Sunday, November 24, 2013

KanelSnegle or Kanelbullar ~ Swedish Cinnamon Buns

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

KanelSnegle (Cinnamon Snails) or Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns) is the Swedish version of the popular American Cinnamon Rolls. The Swedish version are probably the original version and not sticky like their American counterparts and are also less sweet. These rolls are delightfully aromatic, soft and moist, and perfect with a cup of tea/ coffee whether for breakfast or in the evening. Yes, you guessed right, this is the bread the group has decided to bake for the month!

The Swedish KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullars less about sugar and more about the spices in it – cardamom in the dough and cinnamon inside the Snails/ Buns. Whether you call them Snails (coiled shape)or Buns (twisted and rolled up) depends on how you shape them. Scandinavian celebratory breads tend to be all about spices and warmth so you will find a lot of their breads scented with cardamom. Cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, etc.

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

These Cinnamon Snails/ Buns are found all over Europe with slight variations in recipe and the shapes as Franzbrotchen, Korvapuusti, Skillingsbollen, etc.
KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar are traditionally made on the 4th of October every year in Sweden to celebrate “the Day of the Cinnamon Bun” but can be found in bakeries all through the year. There are different ways of shaping this confectionery and I have detailed two types here – the typical “snail” shape which much like that of the regular Cinnamon Roll, and the “twist”. You are free to explore different shapes and try them out if you’re feeling adventurous.
Typically the traditional filling in these buns is just butter, sugar and cinnamon, but there are versions that also use almonds with this filling and that’s what I have done here. Feel free to leave the almonds out if you want.They usually come baked in white paper cases, and the nice thing about this is that the filling stays in the buns and doesn’t get left behind on the baking sheets!


Shaping cinnamon roll style. (I followed this method of shaping).
One way of shaping is to just roll up the dough with filling like jelly/ swiss roll style and cut them into pieces. This is the typical KanelSnegle.Watch the video here.

Shaping by stretching and twisting into buns.
The other way is to fold the dough over the filling and cut it into strips. Then slightly pull/ elongate strips and twist like a rope and then roll it up, tucking the end underneath the bun.Watch the video here.

Shaping into “trouser leg” and twisting into buns.
The third slightly more complicated and prettier bun is made by cutting the strips into half lengthwise leaving one end attached (see pictures and video for details) like “trousers/ pants”. Then each “leg is twisted and then rolled up to form a bun.Watch the video here.

This recipe involves the preparation of a starter which is refrigerated overnight.
These KanelSnegle freeze quite well, so you can make the full batch of twenty and freeze them for later use. Just warm them up in the microwave or the oven whenever you want one or two.

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

KanelSnegle / Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Snails / Rolls)
Makes 20 numbers
Source ~ Aparna, for Bread Baking Group.


For the Starter:
1 cup warm milk
2tsp instant yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Dough:
All the Starter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt (if using salted butter, otherwise 1 1/2 tsp)
6 to 8 pods cardamom, powdered
2 tsp lemon zest
1/3 cup caster sugar
60g butter, soft at room temperature

For the Filling:
75g butter, soft at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed (or 1/3 cup caster sugar)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup coarsely ground almonds

For the Topping:
1/4 cup milk (or egg wash if you eat eggs)
Pearl sugar or large sugar crystals ( I used Demerara)


KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

Mix together all the ingredients for the Starter into a sticky dough, in a large bowl. Place the Starter dough in an oiled bowl and loosely cover it and then refrigerate it. Remember the dough will rise quite a bit so use a container that has enough room for this.
The next day, about 30 minutes before you are ready to start on the dough, take the Starter out and leave it at room temperature. As always this can be kneaded by hand or in the processor. I’m giving instructions for using the processor.
Tear the Starter to large pieces and drop into the processor bowl. Now sift together the flour, cardamom and salt into a bowl. Add this, the lemon zest and sugar to the bowl and run the processor till well mixed.
Now add the soft butter and knead well until you have a smooth and elastic dough. If your dough feels dry, add a little milk or if it feels wet then add a little flour till you have the required consistency of dough.

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

Now turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and then roll it out into a approximately rectangle about 20” by 12” in size. Make the filling by mixing/ creaming together the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon with a fork or spoon into a spreadable paste. Depending on which shape you are going to make your Cinnamon Buns, spread the filling either all over your dough rectangle, or over half of it.
Sprinkle the coarse almond powder over this and then either tightly roll the dough jelly/ Swiss roll style and cut it into 20 equal pieces with a sharp knife. Place these, cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet leaving space between them, or in white cupcake cases.
Otherwise fold the dough over in half and cut into 20 long strips with a sharp knife, twist and shape them as desired. Place these, cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet leaving space between them, or in white cupcake cases.
Let them rise for about 10 to 15 minutes till they look a little puffy but not swollen up. Brush the Snails/ Buns with milk (or egg wash) and sprinkle with pearl sugar, large sugar crystals or brown sugar (whatever you have on hand). I used Demerara .

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

Bake them at 200C (400F) for about 15 minutes till they’re cooked, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. If they’re browning too quickly, turn down the temperature by about 20C (65F) and bake them till done.

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

Let them cool on wire racks. You can serve them warm or at room temperature. You can freeze these KanelSnegle for whenever you feel like having one.

KanelSnegle/ Kanelbullar

Cinnamon Rolls Served in Denmark

While on last year's trip to Scandinavia, I was fortunate enough to savour the best of Cinnamon rolls from Denmark and Sweden (the source points). They were flaky and light and the ones you see in the picture were the ultimate! Little did I know that I would venture baking the same within months, near to perfection! Thanks Aparna! :)
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Palak Keerai Masiyal / Puréed spiced-up Spinach

Palak Keerai Masiyal

As we know, 'Palak' is the Hindi name for spinach, the common healthy greens, and 'Pasalai Keerai', the Tamil.
Having this on my mind, I requested my vegetable lady to bring 'pasalai keerai'. She confronted me with real fresh bunch of greens with oval shaped fleshy leaves that bore tiny pink flowers. The bunch looked cute. I cooked and mashed the leaves, but found this one totally slimy and non-edible! Strange but true.

Lately, I learnt the exact greens I was searching for was called 'Palak Keerai'! This one had longer and broader leaves which were thinner.'Pasalai', I was told, was a different variety: the one with oval leaves and pink flowers.Strange again. I still get confused!

I tried this dish while in Namakkal. The town sells fresh greens, no matter where you live, you can grab the freshest bunch every morning from the vegetable ladies or the nearby shops. I got the bunch from the market.
Those were the times when I was the guardian for my school going son who was in high pressure preparing for the public exams. I saw to it, he received healthy and tasty diet.
'Palak Keerai Masiyal' was thus born, a recipe I tweaked from my other mashed spinach recipes combined with the tips given by my neighbour. Neither my mom or ma-in-law had cooked the same and I had not tasted too. To my excitement, my son really loved this one and I included in his lunch menu, twice a week. The intake of spinach in this form will be greater by one who eats it and the mashed form is better assimilable. This 'Masiyal' or 'Kadasal'( meaning mashed) is thus one of the tastiest greens I prepare!

Palak Keerai Masiyal

Palak Keerai Masiyal/Kadasal
To serve a family of 4
Time taken - 40 minutes

A small bunch of Spinach/ Palak
2 tsps of oil
1 medium sized big onion, chopped
Half of a green chilly  or one small, slit lengthwise to two pcs
1/4 tsp cumin/jeera powder
A fat pinch or turmeric powder
1 medium sized tomato
5-6 cloves garlic
2 tbsps of cooked thuvar dal
Salt- 1/2 tsp or as needed

Seasoning (optional, I didn't do as my son dislikes. The taste was still good!)
2 tsps of oil
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and urad dal
A red chilly, broken into 3 bits
Pinch of hing

Palak Keerai Masiyal

Wash well enough and retain the leaves and tender stem. I retained just an inch of stem from the leaf. Discard the fibrous parts of the stem completely. Chop the greens. You may not need to chop fine since we are going to cook them. Rough chopping will do. Heat 2 tsps oil in a kadai. Sauté the onions adding salt until translucent and then the garlic and chilly. Add in cumin and turmeric powders...

Palak Keerai Masiyal

..followed by the tomato pieces and sauté until they turn mushy. Top up with chopped spinach. Sprinkle 1/4-1/2 cup of water and close the pan with a lid.Turn the flame to low-medium and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Open and check whether the palak is cooked soft. Fresh greens let out water while cooking so check the amount of water you sprinkle earlier.

Palak Keerai Masiyal

Now that it's cooked, stir in cooked dal. Switch off fire and let it cool. The whole mass should be moist may be with 2-3tsps and water in it as you see in the picture. Too much of water will spoil the consistency of the 'kadasal'. If you feel it's too dry, add 2-3 tsps of hot water.Purée or blend in a mixie. Check salt. Serve with steamed rice or phulkas.

Palak Keerai Masiyal

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