It’s been a crazy few weeks friends. Grab a coffee and hang out a while, as this post may be lengthy. I haven’t been sleeping well, and no word of a lie, I woke up with a ginormous hole in my bed sheet last week-end. I had been literally tossing and turning for nights, and I worked a hole right into the sheet, almost 2 feet in length! That was a sign for me, that some serious down time was needed. I have been feeling some stress and worry and needed to rest and recharge. And where I get the most comfort is usually in the kitchen. That time for me, is early in the morning, when the sun is just starting to peak in and no one is awake yet. Usually the only sound is the swish and roll of dough on the counter. There’s something very comforting in the repetitive and constant movement of kneading. It lets me just go with the motions and get lost in my own thoughts sometimes. Hence, these Swedish Cardamom Buns.
A few weeks ago my very close friends mother passed really tragically. It was a shock to say the least. Right around the time of Thanksgiving, when everyone is gathering to reflect on what they’re thankful for, this heartbroken family was having to say goodbye. Watching my friend cope, left me with such a deep feeling of sadness and really opened my eyes to how quickly life can change. I went with a group of friends to the funeral home and was floored by the amount of people who came to pay their respects to this family. Hundreds lined up, sat, cried, hugged. Clearly, this mother, grandmother, wife and friend was adored by many. It was obvious that she had a zest for life and that her main focus was her family and friends.
The legacy that she’s leaving behind really stuck with me. I left that funeral home and for the longest time sat in my car. I messaged my kids right away. I said,
Guys, I’m just leaving this funeral home and you know that this mom was taken away from her family way too soon and they are just torn with grief. And I’m sitting in my car thinking about you. Call people back. Hang out with your family even if sometimes you think it’s boring. Spend more time with us. With each other. In an instant it can all change. We’ve gotta get better at showing each other that family comes first. And this mom, sure does love you.
So my kneading and rolling last Saturday was really a time of reflection and thinking about how short life really is and how I’m going to try to let the important people in my life know just how much they mean to me. And the best way I know to show that sometimes is to feed them. I know that the boys especially love waking up to something warm and sweet.
Twisty Swedish Cardamom Buns are not only gorgeous, but sweet and slightly spicy at the same time. I love using cardamom in cookies, pies and breads. I add a pinch to these Better Ginger Cookies, and a dash to my cinnamon buns and usually a good pinch to blueberry pie. I’m always excited for the opportunity to use nib sugars too. It doesn’t melt with baking, so the buns are left with pretty sugar crystals on the top as decoration.
For this recipe, I’ve used cardamom powder, but also crushed some whole seeds in order to have some larger pieces throughout the dough. With each pounding of those ever lovin seeds, I released some frustrations about why sad things happen to amazing people sometimes.
So that’s it friends. Talking to you all sure has me feeling better and a little more energized! I’m glad to be sharing this yummy recipe with you too. In reaching out to let others know they are important to me, I’d like to just give you a hug and let you know that you are important to me too! Thanks for hanging in there with me all these years and sharing your love of food with me.
Happy week-end guys!
Swedish Cardamom Buns
*yield is 18 buns
For the dough:
- 2 1/2- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk, 110°
- 1 pkg instant yeast
- 1 tsp cardamom, I used a combination of powder and crushed seeds
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tbsp. Crisco shortening
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg mixed with 2 tbsp. water
- nib sugar for decoration
- Cube the shortening and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of the flour, honey, cardamom and yeast and blend together. I like to use a wooden spoon to mix and break up the lumps of shortening as I’m blending. The dough will be messy and chunky from the shortening and honey. Just combine as best you can, it will smooth out more as you add the wet ingredients.
- Add the milk, egg, salt and a half cup of flour. Mix to combine.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a floured countertop (it will be a lumpy sticky mess) and continue to blend by hand. Knead the dough adding a dusting of flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to you and the counter (add up to another half cup). You just want to add enough so it doesn’t stick to the counter, but as little as possible.
- Knead dough for 8 – 10 minutes or until you have a nice smooth ball.
- Place the dough in large bowl sprayed with cooking spray and cover with a clean towel. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free area (top of the fridge works!) to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
- Prepare the filling by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing to a paste; set aside.
- Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 16 x 20 inches. Spread the paste all over the dough.
- Fold the dough over itself in thirds. Start with the left side and fold the outside edge of dough inward, like a letter. Next, repeat with the right side. Use a rolling pin to slightly roll the folds together. Turn the dough so that the open ends of the letter are on your left and right. You should have a rectangle about 18″ long in front of you.
- Using a ruler and a sharp knife, cut 1″ strips out of the dough, for a total of 18 strips.
- Start with one strip and twist the dough. Wrap the dough around your thumb and 3 fingers, looping the end over the top of the bun and tucking it underneath. Repeat with all of the strips.
- Place buns on a parchment lined sheet pan a few inches apart, and allow buns to rest for 40 minutes, while the oven preheats to 425°.
- Just before baking, brush the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle with the nib sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm. Call your parents. Have coffee with friends. xo