Did you know that cinnamon roll originated in Sweden? Neither did I!
Not only is today Kanelbullens Dag,
but also the 100th Something Swedish post!!
What better way to celebrate the 100th post than to research, bake, buy, photograph, and eat this beloved Swedish treat and then blog all about it!?
From the first time I visited Sweden I noticed that cinnamon buns were a big part of the culture, especially when it was time to fika [here]. While many pastries are enjoyed with coffee in Sweden, cinnamon rolls are the traditional choice. They’ve been popular in Sweden since the 1920′s, but it was in the 1950′s when baking them at home became a big deal. In 1999 an organization called Hembakningsrådet (Home Baking Council) [here] created the day to highlight this especially Swedish pastry and to “kick off” the Autumn season, when home baking is best.
I’ve never baked cinnamon rolls before, so I gave it a shot! Thankfully, my oh-so-Swedish husband has made kanelbullar many times in his life, so I had some help. I always knew that kanelbullar and cinnamon rolls were very different, but it wasn’t until I started making them that I saw why my husband doesn’t even consider them to be the same pastry.
American Cinnamon Rolls vs Swedish Kanelbullar
Kanelbullar are a lot less sweet than cinnamon rolls (as are most pastries here, Swedens sweet tooth is not nearly as decadent). The sugary sweet icing I salivate over when I crave a cinnamon roll isn’t what you will ever find in Sweden – instead a simple sprinkle of pearl sugar is the topping of choice.
Kanelbullar are baked with kardemumma (cardamon – a popular pastry spice here) into the dough, giving it a very distinct flavor.
The cinnamon roll recipe called for almost twice the amount of sugar and twice the amount of filling, with a lot of brown sugar – which is not used at all in kanelbullar.
Instead of baking the cinnamon rolls squished together in one pan like in the U.S., kanelbullar are baked completely separate, like muffins or cookies.
Overall, both kinds were really yummy, but really too different to compare.
Kanelbullar are a lot easier to make (less sticky, less filling, no icing, less clean up) and you can easily eat more than one. + points for being a lot more photogenic, too.
Having American cinnamon rolls was very comforting as they reminded me of home – an overly sweet bite of NYC.