Cinnamon bread – sweet, soft and slightly sticky

Cinnamon bread

Cinnamon bread

Cinnamon bread

Danes have a special love affair with cinnamon. If you cycle around Copenhagen in the early hours of the morning and pass by a bakery, you will most likely be enveloped by a sweet, perfumed cinnamon smell inviting you to buy a warm cinnamon bun or a cinnamon bread fresh out of the oven. It is a real Danish classic and we eat so much cinnamon that it caused major uproar when the European Union tried to limit the amount of cinnamon allowed in baked goods a few years ago. Luckily for us it did not succeed and we can now enjoy our cinnamon breads were saved.

I, of course, have my favourite bakery where I go to get my cinnamon fix, but I prefer baking cinnamon bread myself. It is dead easy, will make your entire home smell amazing, and it means that you don’t have to get up on a Sunday morning and go to the bakery. A distinct advantage on a rainy and windy weekend.

Cinnamon bread
Enough for a two liter loaf tin

Dough:
½ package of fresh yeast
2 deciliter of milk
75g butter + ekstra for the tin
50g cane sugar
A pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ a vanilla pod
500-550g wheat flour

Filling:
125g softened butter
175g cane sugar
3tbsp cinnamon

Icing:
100g icing sugar
2-3tbsp water

Cut the butter into cubes. Heat the milk and butter until the butter has melted and the mixture is lukewarm.

Cinnamon bread

Add the yeast and stir until it dissolves and then add salt and sugar. Transfer to a stand mixer, add 2/3 of the four, eggs and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Mix and add more flour as required. Knead the dough for at least ten minutes until it is very smooth and soft. You get the best results by kneading it on a stand mixer, but you can do it by hand as well.

Cinnamon bread

Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size. This takes around 1-1½ hours.

Kanelbrød3

Meanwhile make the filling by mixing butter, sugar and cinnamon until soft. Grease a two liter loaf tin well with butter.

When the dough has risen transfer it to a surface covered with flour and shape into a rectangle about 30×40 cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough.

Cinnamon bread

Roll the dough firmly, turn the edges in underneath and place the cinnamon bread in the greased tin.

Cinnamon bread

With a pair of scissors cut deep into the bread from the top in a zigzag pattern and let the bread rise for 30 minutes.

Cinnamon bread

Turn on the oven at 180 degrees Celsius and bake the cinnamon bread for 30-40 minutes. If it starts getting too dark, cover it for the last 10-15 minutes of the baking time. Let the bread cool down in the tin for a bit and then transfer it to a wire rack to cool down completely.

Cinnamon bread

Make the icing by mixing icing sugar with water and then spread the icing over the bread.

Cinnamon bread

Serve the cinnamon bread in thick slices. It will keep for a day or two if covered up well, but it tastes best freshly baked.

Cinnamon bread

Grandma’s sweet buttermilk horns

Kærnemælkshorn, færdige2, maj 2013 Kærnemælkshorn, færdige1, maj 2013

My grandmother was a keen cook. She was always in her kitchen baking and basting, pickling and poaching. She was every good at using seasonal ingredients and throughout her life she collected recipes from newspapers, magazine friends and family. When she passed away a few years ago I inherited her treasure-trove of recipes and whenever I need a recipe for a classic dish I always look take out her fabulous collection which she meticulously kept in a little black box on index cards neatly written in her small handwriting – it has never failed me yet.

A week ago I was sitting in a small Copenhagen cafe with a friend. They had a tray with freshly baked ”kærnemælkshorn” – buttermilk horns – on the counter, and I simply had to have one. They took me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen and sitting on her kitchen table looking at her rolling out the dough for my favourite treat. Later in a nostalgic mood I took out my black box of recipes and voilá – a recipe for buttermilk horns from 1961, thank you grandma!

Buttermilk horns are an old school Danish classic and a real treat, somewhere between a pastry and a bun. They are made from a buttery yeast dough with buttermilk – don’t worry they don’t taste like buttermilk – rolled around a creamy almond filling and finally sprinkled with sugar and chopped almonds just before they are baked. They make a delicious afternoon treat for tea or a wicked breakfast on a special Sunday morning.

Grandma’s sweet buttermilk horns
Makes 20-24 buttermilk horns

Dough:
300g butter
500g wheat flour
50g caster sugar
2 dl buttermilk
10g fresh yeast
A pinch of salt

Almond filling:
10g butter
100g caster sugar
100g marzipan (at least 60% almonds)

Additionally:
An egg for brushing
A handful of finely chopped almonds
A handful of nib sugar

Start by making the dough. Mix together flour, salt and sugar and work in the butter until the texture is like coarse breadcrumbs. Lightly heat the buttermilk until it is a little warm and mix with the yeast. Pour the liquid into the butter and flour mix and quickly mix together until it is just smooth. Do not knead the dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge, preferably overnight but at least 5-6 hours.

Grandma's sweet buttermilk horns

For the almond filling, knead the marzipan with the sugar and then work in the butter until the texture is smooth. The almond filling can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.

Divide the dough in two. Roll each into a circle using a bit of flour, so the dough does not stick. Each circle should have a diameter of around 35-40 cm. Cut each circle into ten or twelve triangles.

Grandma's sweet buttermilk horns

Place a large teaspoon of almond cream on each triangle and roll them up starting at the broadest end. Make sure to fasten the ends securely so the buttermilk horns do not come apart in the oven.

Grandma's sweet buttermilk horns

Brush the horns with egg and sprinkle them with finely chopped almonds and sugar.

Grandma's sweet buttermilk horns

Bake for 18-22 minutes at a 180 degrees Celsius.Keep an eye on them during the last third of the baking time so they do not get too dark.

The buttermilk horns are best served fresh out of the oven, but they also taste great when they are cold – if you like you can reheat them in the oven for a few minutes just before serving. They are also great to freeze and this way you always have a treat for unexpected company. Simply wrap the unbaked horns carefully in plastic or put them in an airtight container. Bake from frozen at a 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes.

Kærnemælkshorn, færdige, maj 2013