a book about it and I find it very interesting, it’s called The Inflamed Mind by Edward Bullmore. Further research should elucidate this more, but for now I’ll happily put a teaspoon of turmeric in my pancakes! Turmeric’s yellow colour makes me happy already so even if that’s all driving the effect, that’s fine by me. Let’s get to that recipe now.

Turmeric & Apple Wholemeal Pancakes

Ingredients (for 1 portion)

  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 large apple (I used Jonagold)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40 gr wholemeal spelt flour
  • 10 gr wholemeal fine oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 80 ml light soy milk (or any other milk)
  • 2 tbsp quark (or a low-fat, high-protein yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp hazelnuts
  • some oil for frying

Method

Peel and grate the apple coarsely (if you do it too finely, it is a bit too wet). Place the grated apple in a bowl, reserving just a teaspoon or so for decorating. Add the egg, turmeric, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk to combine everything. Then, add the spelt flour, the oats (you can use these in any ratio you like, as long as you add 50 grams in total) and the baking powder. Whisk again and then add your milk. I like to use light soy milk, because it adds sweetness without the cals. 😉 You might not need all of the milk: keep adding and whisking until the batter is the thickness you desire. I like mine thick but still pourable. Bake the pancakes in a little bit of oil of your choice. I used sunflower oil because it has a neutral flavour, it can resist high temperatures and it contains mostly unsaturated fats (the healthy kinda fat). Bake on low-medium heat til browned on both sides and stack the pancakes. Top with two tablespoons of quark, the left-over grated apple, some hazelnuts (just smash them a bit with a pestle & mortar or chop them) and a tiny sprinkle of ground turmeric. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed the story about how today’s bake came about. Do let me know when you try these. I love seeing your results! Feel free to share on Instagram and tag me @bakingstori. Until next time! X

*Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric#section7