Simply put, Fika is the Swedish word that means "to drink coffee," but the word represents a much warmer tradition. To Fika really means to truly take time for a break in your day to, to breathe and rest, to have a coffee and a little sweet (or savory), maybe catch up with a friend or loved one. It's a such lovely idea that I am trying to work into my life right now as holiday craziness seems to start earlier and earlier every year...
Fika is also the name of the adorable cookbook that my college pal, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall released earlier this year. Fika is full of traditional and less traditional sweet and savory coffee and tea time treats (and illustrations by Johanna!). It also has a puffy cover, that my cat is cozily napping on as I write this post.
Now let's talk buns! One of the most well known and loved Fika treats are cinnamon buns. Anna and Johanna's version of this classic recipe are swirled with a mixture of cardamom and cinnamon which is such a lovely and warming combination, perfect for this time of year. They are also totally beautiful and impressive looking!
And one more thing!
THANK YOU all SO MUCH for your warm reception to my book, Sweeter Off the Vine. I can't wait to share more with you in the coming months. Pre-order links are in the sidebar! Thank you, thank you!
Spelt Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns
makes about 30 small buns
adapted from Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall
The original recipe calls for 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, but I couldn't resist adding in some spelt flour instead. I also swapped in brown sugar for the filling and added a bit of salt, because sugar always needs just a bit of salt. There are a lot of ways to form and shape these buns, you can even make loaves, but I loved the swirls and twirls of the of the technique I used. I linked to a post within the recipe so you can see the shaping method for yourself, rather than try to explain it, trust me, it is much easier to see something like this than try to explain it :)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 egg beaten, for egg wash
pearl sugar or sliced almonds
To make the dough: Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and heat until warmed through. In a small bowl combine the yeast with a couple of tablespoons of the warm milk mixture. Let sit until foamy.
In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt. Add the yeast mixture and remaining milk. Stir until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, 3-5 minutes. The dough should be tacky and soft, but not super sticky. If the dough is sticky knead in a bit more flour. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Make the filling and assemble: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Stir the filling ingredients in a small bowl until well combined and smooth.
Divide the dough in half and roll one half of the dough to a rectangle roughly 11x17 inches with the long edge facing you. Spread half of the filling over half of the dough (lengthwise), making sure to spread it all of the way to the edges and fold the dough in half lengthwise. Slice the dough into 15-18 strips. Then check out this post on Pantry Confidential featuring Johanna Kindvall herself to see how she shapes the buns, scroll down towards the end of the post. Trust me, pictures are worth a thousand words here...Repeat with the remaining dough.
Cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 45 minutes or until puffy. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
After the buns have risen, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar or sliced almonds. Bake the buns for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. Serve warm or cool the rolls completely, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer.