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Celebrating Back To School With Norwegian “Skoleboller”

The below is a repurposed text from a previous blog post I published back in January of 2013. I have since turned vegan, and wanted to make a version of the amazing and popular sweet rolls Norwegians are known for, called skolebrød or skoleboller, depending on where in the country you live. In my region in northwestern Norway where we have a strong baking tradition (and perhaps the biggest in the country), we call them skoleboller.  As we may be less than ecstatic to head back to school, work and a new season after the summer holiday and a fun Labor Day weekend, these delightful pastries might just put a smile back on your face!

Skoleboller, or skolebrød, translates into “school buns” or “school” bread, and are sweet cardamom buns, filled with a vanilla custard in the middle, decorated with confectioners sugar glaze and shredded coconut. I know, right? I don’t even have to put a picture up and your mind goes “wow!!” Cardamom is a beloved spice in baked goods in Scandinavia – I love this about our pastries, because it doesn’t make them so cloyingly sweet which is sometimes the case with similar treats from other countries. Norwegians pride themselves on being great bakers, and I think this creation proves why.  In the recipe in this blog post I have adjusted the ingredients slightly, I’ve added some whole wheat flour and also substituted blueberries as the filling in the middle to make the recipe more whole food based. I’ve also eliminated the traditional confectioner’s glaze that is added to make the coconut stick, to reduce the sugar content in the buns. The recipe was inspired by a post I came across in the Norwegian food magazine Aperitif last week.

Skoleboller used to be put in children’s lunch boxes as a special treat, hence the name.  I remember being overly excited when my mom (on special days) took me to the bakery after school and I was allowed to have a skolebolle.  This was something my mom would never bake at home – probably because it is a somewhat laborious task, and was also considered ‘kid food’ and my parents wouldn’t really eat them (they clearly didn’t know what they were missing!).  My other theory is that it’s impossible to have just one of these awesome tasting creations, so of course having them at home could prove problematic..

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Skoleboller is a  wonderful pastry to prepare for your guests who are coming over  – with our without children – and is amazing with a cup of hot cocoa, or of course: that mandatory black cup of coffee Norwegians love so much!!

I hope you’ll enjoy my plant based version as much as I did…. Comment or hop over to my FB page to say hello -I would love to hear from you! Wishing you all a fabulous fall season!

A HEALTHIER SKOLEBOLLE

1 stick vegan butter (about 114 grams), at room temperature, diced into cubes

1 cup plant-based milk (Almond, soy, cashew, rice milk)

1 packed dry instant yeast or 25 grams fresh yeast

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cardamom

300 grams/1 1/2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour

200 grams/1 cup all purpose flour

Filling:

1/2 cup dairy free vanilla custard*

400 grams/2 cups fresh blueberries (you can also substitute frozen)

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 cup plant based milk for brushing buns

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Vanilla Custard:

3 tbsp organic cornstarch

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup plant based milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Add cornstarch and granulated sugar in a small pot over medium heat, and start gradually whisking in the milk. Continue whisking constantly to avoid lumps. If it takes a while for it to thicken, add a bit more cornstarch until you get the thickness/consistency you want. When the custard has thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. As the custard cools, it will continue to stiffen up.

While the custard cools off, start preparing the dough your buns:

Add the instant yeast to the milk, which should be heated to about 110Fahrenheit, making sure to not have the milk too hot or it will kill the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until the liquid begins to bubble. Combine the whole wheat and all purpose flours, sugar, salt and cardamom in a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and combine lightly. Add in the milk-yeast mixture and knead on medium speed until the dough is smooth and leaves the bowl. At the very end of the kneading process, add in the diced, room temperature butter.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot to rise for about 45 minutes.

On a clean work surface sprinkled with flour, knead the dough a minute or two more, and divide into two equal parts. Roll out into links and divide into 12 buns.  Place on two greased baking sheets, cover with a towel and plastic wrap, and let rise for another 30 minutes.   Preheat your oven to 430Fahrenheit.

Poke a circle/dent in each bun and place a tbsp of the vanilla custard, a few blueberries on top and sprinkle with the sugar.

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Brush the buns with the milk and sprinkle with shredded coconut and place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden on top.  The coconut will be toasted, but I like this flavor. If you prefer it to be raw/white, you can sprinkle the buns after you remove the buns from the oven.

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