If only we could wake up to coffee and freshly baked cardamom buns every day — such cozy contentment must surely be followed by a very good day.
These soft, pillowy buns are speckled with fresh cardamom flakes and very fragrant. They taste lovely, too. We filled them with a thick cinnamon butter and dusted them with sugar — a heavenly counterbalance for the mildly sweet, nutty cardamom. We love how each little twist of dough pulls away to make the perfect bite, sugary, spicy, and so dunkable.
They’re also extremely pretty, with their shiny, golden brown knots, and they’ll give your breakfast table a pastry chef’s polish. You don’t have to tell a soul that they were easy to make — yes, there are more than a few steps, but each one is a snap. Make them for your kiddo’s birthday breakfast, for the long weekend at the mountain cabin with your BFFs, or for any old morning that you want to feel warm and special.
For the dough:
1 Tbsp cardamom pods
1 ¼ cups milk
⅔ cup sugar
1 packet quick-rise instant yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Gelson’s extra-large egg
4 ½ to 5 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface
For the cardamom buns:
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ scant cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling, divided
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Gelson’s extra-large egg, beaten, for brushing
¼ cup honey, for brushing
¼ tsp ground cardamom, for sprinkling
To make the dough: Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until fine.
In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and cardamom. Gently heat until the milk reaches 115°.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, briefly mix the sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Don't worry if the butter is still a bit lumpy.
Add the milk and cardamom, mix briefly, and add 4 ½ cups of the flour.
Use the dough hook to knead the dough for a few minutes, until it’s glossy, smooth, and soft. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky. If it’s too sticky, add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the dough to proof until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
To make the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, mix the butter, scant ½ cup sugar, and cinnamon until well combined and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature.
To make the cardamom buns: Once the dough has risen, tip it onto a floured work surface. Roll it into a large rectangle, about 1 ½ x 2 feet, and spread the cinnamon filling on top, covering the whole rectangle.
Fold the dough into thirds: fold the top long side of the dough down to the middle, and then fold the bottom long side over it. Roll the dough into a long, thin rectangle, about ¼-inch thick. Trim off the edges with a knife, so that they’re nice and flat.
Cut the dough into ¾-inch strips, and then cut each strip down the middle, leaving one end intact. (Just an inch or so; they' look like a pair of trousers). Hold the strip by the ends, and then gently stretch and twist the “legs.” Wrap the twisted legs around your fingers a few times and fold the end across the loop to finish it. Repeat with the remaining strips.
Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the buns lightly with the beaten egg and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
In a small saucepan, gently warm the honey over low heat, stirring constantly, until thin and spreadable, about 1 minute.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the ground cardamom. Brush the still-warm buns with the honey and sprinkle on the sugar-cardamom mixture.
Recipe adapted from: Food52