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two cardamom cinnamon buns with pearl sugar in top in the basket.
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5 from 1 vote

Healthier Cardamom Cinnamon Buns

This is a healthier twist on the classic Swedish cardamom buns using Asian bread making technique, which results in delicious buns that are soft and fluffy with less than half amount of butter and sugar.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Proofing time2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time3 hrs 2 mins
Course: baking, Bread and bun
Cuisine: Asian, Swedish
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Edwina

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 300 g bread flour 2½ cup
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom preferably freshly ground, see note
  • 30 g sugar 2 tbsp
  • 20  condensed milk  1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • 80 g cold water  ⅓ cup
  • 80 g milk (preferably whole milk)  ⅓ cup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp instant yeast (rapid rise yeast) preferably SAF instant yeast
  • 4 g sea salt  ½ tsp 
  • 30 g unsalted butter 2 tbsp, cut into 6 pieces

For the filling

  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar I used Muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom preferably freshly ground
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Topping

  • pearl sugar optional
  • ½ tbsp melted butter

Instructions

First make the dough

  • Add flour, ground cardamom, sugar, condensed milk, milk, water, egg yolk and yeast into the stand mixer and knead on low speed until the dough is formed.
  • Cover the mixing bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • When it's done resting, add salt and continue to knead the dough for 30 seconds.
  • Add butter cubes and knead until the dough is very smooth and passes the windowpane test. (This step usually takes me about 6 minutes, with 5 minutes on low speed and 1 minute on medium speed. The actual time it takes you depends on your mixer.)
  • Form the dough into a ball (it will be very sticky but still workable. If it's too sticky to handle, then add a little bread flour and knead for another 1~2 minutes) and put it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover, and let it rise for 1 hour to 1.5 hours in a warm place (between 82°F to 90°F) until it doubles in size.

Shaping the buns

  • Mix dark brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom and salt in a small bowl and set it aside.
  • Transfer the dough onto a lightly dusted working surface. Roll it into a rectangle with a rolling pin, about 11" x 16" (28 cm x 40 cm).  If it's difficult to roll, cover and let it rest for 5 minutes before rolling again.
  • Brush the surface with melted butter before dusting the sugar spice mixture evenly on the rolled out dough.
  • With the dough in "portrait" orientation, fold the top ⅓ of the dough down and the bottom ⅓ up. Gently roll it again to eliminate any air.
  • This step is optional - to make the dough easier to cut and shape, cover it with a damp towel and chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes. You can also skip this step and continue to the next step.
  • With the dough in "landscape" orientation, cut the folded dough into 12 equal pieces.
  • Take one piece of dough, twist two times before forming it into a spiral shape and tuck the end into the bottom. Please see the gif for a demonstration. Repeat the same thing for the other strips of dough and place them on a lined baking sheet.
    twisting cardamom cinnamon bun.
  • Cover the buns with greased plastic wrap and let it proof at room temperature for about 50 - 60 minutes until it looks puffy and the layers started to separate. Sprinkle some pearl sugar at this point if you're using it.

Baking

  • Preheat the oven for 375°F (190°C) in the final 20 minutes of proofing. When the temperature is reached, put the pan in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Brush the top with melted butter and transfer the rolls onto a cooling rack. Let it cool for 10 minutes before enjoying.

Storing and reheating

  • If you are not eating these on the first day, store them in the freezer once they’re cool. When you want to eat them, bake in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 6 minutes and it will be as good as when it's fresh.  If you want a softer buns, simply spray some water on it before baking.

Notes

I prefer to use freshly grounded cardamon as it's a lot more aromatic than pre-ground cardamon.  For the amount we use in the recipe, you will need about three tbsp of green cardamon pods.  Crush the cardamon pods first and take the seeds out before grinding the seeds in the spice grinder or food processor.  The grind doesn't need to be very fine, but you also don't want to bite into hard bits when you're enjoy the buns.  

Nutrition

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg