Swedish Cinnamon & Almond Twisted Buns (Kanelbullar)

Share this recipe!

Prep 40min (+1hr 15min proving time)Bake 25minMakes about 16

The Swedes love their sweet buns so much they have even declared 4 October National Cinnamon Bun Day! These more-ish cinnamon-almond filled buns are the quintessential accompaniment to a fika (or coffee). The traditional twisting and shaping of them may seem a little tricky to start with but follow my instructions and watch this quick video and you’ll have it mastered in no time.


melted butter, to grease
1 egg, lightly whisked, to glaze
flaked almonds or pearl sugar (see Baker's Tips), to sprinkle


    450g (3 cups) strong bread or pizza flour, plus extra to dust
    55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
    7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
    1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    ½ teaspoon salt
    300ml milk
    100g butter, diced
    1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract

      Almond filling

      80g butter, at room temperature
      50g (½ cup) almond meal
      50g marzipan
      55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
      1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


        1. To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, cardamom and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat for 3–5 minutes or until the milk is lukewarm. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and set aside for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a fork, until the butter melts. Add to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
        2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8–10 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when you push your finger into it (see Baker's Tips).
        3. Brush a large bowl with melted butter to grease. Add the dough turning it to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (See Baker's Tips).
        4. To make the almond filling, place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined, scraping down the side of the bowl when necessary. Set aside.
        5. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
        6. When the dough has doubled in size knock it back by punching it in the centre with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2–3 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough into a 30 cm x 50 cm rectangle, about 0.5cm thick. Place the dough on the benchtop so that a long side is closest to you.
        7. Use a palette knife to spread the almond filling evenly over the lower half of the dough. Fold the top third down to cover the filling and then the bottom third up, pressing down firmly.
        8. Use a large, sharp knife to cut the dough into 16 strips, each about 3.5cm wide. Use the knife to cut each strip in half three-quarters of the way up towards the folded end to make two 'legs'. Hold a strip at opposite ends and pull gently to stretch slightly. Then twist the two 'legs' separately about three times. Tie the two 'legs' together in a simple knot and then tuck the opposite end under the knot.
        9. Repeat with the remaining dough strips, placing them about 5cm apart on the lined trays as they are shaped. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 25–30 minutes or until risen and the dough no longer springs back when you poke it gently with a finger.
        10. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan-forced).
        11. Brush the rolls with the whisked egg to glaze and sprinkle with flaked almonds or pearl sugar. Bake the rolls in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature.

        Baker's Tips

        • Pearl sugar (also known as hail or nib sugar) is a coarse white sugar used extensively in European baking. Because it retains its shape (it doesn’t melt during cooking) it adds a lovely textural sweet crunch to pastries, sweet breads and biscuits. Pearl sugar is available at specialty food stores and European-style delicatessens.
        • The dough can be kneaded with an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, on low speed for 5–8 minutes or until smooth and elastic and comes away from the side of the bowl.
        • The dough can be proved in the fridge overnight (in the greased, covered bowl). Stand in a warm, draught-free place for 1–2 hours, or until the dough reaches room temperature, before continuing with the recipe.
        • These rolls are best eaten the day they are baked, however they do freeze well. To freeze, wrap individually in plastic wrap, seal them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. To reheat, place on a lined baking tray in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through.

        This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: Scandi Baking.

        CLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

        Photography by Alan Benson.