Christmas is approaching, and so is the Swedish Lucia celebrations. If you’d like to know more about Lucia, or what actually traditionally is eaten during the celebration, check our my traditional saffron bun recipe to read more. Moreover, these are a classic with a delicious, spiced twist. These are classic Swedish Saffron buns filled with ginger bread spiced caramel filling, so basically, the Christmas cousin to cinnamon rolls. How about that? Let me end with telling you that even my brother, who doesn’t like saffron nor saffron buns, loved these. If you ask me making someone to liking something that they usually don’t like is the best kind of feedback.
This is a little video I made to show you guys how I shaped my buns into knots. I hope you find it helpful! XO
Saffron Buns with Gingerbread Spiced Caramel Filling
[Vegan, healthy, whole food, refined sugar-, oil-free, fruit sweetened]
Serving 20 buns
For the filling
- 200g dates
- 2 tbsp nut butter
- 4-6 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
- A pinch of salt
- A splash of vanilla essence
For the dough
- Optionally but recommended 25g / 1 oz of oil/margarine or such
- 125 gram / 4,5 oz thick yoghurt of choice
- At minimum 60g / 2 oz sweetener of choice (I used honey)*
- 50g / 1,75 oz fresh yeast
- 1g / 1/2 tsp saffron
- A pinch of salt
- 450g / 15,9 oz finely ground whole grain flour
- In a food processor, blender, or using a hand mixer, mix all the ingredients for the filling completely smooth.
- On the stove top, combined the margarine, milk, yoghurt, sweetener, and saffron in a sauce pan, over low-medium heat. Once the mixture is lukewarm, which when it’s around 38ºC/100ºF, take the mixture off the stove. (If the mixture is too warm it can kill the yeast, and then your buns won’t rise!)
- In a large bowl, finely crumble the yeast, pour over the saffron mixture, and give it a good stir, so the yeast dissolves.
- For the next step, I used a stand mixer, but you can knead by hand as well. To the saffron yeast mixture, start adding a couple of spoonfuls of flour at the time, and let the machine work, until the dough can be kneaded by hand. It should still be moist, so be careful with adding the flour at the end. If you have some flour over, you can use the left overs when kneading the dough and shaping the buns.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F / 225°C. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. You can shape the buns two ways, into the classic cinnamon bun or a twisted knot shape. The following instructions is for how to make the buns into knots, but you can find how to shape your buns the other way in my cinnamon bun recipe.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll one of the pieces of dough into a 30×30 cm / 12×12 inch square. Transfer and spread out the half of ginger spread filling onto half of the rolled out square. Fold the square, the half without filling on to the one with, and slice into 10 strips. Repeat and do the same to the other half of the dough.
- Take the strips and twist and fold them together (see video above). Place buns, well spaced apart, on 2 baking sheets, cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least 30 minutes.
- Brush the buns with an egg yolk, plant milk or plant cream, and then insert raisin in the middle of each “swirl”. Bake the buns for 7-9 minutes, until golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool slightly. Enjoy!
*If you use less than 60g of sweetener your risk not feeding the yeast enough, which will result in your dough and buns not rising.