Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

Anything that lists cardamom as a key ingredient I am basically going to make. I can’t deny the lure of cardamom, wherever it makes its appearance it is always a delight. These buns are very much like the ones I had at the Scandanavian bakery near work except they were slightly less sweet. A kind of more demure version of the cinnabon (the American gooey and guilty pleasure). Tessa Kiros offers an array of amazing recipes in her book Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes. Every recipe in this cookbook is beautifully photographed and you only need to glimpse at the list of ingredients and you know it is going to be good. The cookbook itself is divided by country and this stems from her mixed cultural background (Finnish, Greek, Cypriot, South African). One favourite dish I am constantly using is the moussaka but the cakes and ice cream recipes need a mention also. The cinnamon and cardamom buns have a milky taste and the cardamom isn’t overpowering but adds a hint of something else to the traditional cinnamon bun – just delicious.

Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

For the dough

250ml tepid whole milk

100g caster sugar

25g yeast

1 egg, beaten

125g softened butter

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

650g plain all-purpose flour

For the cinnamon butter

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

50g caster sugar, plus 1 Tablespoon for sprinkling

80g softened butter

1 egg lightly beaten

Pour the milk into a large bowl and add sugar and yeast. Leave for 10 minutes or until the yeast activates (turning bubbly on top). Add the egg, butter, cardamom and salt and mix into the milk mix. Add the flour gradually mixing with your hands and then turn it on to a floured surface. Knead for about 5-10 minutes until the dough is very soft and silky smooth (not tacky). Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a cloth leaving it in a warm place to rise for 2-3 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Now make the cinnamon butter by mixing the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide the butter into four portions and keep it to one side.

Now you need to roll the dough out. Divide it into four portions and work with one at a time keeping the others covered with a teatowel to stop it from drying out. Roll the first portion of dough out into a rectangle roughly about 30cm x 25cm and 2-3 mm thick. Spread a portion of the cinnamon butter on top covering the entire surface evenly. Roll up length ways to make a long sausage shape. Cut the dough slightly on a diagonal, alternating up and down so that the slices are a fat ‘v’ shape with the point of the ‘v’ about 2cm and the base about 5cm. Turn them so they are all the right way up and sitting on the fatter bases and then press on top of each one with two fingers. Along the sides you will see the cinnamon butter oozing outwards. Do all of the dough in this way and place on a lined baking sheet. Leave to rise for half and hour then brush with beaten egg and sprinkle a little sugar on top of each bun.

Bake for about 20 minutes in a 180°C oven. Make sure they are golden on top and on the bottom and be careful not to burn them!