May 22, 2016

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

I've been a little obsessed with these Swedish Cardamom Rolls, or Kardemummabullar, ever since I discovered them. I was first completely smitten by their delicate looking shaping. Now that I have tasted them, I am in love with the complex flavor of the cardamom that is infused in the dough, the filling, the glaze, and even the sprinkling of cardamom flavored sugar on the top of these rolls.

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Cardamom is a spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It's sort of cinnamon dialed differently, and much more interesting. It's a spice that is native to India where it is typically used in savory dishes. It made its way to Sweden via the Vikings by way of Constantinople, where the Swedes decided to bake it into breads, cookies, and buns. Excellent move!

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories
These rolls are "smallish," and traditionally eaten on a coffee break, or "Fika" in Sweden. The dough is very soft, sweet, and buttery. It rises fairly quickly and is really easy to work with, considering the amount of butter, milk, and sugar in the dough.

After the first rise, the rolled out dough is spread with a cardamom, brown sugar, and butter mixture. The dough is then folded over like an envelope, and then cut into strips. The strips are then twisted and wrapped into these delicious buns. The trick to shaping the dough so that the buns do not unravel during baking is wrapping the final strand over the top of the buns and then tucking it into the underside of the shaped bread to hold it all together.

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories

These things are delicious. Seriously. They are wonderful straight from the oven, and are still good reheated later.

Swedish Cardamom Rolls Recipe

Makes about 16 to 20 rolls


For the dough:

250 ml (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) lukewarm milk
1 envelope instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
67 grams (1/3 cup) light brown sugar
406 grams ( 3 1/4 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
1/8 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
75 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling:

63 grams (4 1/2 tablespoons) room temperature unsalted butter
65 grams (1/3 cup) dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom

For the glaze:

1/4 cup water
50 grams (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste 

For the topping:

1 teaspoon granulated sugar (I used sparkling sugar, but that is optional)
1/8 tsp freshly ground cardamom


To make the dough:

  1. In a large measuring cup or medium glass bowl, mix the milk, yeast, and light brown sugar and set aside for about 5 minutes. 
  2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the flour, cardamom, and salt, and whisk to blend. 
  3. Add the milk/yeast/brown sugar mixture and mix with a dough whisk or wooden spoon until the dough comes together. 
  4. Place the bowl into the stand mixer and mix with the dough hook on medium, adding the butter in stages, until incorporated. 
  5. Once the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and mix for five minutes, until you have a smooth dough. 
  6. Remove the dough from the mixer, form it into a ball, and place it into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes. 

To make the filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and cardamom. 
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the glaze and topping:

  1. Place the water, brown sugar, and vanilla into a heat proof glass bowl.
  2. Heat in a microwave for about 30 seconds to one minute, until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Set the bowl aside. 
  4. For the topping, mix the sugar and cardamom in a small bowl, and set aside.

To make the rolls:

  1. Preheat the oven to 435 degrees F and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper. I also placed a baking stone in the oven to help maintain a consistent temperature. 
  2. Roll out the proofed dough into a 13 inch by 21 inch rectangle. 
  3. Spread the filling over the dough to cover the entire surface. 
  4. Fold the 21 inch length of dough into thirds, like an envelope. You should have three layers of dough filled with the filling. The dimensions should be 13 inches by 7 inches. 
  5. Turn the dough so that the 13 inch side is facing you and roll it out slightly with a rolling pin. 
  6. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough into about 16 to 20 perpendicular (to you) one inch strips. 
  7. To shape the rolls, hold one of the strips between you thumb and index finger. Twist and stretch the strip and wrap it around your thumb and forefinger twice. Remove your thumb, and take the remaining strip of dough and pull it over top of the shaped roll and tuck it into the place where your thumb used to be. Place the shaped roll onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough strips. 
  8. Cover the rolls with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise for about 30 minutes. 
  9. Bake the rolls, one sheet at a time, for about 10 minutes. 
  10. Immediately brush the baked rolls with the glaze once they have come out of the oven, and sprinkle with the topping. 
  11. Serve immediately or cool on a wire rack. 
Adapted from Fix, Feast, Flair, adapted from Kokblog. Both blogs have demos or diagrams for shaping the bread, each one being different.

Kardemummabullar | Swedish Cardamom Rolls from Karen's Kitchen Stories


  1. Those look lusciously delicious! I can almost taste them now.

  2. Karen they sound very good and look delicious , and I watched the video, absolutely delicious Karen, most definitely going to give the a try.😉

    1. Thanks Rosa! They are such a treat!

  3. Oh, how I wish I had seen this recipe sooner! Our undergrad student from Sweden is going back to her country for a PhD instead of staying in the US, and these would be so perfect for a farewell treat for her...

    but I can always show her your post and tell her my good intentions of making it - if there was time that is...

    I think I have too many good intentions and not enough action! (sigh)

    1. Sounds familiar =) Actually, she'd probably love one of your Brazilian treats =)

  4. Hi Karen,
    Learned to love cardamom when studying in India. No breads though...just rice puddings and other cardamom flavored desserts. Looking forward to trying this treat!

    Have you ever used SAF Gold yeast? King Arthur sells it and says it is designed specifically for sweet doughs where a higher sugar count and richer dough could negatively impact regular yeast activity.


    1. Hi Anne, I love SAF Gold! I keep a pound of it in my freezer and use it for enriched doughs all of the time. It's perfect for someone who bakes a lot of bread. I first tried it for panettone and it rose wonderfully!

  5. Absolutely beautiful! And cardamom, my all time favorite spice.

  6. Beautiful Karen, it is in my do list, need to try it,

  7. These rolls look amazing. I love cardamom and would definitely go for a slightly sweet brunch roll like these. Your photos are mouth-watering too :)

    1. Thanks so much Laura! They are really soft and perfect for brunch.

  8. One of my favorite...they look so perfect!

  9. Wow, these are truly exquisite!

  10. I made these today and they are absolutely heavenly!

    1. How wonderful! I'm so glad you are happy with them!


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