This year, as every year, we are celebrating the official Cinnamon Bun day. A national holiday in Sweden (not really, but it should be) – it falls every year on October the 4th and is celebrated by eating cinnamon buns en masse.
For many Scandis, us included – every day is cinnamon bun day. There’s always a reason for a cinnamon bun. It is, as you may know, also referred to as an edible hug. No? Just us then. Because that’s how we feel about it. It is as comforting and warming as a hug from your best friend, a stranger or your dog. Whichever of those you prefer.
As Scandinavians we feel it is our duty to educate those less knowledgeable about this harmonic symbiosis of flour, butter, sugar and cinnamon. This is lesson 1, based on our post from last year (read it here) – we’ll keep it simple.
The cinnamon bun’s origin is a hotly debated topic. The Swedes claim it originated there in the 1920s. Usually, we won’t shy away from a debate, but in this case – it doesn’t matter where it is from. We love it too much. It is a love-child of Scandinavia.
Cinnamon bun day has been celebrated since 1999, and the bun itself didn’t really become popular until the 1950s.
A Nordic cinnamon bun is typically made with a bit of ground cardamom in the dough – this is what differentiates it from other cinnamon buns, such as the over-the-top sticky sweet buns you often see in north America. with a bit of ground cardamom, which sets them apart from other cinnamon buns on this lovely planet of ours.
A real cinnamon bun (a Scandi one) does not have icing on the top. In Norway, a sprinkle of normal granulated sugar – in Sweden those lovely big-ish sugar crystals called Pearl Sugar.
A typical Swede eats 316 cinnamon buns per year – in our central London cafe we sell about 60 cinnamon buns per day (and we all smell faintly of cinnamon..mm!).
That is roughly 21600 per year.
If you stack all these buns, the total height would be 648 meters, or roughly the height of the Shanghai Tower, the 2nd tallest building in the world with 632 meters. Only Burj Al Kalifa would be taller, with its 830 meters. (Eat more buns, people!)
Or, you can bake a really really long one to share.
In Norway (and highly likely elsewhere in Scandinavia too) there are various very important cinnamon bun competitions held every year, where readers of the local newspaper nominate and vote for the best cinnamon bun in town. It is prestigious and competitive, and taken very, very serious.
The same place refers to its cinnamon buns as Skillingsboller – ‘schilling buns’ – referring to the cost of one back in the day.
In Denmark, they are often called ‘cinnamon snails’ – Kanelsnegl’, and in Finland, ‘slapped ear’ – Korvapuusti. Maybe because if someone did slap your ear, a cinnamon bun would be a suitable treat to comfort you in your pain and distress.
Cinnamon buns are made a variety of different ways. You can swirl them and pop them into a little paper case to keep all the buttery sugary gooeyness; do a simple swirl and bake, cut side up, or do a thinner swirl baked cut sides out. We love them all.
The cinnamon bun is perfect – it doesn’t need meddling with. Still, some people make things as the below – a bacon cinnamon bun roll sandwich. Proceed at your own responsibility; we take no responsibility for whatever may come from consuming this (delicious?) concoction.
There are two kinds of cinnamon; Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is also referred to as sweet cinnamon – or true cinnamon and is the most popular one. It is a bit more expensive than the other, but the taste is miles better. Get it if you can – otherwise your buns won’t be as good.
Cinnamon also contains a substance called coumarin – which can damage the liver if consumed in larger quantities. The Scandinavian countries regularly relish in this fact, purely so they can put a scare cinnamon headline out, such as; ‘How to avoid cinnamon-poisoning’ ‘Be careful with cinnamon’ ‘Cinnamon buns can damage your liver’But fear not – you would have to eat approximately 10 cinnamon buns per day for an extended period of time to notice anything.
It is Scandifically proven that it is impossible to resist a fresh cinnamon bun still warm from the oven. Try it. Sprinkle with almonds for a nutty taste..mmmm!
Phoro credit: Peter Cassidy, for Ryland Peters.
Enjoy Bun Day on the 4th October – we want to see your buns, so don’t forget to send us a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post the best ones on facebook and instagram. Prizes for the best looking buns.
As the saying goes (well, in Scandinavia at least), dear child bears many names. We love breakfast. It is often the main reason we go to bed at night – to fast forward to another lovely meal. Best enjoyed with big yawns, squinty eyes and coffee-hungry brains.
Fun-fact: In Sweden and Norway, breakfast is called Frukost/Frokost. The same word means lunch in Denmark. In Denmark, breakfast is called morgenmad – morning food. So naturally, a lot of confusion arises around the two first meals of the day when Scandis visit each other. Frokost? Nej mand, it is way too early. Frokost? Vad då, it is far too late!
Ah, the stress!
Important-fact: 1 of 3 children in the UK don’t have breakfast. We are working with charity Magic Breakfast to reduce this number – please read more here about this important cause.
Whatever you call it, the first meal of the day is important, and each country has its own traditions. Scandinavian breakfasts differs a lot from the British – so, because we know you’ve been wondering, let us present – some basic differences between British breakfasts vs Scandi breakfasts .
The Brits have.. toast. In Sweden: Crispbread. More crispbread. In Norway: Various breads or crispbread. The one called Frukost. In Denmark: Rye bread.
The Brits drink..tea or instant coffee. In Sweden: Black coffee. Proper brewed coffee. Like this one from Zoegas. In Norway: Black coffee. Sometimes with milk. This one from Friele, for example. In Denmark: Black coffee. Proper brewed coffee. You get the drill.. we all like real coffee!
The Brits also drink..orange juice. In Sweden: Milk, sometimes juice. In Norway: Milk, juice sometimes. In Denmark: Milk or juice.
The Brits who don’t eat bread eats.. cereal. In Sweden:Filmjolk (a light natural yougurt) with granola or musli and some berries. Or kalaspuffar. In Norway: Frokostblanding – breakfast mix! Ie., cereal. With banana if you’re being virtuous. In Denmark: Skyr or Ymer – a type of natural yogurt – with Ymerdrys – a lovely rye bread crumb cereal.
For a weekend breakfast, the Brit will have.. a full English (or components thereof).
In Sweden: ALL the crispbread. Several types of bread. Eggs and kaviar, different cheeses, jams, perhaps a ham or pate. Something bun-like. Yogurt pots, fresh fruits, something with egg. Coffee. Juices. Milk. Many many hours, newspapers and good company.
In Norway: Several types of bread. Toaster handy. Fresh rolls. Norvegia and brown cheese. Boilt eggs. Ham and chopped up cucumber and red pepper. Tomatoes. Jams. Pate. Basically – your entire fridge. Milk and juice to drink. Coffee AND tea. Many many hours, the radio in the background and good company.
In Denmark: Fresh rolls from the baker – at least one per person plus a Danish pastry and white bread, which is never normally eaten. Rye bread. Cheeses and jams and marmalade. OR a full on Scandi brunch with scrambled eggs, bacon, all the sandwich toppings in the fridge. Juice and milk, tea and coffee. Perhaps a shot of Gammel Dansk (a digestif) or three if it is a special occasion.
A recipe for ‘Flødeboller’ mallow fluff cakes at home.
Ahhh… Do you like snowballs and mallow tea cakes? Soft, mallow with chocolate coating? Then you’ll like these.
In Scandinavia, usually called ‘Flødeboller’ or ‘Gammeldags kokosbollar’, these are often made with or without a base, with light or dark chocolate, and various flavoured fillings. In recent years, a lot of konditors have started making gourmet versions – and people have followed suit at home, coming up with great creations.
Okay, so it probably isn’t the easiest thing to make at home. It’s also a bit messy. However, it is fun and it is really worth it.
We recommend you do use a base for these. Some people like to use small round wafers, others simply use store bought round short bread type biscuits (look for something approx. 5cm in diameter or smaller). I quite like the ones with a soft baked marzipan cake base, as long as they are baked quite fine and these are the ones in this recipe. But by all means, skip the base-step and buy whatever you prefer – tuiles and round wafers work particularly well.
Do make sure you have both liquid glucose as well as a digital thermometer for the filling, as you need an accurate temperature check. Also, you can’t do this by hand: you need a mixer with a whisk attachment.
40g egg white (approx. one egg white from a large egg – if using smaller eggs, weigh them)
75g liquid glucose
1 tsp lemon juice
Seeds from one vanilla pod
100g egg white (3 and a bit egg whites – but do weigh them)
1 tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
200g tempered chocolate of choice (I use 70% Valrhona, but a milk chocolate will also give a lovely and lighter result and is preferred by little people).
Optional: 1 tbsp vegetable oil
In a mixer, blend marzipan, icing sugar and egg white until you have a smooth mass.
Turn the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment.
You can either pipe out 16-18 dollops of marzipan and flatten them into round even discs using some icing sugar to ensure it doesn’t stick to your fingers – or you can use icing sugar and roll them, then flatten them into shape. Make sure the discs are even and not too thick (they will puff up slightly during baking).
Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool completely. These will remain slightly soft in the middle.
In a saucepan, bring sugar, glucose, water, lemon and vanilla to the boil. Using a thermometer, keep boiling until you reach 117-118 degrees. Be aware any less than this and your syrup will not set the right way and it will affect the result as the water will not have evaporated properly.
Meanwhile, get your mixer ready and lightly whisk the egg white with salt until they start to combine, then add sugar and keep whisking. Increase speed to high and start adding the syrup in a very, very thin stream. Once combined, leave the mixer on high for 8-10 minutes. It does take this long to get the thick, peaky mallow.
Prepare a piping bag with a star nozzle. Add the mallow filling and carefully pipe out mallow on each base, taking care to leave a bit of ‘edge’ free and they may sink slightly. Aim to have a good high top on each mallow. Leave the set for 5-6 hours or speed up the process by popping them in the fridge.
Tempering chocolate: If you are a dab hand at tempering chocolate, prepare it in your usual manner. If you are not sure about tempering, melt half the chocolate and then as soon as you have a hot liquid, add the other half and take off the heat and stir until completely melted.
You can also simply melt a chocolate covering or cheaper chocolate, although it might discolour slightly and not dry properly. It will still taste nice, so don’t panic if you are not sure how to temper chocolate. Top tip: Add a small bit of vegetable oil to the hot chocolate if you wish a thinner coating of chocolate on your mallow buns.
Place a mallow bun on a baking grid, just over a bowl. Using a spoon, pour over chocolate until coated, then move with a spatula to a different tray to dry. Repeat until done. You may have to pour excess chocolate back from drip bowl.
Decorate with freeze dried raspberries or sprinkles – or maybe add desiccated coconut for that snowball effect.
Introducing the Mackerel Open Sandwich. There are the open sandwich recipes that never make it to the books but that are so easy, so traditional…. This one, my mother served for us for lunch as kids. In fact. most Danish mothers will have served this to their kids. It’s one of those open sandwiches we grow up on. It’s unlikely you’ll ever find it in any book, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.
Dark seeded rye bread topped with mackerel and tomato straight from the tin. A dollop of (good quality) mayonnaise – and season. It’s really delicious and is ready in about 24 seconds. Our Rebekka says that chopped shallots and a drizzle of lemon juice should also be added and we don’t argue with her, so you better do it.
You can buy tinned Mackerel and tomato in most supermarkets or online here
Back in the day, the Danish bakers needed to find a use for all the left over Danish pastry, seeing as they could never sell it on the second day. And thus, Romkugler (literally: Rum balls) were born.
Danes will often tell you this is one of those treats they miss most from home (in Sweden they are known as Arrakballs). We all used to pop by the bakers on the way home from school and get a few of these cheap but delicious treats. Its a taste of our childhood.
So, to make these, you need some leftover bits of cake and pastry. When we made some today, we used 2 cinnamon Danish whirls, 2 raspberry crowns and 1 cinnamon bun. But you can use different things (although we have found that French croissants and pain au chocolate don’t work as well).
Blitz the day old pastries in a food processor, then add 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam, 2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder and then 2 tablespoons of rum essence (you can also use real rum, but because these are not cooked, the flavour will be strong and the alcohol will not evaporate).
Blend everything together until you have a smooth mass, then shape into golf ball sized pieces. Roll in chocolate sprinkles or desiccated coconut. Chill for a bit – and serve.
We recommend eating the day you make these, but they are probably good the day after, too. Its unlikely to be an issue, though… They usually don’t last the day as they are very moorish.
As soon as the sun comes out, a strange thing happens to the Danes: they start to miss Buttermilk Soup.
We know this because 1) the sun is out and 2) Bronte has a craving for buttermilk soup – as has all the other Danes at Scandi kitchen.
Buttermilk soup is a dessert – you whisk egg yolk with vanilla and sugar and adder the sour buttermilk to the mixture (buttermilk being the leftover “milk” when you make butter from cream). Nowadays, we don’t often make butter at home – and butter milk has a super short shelf life anyway, so most of us buy it ready made in a carton and just add those sweet, delicious “kammerjunker” biscuits.
Some of us like to add chopped strawberries too, for the flavour of real summer.
However you have yours, just so you know, the guys at the warehouse predicted our cravings as well as this lovely nice weather we’re having – and we now have stock of this delightful summer soup.
Buy it here LINK http://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/search.php?search_query=kammer&x=0&y=0