Cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns

The New Nordic
16 buns
Simon Bajada

I called these cinnamon buns to get your attention! They do contain cinnamon but they also have cardamom in them, and I think they are all the better for it. The Nordics have a long appreciation for cardamom spanning all the way back to the Vikings’ first taste of this exotic spice during their attacks on Constantinople.

This is a very forgiving dough, so use it as your basic recipe and get creative with the fillings. Go for spices, pastes or thick jams; avoid very wet fillings. Some less traditional flavours I have tried include fig and fennel, and vanilla and saffron. In Iceland, they often contain a date paste or are topped with icing, like American doughnuts.


Quantity Ingredient
135g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
700g plain flour
18g dried instant yeast
1 large egg
200ml full-cream milk
100ml pouring cream
pinch salt


Quantity Ingredient
90g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, to taste
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds, crushed

Glazing syrup

Quantity Ingredient
1 egg, beaten
50ml golden syrup or treacle, mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons caster sugar


  1. For the dough, beat together the sugar and butter for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Sift the flour into a separate bowl and mix through the yeast.
  2. Add the egg to the butter mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cream, and the sifted flour and salt, alternating between them and mixing well until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. If you are using a bread mixer, knead the dough for 15 minutes. If you are kneading by hand, work the dough for at least 15 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and place somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour.
  3. Shape the risen dough into a rough rectangle shape and roll out to a thickness of 2 cm, trying keep in as much air as possible.
  4. Beat together the sugar and butter for the filling, until light and fluffy. Spread over the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and cardamom, at your discretion. Fold the dough in half, then in in half again, keeping it in a rectangle shape. Roll it out again until it is 1.5 cm thick. Using a pizza cutter or knife cut the dough into long strips, roughly 2 cm wide; you should be able to make around 16 strips.
  5. There are many ways to form the dough into buns. The best way, although a little tricky to explain, is to roll each strip of dough around three fingers twice. Then, using your thumb as an anchor point, fold the end of the strip over the loops and tuck it up and into the hole underneath. If this is tricky, simply roll into snail shapes. Place the buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise somewhere warm for 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  7. Brush the buns with the beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush with syrup and sprinkle with the sugar.
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