A twist on the cinnamon roll: Kanelbullar

I don’t bake bread often. It’s such a faff, you need the yeast and the strong flour which I never ever seem to finish before their expiry dates. Plus, you have to wait hours to prove and knock back the dough when usually my baking is a spontaneous spur of the moment thing because I’m craving a cookie or a cupcake that I can have whipped up in the space of an hour. But as my parents were out of town, my house is eerily empty and I had a little free time on my hands on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to make some of my favourite Swedish treats, usually saved for a trip to London to a cute little bakery tucked in a side street.


I posted a cinnamon roll recipe on here a few years ago but I felt like it was high time I updated one of my all time favourite treats (if you know me well, you know I have an obsession with cinnamon that gets me through a jar a month or something ridiculous) with the same, basic dough, but a different filling. Making a paste filling for these, as they’re twisted two ways, keeps the bun super cinnamony as the filling doesn’t fall out like it would with an American style dry mixture.

DSC_0800If you’re in London and are craving a sweet bun like these ones, I cannot recommend enough these three bakeries for Scandi treats: Ole and Steen, Bageriet and Fabrique (in that order, with best first) but they are all amazing and it really just depends on what side of town I’m on. But here’s my recipe to make them in an afternoon! Plus.. THEY’RE DAIRY FREE.


For the dough:
500g packet of white bread mix (I used Co-Op’s)
50g caster sugar
200ml lukewarm milk (any milk will do, I used almond)
100ml melted butter (I used Flora’s dairy free spread)
1 egg (if making vegan, just use more butter to make it up to 320ml total of butter and milk)

For the cinnamon filling:
4 tbsp softened butter (again, Flora spread)
(butter can be subbed for soaked dates)
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
4-5 tbsp soft dark brown sugar

1 egg, for an egg wash
2-3 tbsp apricot jam, warmed, for glazing the rolls once cooked

Start with the dough, mix the sugar and the bread mix together. 

In a microwaveable jug, melt the butter and warm the milk so that it is lukewarm, you should be able to comfortably put your finger in the mix and not be scalded, you don’t want to kill the yeast or cook the egg! Once warmed, whisk in the egg and pour into the dry ingredients.

Using a knife, cut the mixture until it starts to come together, then empty the bowl onto a floured surface and knead it until it forms a dough. Knead until the dough isn’t sticking to your surface or fingers anymore, around 5 minutes.

Place into a well-oiled bowl and spray the top with oil too. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave it for 1-2 hours in a warm spot.

Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back and knead again. Roll it out into a large rectangle that’s about an inch thick.

To make the paste, cream together all the ingredients until they make a paste. If using dates instead of butter, soak in hot water for 1 hour and then blitz to a paste with the sugars and spices. Add a liquid sweetener or some water to thin it out if it is too thick.

Spread the paste evenly but relatively generously across the dough. Then fold it over and cut the fold so that the dough is sandwiching the filling, and cut into strips the width of your thumb, or a little thicker. With each strip, twist each end, then wrap around your hand and push one end into the middle to make a knot. It takes a few tries to get the knack of it but all the wonky rolls can be for you though right? If you need help, type in ‘kanelbullar’ on Youtube and there are loads of good tutorials, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you’d think!

Place your rolls onto a lined baking sheet, and let them rest for another 20 minutes to rise a little. This is a great time to preheat your oven to 180˚C/170˚C Fan/Gas Mark 4.

Before they go in the oven, beat an egg and give the rolls an egg wash for the shine on top! Bake for around 20 minutes, until quite brown.

Either eat them as they are, or let them cool and glaze with some apricot jam for a real shine. I was too impatient, but they taste amazing as they are!


These are such a showstopper bake for something so simple. I have definitely not eaten 3 already… These would also be great with cardamom or chocolate filling, give them a try.

Until next time, keep baking!

Love Sian xxx



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