Norwegian “Sunshine Sweet Rolls” to celebrate spring

With Easter fast approaching and the first day of spring just passed, my mind goes to foods that reminds me of the bright sunshine, and “solskinnsboller” definitely fits the season.  Decadent, fluffy cardamom buns with a “sun” in the middle of vanilla custard, these sweet rolls are perfect to enjoy on an afternoon while sitting against the wall of your cabin in the Norwegian mountains, enjoying the sun and the crisp air.  Especially after a long cross country ski trip, where you most likely have burned several hundred calories!

Solskinnsboller, or solboller as they are sometimes called, is directly translated as “sunshine buns” or “Sunshine sweet rolls”. They are often enjoyed on the “sun day” in places in northern Norway to celebrate the return of the sun after a long, dark winter.  Funnily enough, in the later years, buns have been created called “mørketidsboller”, (darkness buns) which are eaten during the dark days of winter and they are glazed with chocolate and are also filled with vanilla custard.

Solskinnsboller are different from skoleboller, which I’ve written about in the past.  Skoleboller typically are topped with sprinkles of coconut and confectioner’s glaze, and sunshine buns often are filled with additional things like cinnamon sugar and butter, oranges, almonds, chocolate.. anything your heart desires, essentially.    I did add some confectioner’s glaze to my rolls, just to be rebel 🙂

These buns are in classic, Norwegian style; light, soft and juicy with a scent of cardamom which makes it impossible to stop at having just one!

My trick with veganizing these buns were definitely with the vanilla custard, as it isn’t as yellow as the ones made with egg.  While I tried using turmeric, it turned it more of an orangey green color.   If you care about the color (the taste is exactly the same as regular vanilla custard!) you can try applying some yellow food coloring.    Alternatively, you can always buy instant pudding mix such as Jell-O or this one from Organics, which I prefer. Just remember to use LESS plant based milk than you would regular milk, and almond milk works best.

Try these out and you might have some new fans very soon!

SUNSHINE BUNS

Makes about 15 buns

For the buns:

500 ml non-dairy milk

2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

2/3 cup or 150 grams vegan butter

1/2 cup or 100 grams sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

6 1/4 cup or 750 grams all purpose flour (more flour might be needed)

For the sugar cinnamon filling:

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup or 110 grams brown sugar

1/4 cup or 60 grams vegan butter, melted

For the vegan vanilla custard:

2 cups (500ml) of plant-based milk

2 tsp vanilla paste

1/4 cup or 50 grams sugar

4 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp agar agar

1/2 tsp turmeric or vegan yellow food coloring (optional)

For glaze (optional):

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

about 3 tbsp water – or enough liquid to make it into a paste

To make the buns:

Heat up non dairy milk and vegan butter in a small pot on the stove, until it reached a temperature of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celcius. Sprinkle in the instant yeast with a little bit of the sugar and let sit for a few minutes until the yeast starts to bubble.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, sift in the flour, cardamom, salt and sugar, attach it to the stand with a dough hook and combine the dry ingredients. Slowly drizzle in the milk-yeast-butter mixture and knead until you have a firm, smooth dough.

Cover the dough with a clean towel and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit / 250 degrees Celcius.  Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle.  Using a brush, spread the butter evenly across the rectangle and sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top.

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Roll the rectangle up starting from the widest end until you have a “sausage” link, and divide the link up to about 14 or 15 pieces.     Place them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rest another 20-30 minutes.

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When ready to bake, make an indentation at the center of each bun with your fingers, and fill the center with a spoonful of the vegan vanilla custard.  Brush the buns with a little vegan butter and bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes until golden on top.

Let buns cool on a wire rack, and drizzle confectioner glaze on buns right before serving.

To make vanilla custard:

Heat up the plant based milk with the sugar, add in the cornstarch and agar agar and simmer for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken.  Whisk in the turmeric or yellow food coloring and  remove from heat. Let cool in fridge for an hour or longer until the custard sets.

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Horn: Norwegian crescent rolls

Norwegians love to bake, and while all countries have their own versions of pretty much any dish in existence, I don’t think there’s anything quite like Norwegian “horn”.  The closest would probably be crescent rolls but I will refer to them as “horns” for the rest of this blog post, as there is just something very special about the Norwegian kind.

“Horns” is another example of one of those nostalgic foods that fill my heart with happiness. In appearance these savory pastries are reminiscent of crescents or croissants, but dare I say they are a healthier version, as they contain only a fraction of the butter croissants do.  “Horns”  are heartier and not as fluffy as croissants, but definitely not as dense as crescents.  I think both the flavor and texture of “horns” is what positively sets them apart from any other savory bun or pastry out there.

Sitting down with some type of Norwegian baked goods and a cup of hot cocoa or coffee, is one of the reasons why life is worth living.  There is a great satisfaction, perhaps rooted in deep childhood memories, in allowing yourself this luxury every so often and is probably why I too, as many Norwegians, love baking.

It’s typical to fill the “horns” with something like cheese and ham, in fact I remember in high school I would buy these massive sized ‘horns’ in the school cafeteria and I’m pretty sure that was an entire week’s worth of calories but every student loved them.

In Norway, horn are served both for breakfast and lunch, brought on picnics and on hiking trips for that extra special treat.   There are endless variations of “horn”  – one of my favorites are “pizza horns”, filled with tomato sauce and cheese (vegan in my case, of course).  You can pretty much fill them with anything you want, so long the filling isn’t too runny and will spill out.

There are two main ways to make them; with white, all purpose flour, and whole wheat or whole grain flour.  The white version is typically is baked with a touch of cardamom, and the whole grain one with sesame seeds or other type of seeds like pumpkin, sunflower or flaxseeds.  Black sesame seeds are also common, and in my case, since I only had white sesame seeds, I chose chia seeds and it turned out wonderfully.

No doubt if you visit a Norwegian bakery, you will see some type of these baked, half moon shaped delicacies and I highly recommend you try one. You’d be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t love them the minute they bite into one.
Now luckily, you don’t have to go to Norway to experience eating one, you can just make my recipe. And might I add that these turned out mouthwateringly delicious? Just ask my husband, a non vegan, picky food snob. So there!

If you want to fill the horns,  you will do so as you roll up the triangles before letting them rise again on the baking sheet. I made mine just plain and they were gorgeous just like that.

P.S. You can easily freeze these guys too so I recommend making a double recipe and heat them up in the oven whenever you want to have them – they are delicious just slathered with vegan butter, and perhaps add some vegan cheese or jam too if you wish!

NORWEGIAN BAKED HORNS (not the Viking ones)

1 1/2 cups (3.5dl) plant based milk

1/2 stick (50 grams) vegan butter

2 1/2 tsp dried instant yeast

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

3 1/4 cups (400grams) all purpose flour

1 3/4 cups (200 grams) whole wheat flour

plant based milk for brushing crescents

sesame seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc. for sprinkling on top

Heat up the butter and milk in a small pot until the mixture reaches about 98 degrees Fahrenheit/ 37 degrees Celcius.  Pour into the bowl of a standmixer and sprinkle in the yeast and the sugar and let sit a couple of minutes until it starts to foam.

Attach the dough hook on your stand mixer and add in the flours and the salt, and knead for 5 minutes on medium speed until you have a smooth, firm dough.  Cover with plastic or a clean towel and let rest until double in size, 1-2 hours.

Grease or line two baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit/210 degrees Celcius.

Pour the dough onto a clean, floured work surface, cut the dough in half, and with a rolling pin, shape each piece into a large circle.  Cut the circle into six triangles.  Roll each triangle up, starting from the widest point, until you have a crescent shape.

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Place the crescents on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rest for another 30 minutes.

Brush the crescents lightly with some plant based milk and sprinkle on seeds of choice and baking in the oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden up top.  Serve warm with vegan butter, jam or vegan cheese, and your favorite hot beverage.

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Root Veggie and Lentil Trio Stew from the Jazzy Vegetarian

As a food blogger, I am always inspired to see what other bloggers are up to and what they create.  Laura Theodore, aka the Jazzy Vegetarian is a talented vegan chef, cookbook author, radio host and actor I’ve loved to follow, from her award winning PBS television show, to seeing her publish books, DVDs and continues to contribute to the plant based world of food with fun, easy recipes that everybody can make.

I was honored to be asked to be part of her blog tour in anticipation of her upcoming, new cookbook release, Deliciously Vegan, which contains over 175 flavor-packed plant-based recipes, highlighting holiday entertaining to every day ideas for preparing quick an delectable plant-based meals for the family, along with tips for what it takes to stock and cook on a daily basis in a well-equipped vegan kitchen.   You’ll find ideas for ingredients to have on hand at all times in your pantry, effective egg substitutions for baking, delicious options for making vegan cheese and cream, and much more.

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I chose to feature her Root Veggie and Lentil Trio Stew because I felt this was a recipe very similar to what Norwegians would cook for dinner, especially this time of year.  For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I love cooking with seasonal ingredients, and root vegetables are very typical Nordic ingredients in the winter time.   These are vegetables that survive a long, cold and dark winter and that we base a lot of our soups and stews on.

This is a hearty stew that is filled with loads of delicious flavors and nutrients that will keep you full and satisfied for a long time. I hope you will try this recipe out, and if you are curious about trying out other plant based recipes whether you are a new or seasoned vegan or just want to add more plants in your diet, I highly recommend getting Laura’s book, which you can purchase here.

I also have one cookbook to give away to a lucky reader, to be eligible to enter this giveaway contest, please scroll to the bottom of this post and follow the instructions.  Good luck!

Root Veggie and Lentil Trio Stew

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

The satisfying combo of my favorite root vegetables, combined with a lively lentil trio, makes a hearty and filling stew. Serve it with warm, crusty bread for a delicious and satisfying one-bowl meal.

1 1/2 cups lentil trio blend, picked over, rinsed well (see note)

4 medium carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 can (26 to 28 ounces) diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice (see note)

6 cups water

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 large vegan bouillon cube, crumbled

1 teaspoon tamari

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garam masala (see note)

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a large soup pot and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the root vegetables and the lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon into deep bowls and serve with a green salad on the side.

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Chef’s Notes

  • If you cannot find a pre-packaged lentil trio blend, you may use any combination of black beluga, red and/or green lentils. Alternately, you may combine and use two or three of your favorite lentil varieties in this recipe.
  • If you cannot find fire-roasted tomatoes, you may substitute regular canned diced tomatoes.
  • For a spicier stew, use 1 teaspoon garam masala.

Recipe by Laura Theodore, from JazzyVegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan. Published by Scribe Publishing, ©2018, reprinted by permission.

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Want to win a free copy of Jazzy Vegetarian’s Deliciously Vegan?   Click HERE to see instructions and enter!  Unfortunately, this is limited to U.S. residents only.  Entry deadline is March 10th.