Friday, August 28, 2015

Swedish Cinnamon Roll Braid

There's something really simple, homey and absolutely delicious about a cinnamon roll. It has always played an important role in Swedish fika culture, and now we're not talking about the American Cinnabon version with all that heavy frosting (even though they are delish!), but her modest Swedish cousin, the kanelbulle.

So, what makes the Swedish cinnamon roll different from the American one? Well, I'm glad you asked! Kanelbullen is a little less sweet, it uses freshly ground cardamom in the dough, and has pearl sugar as a topping instead of frosting. It is also baked at a higher heat for a shorter time, which gives it a light crust on top that is so incredibly satisfying.

The boys and I are visiting family in Sweden right now, and since I am in the land of fika, I felt inspired to bake something Swedish. I had never made a cinnamon roll braid before, but always thought they looked pretty, so I gave it a go. Even though they might look complicated, they are actually a lot quicker to make than individual rolls.

There are so many recipes for Swedish cinnamon buns, but I found one that sounded a little extra yummy. It uses sirap in the dough and filling. Sirap, also known as golden syrup, has the consistency of molasses, but tastes more like a caramel maple syrup. You can find it at your local IKEA, in the food market section. I would say you could maybe substitute maple syrup for sirap, but it's a little runnier in it's consistency and I'm not sure how that would play out. Besides, you're probably due for another IKEA round anyway!

The recipe I used makes 40-50 buns or 4 large cinnamon roll braids, so you can definitely cut it in half and still end up with plenty of fika. Or you can make the whole recipe and keep three in the freezer for unexpected guests!

Here's a little tutorial on how to make the braid.

If using the recipe as it is, making 4 braids, you will have to cut the dough in half. Once you've done that, roll it out into a rectangle. Spread half of that delicious filling on top.

Cut the rectangle in half.

Roll the first half in toward the middle, while making sure the edge ends up under the roll. Transfer it onto a lined baking sheet.

Using a pair of scissors, make 1/4 inch wide cuts, without cutting all the way through the bottom.

Push the cut pieces to the side, alternating left and right.

Repeat all of the steps for the second roll.

Brush the braids with a whisked egg, and sprinkle the pearl sugar and almond slices on top. Let rise under a towel for 45 minutes, and then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

And this is the result!

I wish you could smell all of the wonderful warm cinnamon in this picture...

Have a wonderful weekend, friends, and happy baking!

Makes 40-50 buns or 4 braids
17 fl oz milk
50 g fresh or 12 g dry yeast
45 grams sugar 
100 ml light sirap
1 tsp grind cardamom 
800-900 g flour
150 gram butter
1 tsp salt
200 gram butter
90 g sugar
100 ml sirap
s1/3 cup shredded almond paste
vanilla sugar
4-5 tbsp. cinnamon

1 egg, beaten
Pearl sugar
sliced almonds

  1. Heat the milk to 99 degrees F. Mix some of the milk with the crumbled yeast and pour the rest of the milk into the mixture. (If using dry yeast, follow the instructions on the package.) Add salt, sugar, cardamom, sirap, and lastly flour. Mix well.
  2. Divide the butter into small cubes and add to the dough. Add more flour if needed.
  3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. In the meantime, make the filling and set aside.
  4. Put the dough on a work surface and knead it for a few minutes, then divide it in two. Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread half of the filling on top.
  5. Roll the rectangle in toward the middle and move to a covered baking sheet.
  6. Using scissors, cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices, but make sure you leave some space at the bottom, so you don't cut all the way though. Pull the pieces to the sides, every other right and left. 
  7. Brush the braids with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar and sliced almond. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

från bloggen Ur Min Kokbok
Ca 40-50 
5 dl mjölk
50 g jäst
0,5 dl socker
1 dl ljus sirap
1 tsk stött kardemumma
13-15 dl vetemjöl
150 gram smör
1 tsk salt
200 gram smör
1 dl socker
1 dl sirap
riven mandelmassa ( ca 0,5 dl riven, lite efter behag)
4-5 msk kanel

1 vispat ägg
Skivade mandlar
1. Värm mjölken till 37 grader. Blanda lite av mjölken med jästen och häll sedan i resten av mjölken. Tillsätt salt, socker, sirap och till sist mjöl. Blanda väl, den kommer vara kletig! 
2. TIllsätt smöret i kuber och låt bearbetas i maskin i ca 10 min, tillsätt mer mjöl om det behövs (det kan se omöjligt ut till en början, men låt maskinen jobba och smöret kommer arbetas in tillslut. Degen blir nu otroligt lätt att arbeta med och man behöver inte tillsätta så mycket mjöl). 
3. Jäs i 1 h. Under tiden blandar du fyllningen, jag brukar köra allt i en mixer så det blandas ordentligt.
4. Ta upp degen ur bunken och knåda några minuter. Dela i 2 delar. Kavla ut en rektangel, ca ½ cm tjock. Bred på hälften av fyllningen. Dela rektangeln på mitten.
4. Rulla ihop rektanglarna och lägg dem brett isär på en plåt med bakplåtspapper.
5. Klipp rullarna i centimetertjocka skivor men spara ca 1 cm nedtill så att de sitter ihop. Dra bitarna åt sidan, varannan höger och varannan vänster. Dra ut dem en bit till så att bitarna ligger lutade bakåt.
6. Pensla längderna med uppvispat ägg och strö över sötmandel. Låt dem jäsa under bakduk i ca 30 min. Sätt ugnen på 200 grader.
7. Grädda längderna längst ner i ugnen i 25–30 min. Låt dem svalna på plåten.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Gooey Mint Chocolate Birthday Surprise

My hubby's birthday was a few weeks ago, and the boys and I had a special surprise waiting for him when he came home from work - his favorite chocolate dessert! It's a Swedish cake called kladdkaka, which translates to "gooey cake", and is a version of a molten chocolate cake. I grew up with this chocolaty goodness, and we would make it for birthday parties, whenever we had guests over, or just on a regular Friday night. As a matter of fact, I would even dare to say that there's a 90% chance that this is one of the things you will be served at any Swedish birthday party. And since we're a chocolate loving family, this easy recipe has become a staple at our house.

My oldest son, Jacob, loves to help out in the kitchen, and William, my youngest, loves to get messy, so this was a great baking adventure for them. I love finding recipes that are kid friendly, that only uses a handful of ingredients, and doesn't take too much time to make. The best part was seeing how excited they were to make something for daddy!

A good thing about this specific recipe, is that it doesn't use any active ingredient such as baking powder or baking soda, so you can stir until the cows come home without it having affect on how it turns out! And as you can imagine, there was a whole lot of stirring going on.

I've made a lot of kladdkakas over the years, and I've tried different versions of it; traditional, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate, chocolate raspberry, a dulce de leche version etc. Sometimes I'll stick with the traditional recipe and serve it with vanilla sugar whipped cream and a raspberry sauce, just to make it a little more fun. The bottom line is, you can't go wrong with this one if you love chocolate.

This time we made a mint chocolate version, because it's one of Matt's favorites. The recipe calls for After Eight, but you can also use Andes Mints or something similar. Just don't be intimidated by the amount of mint used, it's not going to be overpowering! Even the kids loved every bite of it.

The boys made sure we quality tested the chocolate. Because, I mean, we wouldn't want to use bad chocolate. I just had to make sure there was still some left to use in the cake. Luckily, there was!

The boys where so proud to present the cake to daddy, and of course he was so impressed and loved the surprise!

Personally, I think kladdkaka is best served with vanilla bean ice cream or with whipped cream, but some like it plain Jane. I usually go with ice cream, especially in the winter time, when I like to bake the cake in small ramekins and serve the chocolate cake warm.
Look at that fudgey goodness! Now you have something to bake Friday night to celebrate that another work week is over!

After Eight Gooey Chocolate Cake
from the magazine Hembakat

150 g butter
270 g sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp. cacao
105 g flour
1 pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla sugar*

8 After Eight pieces

Mint chocolate glaze
25 After Eight pieces
powdered sugar

*If you can't get your hands on vanilla sugar, just substitute with confectioners sugar and add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.

  1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. 
  2. Pour the batter into a buttered 9" spring form pan.
  3. Chop up 8 After Eights and put them in the batter.
  4. Bake in on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure it's not too wobbly when you take it out. Let cool in the pan.
  5. For the mint chocolate glaze: Melt 25 pieces of After Eights over a water bath.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the cooled cake and let harden in the fridge. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. 

Lyxig After Eightkladdkaka
från tidningen Hembakat

150 g smör
3 dl strösocker
3 ägg
3 msk kakao
1 ¾ dl vetemjöl
1 nypa salt
2 tsk vaniljsocker

ca 8 plattor After Eight

ca 25 plattor After Eight

Gör så här

1. Sätt ugnen på 180 grader. Smält smöret i en kastrull. Tillsätt resten av ingredienserna och blanda snabbt ihop allt till en slät smet.
2. Häll smeten i en smord och bröad springform, 23–24 cm i diameter (bröa gärna formen med kokos i stället för ströbröd).
3. Skär ca 8 After Eight-plattor på mitten och stick ner dem i smeten.
4. Grädda kakan mitt i ugnen i 25–30 min beroende på hur kladdig du vill ha den. Låt den svalna i formen.
5. Mintchokladglasyr: Smält ca 25 After Eight-plattor över vattenbad.
6. Bred ut mintchokladkrämen över kakan och låt den stelna i kylen. Pudra över lite florsocker före servering. Servera gärna med vispgrädde eller glass.