sweden

That Travel Meal :: Swedish Cinnamon Buns

[trip style = food + wine]

I'm packing my bags for Sweden next month, and if there's one indulgence I'm already dreaming about, it's kardemummabulle. This Swedish treat isn't just fun to say; it's also fun to eat.

Bullar {buns} are a quintessential component of fika, the Swedish afternoon coffee break. You'll typically see both kanelbulle and kardemummabulle in Sweden, with the only difference being the addition of cardamom in the dough. Fika is so central to Swedish culture that it's both a verb and a noun. In Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, the authors write:

"Ska vi fika?" {Should we fika?} means "Let's take a break, spend some time together, slow down." Fika isn't just for having an afternoon pick-me-up; it's for appreciating slow living. To truly fika requires a commitment to making time for a break in your day, the creation of a magical moment in the midst of the routine and the mundane.

In a post about Stockholm's hippest hood last year, I suggested that a worthwhile activity would be to stop by every bakery in town for comparative taste testing. I stand by this suggestion, but you don't need to fly all the way to Sweden to enjoy their iconic treat. You don't even need to go to Ikea. Here's my favorite recipe for making them at home.

Kardemummabulle

Dough
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter {about 1 stick}
- 1.5 c milk
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 4.5 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c sugar
- 2 tsp cardamom seeds {crushed via coffee grinder or mortar & pestle}
- 1/4 tsp salt

Filling
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 c sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed

Topping
- 1 egg, beaten
- Pearl sugar

Trip Styler Tip: Look for cardamom and pearl sugar in your local gourmet market.

Can't view the video? Watch it here.

Instructions

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the milk. Heat until warm to the touch {about 110°F}. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 3 tbsp of the warm milk/butter mixture. Stir and let sit for a few minutes until bubbles form on the yeast. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cardamom and salt. Yes, fresh cardamom smells like a fancy Nordic spa. Don't become too relaxed; stay on task! Add the yeast mixture along with the remaining milk/butter.

Work the dough with your hands to form a ball. Transfer to a flat surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 3-5 mins. The dough is fully kneaded when you slice into it with a sharp knife and see small air bubbles. Return dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, place it on your kitchen table and allow it to rise about one hour until it doubles in size. Do not take your eyes off the bowl for the full hour. Just kidding; that would be torture and cinnamon buns are the opposite of torture.

Grease a large baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Set aside. Make the filling right before the dough finishes rising. Using a fork, cream the butter together with the sugar and spices until you get a spreadable paste.

When the dough has finished rising, place it on a flat, lightly floured surface. Roll it out with a rolling pin to a 13x21-inch rectangle. Place the rectangle on the counter with the long side facing you. Spread the filling on top of the rolled-out dough all the way to the edges. With a butter knife, mark three equal 7" sections in the dough, then fold the outer thirds one at a time on top of the middle section, creating three layers. Rotate the dough so the long side once again faces you and roll out the dough slightly. Cut 1-inch strips; you should have 18-22 strips.

Twist each strip into a rosette shape twice around your thumb and two fingers, pulling the end through the middle. There is no magic formula for this! Cover buns with a tea towel and allow them to rise for 40 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 435°F. Once the buns have risen, brush them with the beaten egg and sprinkle them with pearl sugar. Bake 8-10 minutes until they're golden on top. If you don't have pearl sugar, sprinkle the buns with granulated sugar as soon as you remove them from the oven.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

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That Travel Meal :: THE Italian Cocktail
That Travel Meal :: Pok Pok Som Thai Basil Gin Rickey
That Travel Meal :: Best-in-Show Burrata at Ava Gene's
That Travel Meal :: Chevre-Prosciutto-Pear-Arugula Pizza

[images by @heatherlovesit and recipe adapted from fika: the art of the swedish coffee break by anna brones and johanna kindvall]

Spotlight :: Stockholm

[trip style = urban]

Stockholm is hands down one of the coolest—and most scenic—European capitals. Situated on the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is spread out across 14 islands. If you walk from historic Gamla Stan to upscale Östermalm to picturesque Djurgården you'll see that each island has its own identity and all are worth visiting. {Check out our Södermalm Guide.}

I traveled to Stockholm this summer with friends and it was a highlight of my Scandinavian vacation. With a historic yet modern feel and a hip yet friendly vibe, it's a city—like New York—that will no doubt have you—like me—saying "next time..." I'm already dreaming up my return.

Eat

Make no mistake: Stockholm is expensive. Cocktails are $30 each. A running joke during my trip was that we'd go out for cocktail—singular—because they were too expensive to order more than one. After an evening at the photography museum, my friend and I met up with our Swedish friend and host for late-night cocktail and tapas at AG, a meat-focused restaurant and bar tucked away on a side street in Kungsholmen inside an old silver factory.

Some popular and pricey eateries have smaller, casual restaurants attached to them called bakficka, which translates to back or hip pocket. One such restaurant combo that I'd love to visit is Oaxen Krog & Slip on Djurgården. Dine at Krog for a fine dining experience and Slip for casual fare, with both menus focused on seasonal Nordic cuisine.

Another money-saving tip, besides going out for cocktail and eating in bakfika, is to look for restaurants that serve dagens rätt, a daily lunch special that typically includes a main course, salad, bread and coffee. I met up for a $15 dagens lunch with friends at meat-centric Köttbaren in Vasastan. For additional affordable lunch options, try one of the stylish restaurants at Mood Stockholm.

Do

Walk around the harbour and over to Djurgården, a beautiful island dedicated to the pursuit of recreation, culture and fun. The island is home to many of Stockholm's museums, as well as beautiful parkland. My favorite oasis in the middle of the city is Rosendals Trädgård, a garden and cafe in an idyllic setting. Buy a kanelbulle from the cafe and take it into the apple orchard for fika, where you can sit amongst locals sprawling out on blankets or picking wildflowers from the u-pick garden. Rent a bike at the entrance to Djurgården and cycle along the water's edge.

When the weather is warm, escape the city and spend a day or more on an island in the Stockholm Archipelago. It takes only 30 minutes to reach Fjaderholmarna, where you can visit a brewery and enjoy a meal of freshly caught fish.

Rub shoulders with stylish Swedes who could be mistaken for Alexander Skarsgård and Lykke Li at the Acne Studios flagship store. While you can buy Acne anywhere, what better place to pick up their famous Canada scarf than the flagship store housed in a former bank building that was the location of the 1973 bank robbery and hostage situation that gave rise to the term "Stockholm Syndrome"? For outlet pricing, visit Acne Archive in Vasastan.

More must-visit Swedish shops include Byredo for unique fragrances, Rodebjer for progressive women's fashion, Lotta Agaton for housewares {open thursdays only} and H&M-owned brands & Other Stories and COS.

Stay

Check in to one of the many stylish yet pricey hotels around the city. While I stayed in an apartment, I'd stay at any of the Design Hotels properties or either of the Story Hotels. {See our Södermalm Guide for more hotels.}

Photos

Fika in the orchard at Rosendals Trädgård

Café at Rosendals  Trädgård

Café at Rosendals Trädgård

Greenhouse seating area at Rosendals T rädgård

Greenhouse seating area at Rosendals Trädgård

Street cart liquorice on Djurgården

Street cart liquorice on Djurgården

Köttbaren restaurant

Köttbaren restaurant

Oaxen Slip restaurant

Oaxen Slip restaurant

Vintage café tram on the No 7 Djurgården Line

Vintage café tram on the No 7 Djurgården Line

When to Go

The city is at its best and brightest from May to September, and summer kicks off at Midsummer, when you can join locals in a dance around a maypole and wear a flower crown on your head at the bestand most bohemianparty of the year.

Getting There

Stockholm's Arlanda Airport is located about 40 kms from the city centre. The easiest ways into town include the Arlanda Express train {20 mins/$39} or the Flygbussarna bus {45 mins/$18}. Taxi fares are posted on the side of the cab, but vary according to the taxi company. Look for the best rate instead of the closest cab.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Stockholm :: Södermalm Guide
Spotlight :: Helsinki
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 1}
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 2}
Jetset Style :: Scandinavia-Inspired Jackets

[images by @heatherlovesit except oaxen slip via restaurant]

Stockholm :: Södermalm Guide

IMG_4339 copy.jpg

[trip style = urban]

"I have found my people" I announced on social media after spending just one day in Stockholm, roaming around the city's hippest hood with friends. Popular with young, creative Stockholmers, Södermalm is an urban island known for its trendsetting shops and restaurants heavily influenced by Swedish design. It also has the benefit of being home to some of the most picturesque postcard views of the city. 

Do
Visit Fotografiskaa photography museum housed in an early 1900s industrial building next to the cruise ship docksand one of Stockholm's most popular attractions for both tourists and locals. I visited on a Saturday night, which turned out to be date night in the dimly lit gallery, evidenced by the couples staring more longingly at each other than the photographs. Stay for brunch or dinner in the restaurant or, during the summer, in the outdoor grill with live music in the evenings.

Browse through carefully curated racks of Swedish clothing and accessories at Grandpa, where I could have spent an hour trying on leather bags by Sandqvist and jackets by Carin Wester, and at Bruno Götgatsbacken, where I found some great pieces by Hope. Don't miss other Swedish shops around the neighborhood like Stutterheim Raincoats, Nudie Jeans, Filippa K, Whyred and Acne Studios.

Eat
The best thing about Sweden, besides the beautiful blondes, might be fika, an afternoon coffee break accompanied by a lil' somethin' sweet. The perfect treat for fika is a kanelbulle {cinnamon bun}, also known as kardemummabulle when the dough contains cardamom. Less sweet than North American cinnamon buns, kanelbullar are topped with pearl sugar instead of icing sugar. Drop by Fabrique {next to Grandpa} to try one. I might even suggest that you stop at every bakery you see for some comparative kardemummabulle shopping. Skip the metro and walk off the calories as you navigate the cobblestone streets to Old Town.

Speaking of sweets, I loved Pärlans Konfektyr, a charming caramel shop inspired by the 1930s and 40s, where you can peek into the kitchen and watch the caramel makers hand wrap flavors like vanilla sea salt, salty licorice and rose.

For something more substantial, pull up a bright yellow and hot pink stool at Urban Deli or one of the other restaurants and cafés surrounding Nytorget Square, like Edith, Gildas Rum or Sardin.

Stay
I was fortunate to stay with a friend in Stockholm, but I spied a few hotels around Söder, like ABBA member Benny Andersson-owned Hotel Rival and more budget-friendly Scandic Malmen. Exploring the city for more than a couple days? Stay in one of the many spacious and stunningly decorated apartments for rent on airbnb.

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

Related
Jetset Style :: Scandinavia-Inspired Jackets
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 1}
Spotlight :: Copenhagen {Part 2}
Spotlight :: Helsinki

[images by @heatherlovesit except fotografiska via museum website, grandpa via store website, parlans via lillenord]