One of the internet book clubs I am a part of read Fredrik Backman’s book, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry this month. I have a love for Backman. I have read A Man Called Ove and Us Against You and have loved them very much. He still has several others that I need to get, but so far, this one has been my favorite. Originally written in Swedish, the translation does not get in the way. Rated 4.05 stars at the time of this entry, I gave the book 5 stars.
Elsa is a little girl who has a very close relationship to her grandmother. Granny tells her fantastical stories and is quite a character. After Granny dies of cancer, she leaves essentially a scavenger hunt for Elsa. This hunt explains the fantasies her grandmother filled her head with and let her explore the intricacies of the people around her and the connections they had to her grandmother and to each other. This book had me crying at points and laughing at others. I think it’s a must read.
Though not a food related book, there are food references. And many more food references in this book than there were in Us Against You.
- Ice cream
- Cinnamon buns
- Protein bars
- Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
- Sponge cake mix
- Fresh baked bread
- Sweet cake
- Chocolate Cake
- Mulled wine
- Chocolate Santas
- Veggie burgers without a tomato
- Meringues and pasta gratin with Bearnaise sauce
- Peanut cake
- Creme brulees
“And then they play Monopoly and eat cinnamon buns and talk about who’d win a fight between Harry Potter and Spider-Man. Bloody pathetic discussion, of course, thinks Elsa. But Granny likes nattering on about these types of things because she’s too immature to understand that Harry Potter would have crushed Spider-Man.
Granny gets some more cinnamon buns from large paper bags under another pillow. Not that she has to hide the cinnamon buns from Elsa’s mum the way she has to hide the beer from Elsa’s mum, but she likes keeping them together because she likes eating them together. Beer and cinnamon buns is Granny’s favorite snack.”
As per the above quote, beer and cinnamon buns were Granny’s favorite snack. And since Granny is such an integral figure in this book, it only seemed appropriate to run with the cinnamon buns for this book. My stepdaughter was at our house this weekend and we have become a tradition of baking on the weekends she’s with us. We’ve done cupcakes, cookies, and now cinnamon buns. I explained to her, as I will to you, that these are not American cinnamon rolls. As you know, an American cinnamon roll is a pastry that is initially rolled into a jelly roll, sliced, and then baked. The Swedish cinnamon bun, or kanelbullar, is a pastry that is cut into strips and then tied into rolled knots and then baked. They are similar, though the kanelbullar is a lot more buttery and fluffy and does not have frosting on top.
The reason I opted for the kanelbullar as opposed to the cinnamon roll I know is because this book, written by Backman, was originally written in Swedish. I figured it was probably more likely that Granny was enjoying Swedish cinnamon buns as opposed to cinnamon rolls. Maybe I should have enjoyed it with a mug of beer.
Kanelbullar (aka Cinnamon Buns)
FOR THE DOUGH
1 cup milk, lukewarm
1/3 cup sugar, divided
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (or 1 package)
3 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg, room temperature
5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
FOR THE FILLING
8 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING
1 tbsp water
sugar, to taste
FOR THE DOUGH
- Mix together the milk, 1 tbsp sugar, and the yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes, until frothy.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, salt, cardamom, and remaining sugar.
- Add the milk mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes.
- Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until fully incorporated to add the next piece. Do this while mixing for 7 minutes.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, non-drafty area. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour to rise.
ASSEMBLY OF THE BUNS
- Place the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Mix together with a fork, making sure to smash the butter into the sugar and spices.
- Turn the dough out on a work surface sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough into a 24″x15″ rectangle.
- Spread the filling onto the dough rectangle, making sure to bring the filling all the way out to the edges.
- Fold the dough as you would a tri-fold letter. Starting on the short side, fold the dough over a third. Then fold the dough on the other side so that it slightly covers the first folded over piece. Transfer the dough to a cutting board and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, transfer the dough back to your work station. Roll out the dough slightly. Using a ruler and starting on the short side, cut strips of dough that are 2 centimeters wide.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With each strip of dough, you are going to wrap the dough around your hand several times and then bring the end over the top of the bun and under one of the loops. I realize I am not describing this clearly at all. Watch this gif from Fix Feast Flair to see the process. Place each bun on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm, non-drafty area for 30 minutes. They should rise more.
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Combine the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each of the buns. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.
- Makes 12 buns
This recipe is being shared with Foodies Read