Boller–the ultimate Norwegian comfort food

Boller, a type of sweet buns, is the ultimate Norwegian comfort food. Sick? Mom will make boller to make you feel better. Bad weather? Mom will make boller to make the day pass by. Birthday? Mom will make boller to celebrate. Ash Wednesday? Mom will make special Fastelavensboller. St. Lucia’s Day? Mom will make boller with saffron. Skiing? Mom will make boller to take along. Guests? Mom will make boller to serve with the coffee.

Boller come in many shapes and sizes, with varying fillings or plain balls. Some of the most common versions include these:

  • Fastelavensboller: for the start of lent, they are baked plain in a ball shape, cut in half horizontally, then the bottom gets jam spread on it, followed by whipped cream, the top bolle part, then a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
  • Skolebrød: Bolle dough is rolled out, then the middle filled with an egg based custard before baking. When cool, the top (except for the custard part) gets spread with a simple powdered sugar/water icing, then immediately dipped into sweetened shredded coconut.
  • Kanelboller: bolle dough is rolled out into a rectangle, a bit of butter is spread on it, then cinnamon and sugar before rolled up and cut into slices (cinnamon rolls).
  • Mandelhorn: bolle dough is rolled out into a large circle, cut into six pie slices, which are filled with marzipan (equal weights ground almond and powdered sugar, made into a paste with egg white) before rolled up like a croissant and baked.
  • Lussekatter: for St. Lucia’s Day in December, bolle dough gets saffron added to turn it yellow, then rolled out into long sausages which are rolled together to make interesting shapes, and decorated with raisins before baking.
  • Hvetekrans: a braided ring, often with a filling of almond and vanilla custard. Often covered in thin lines of glaze before serving.
  • Adventskrans: as above but with four advent candles stuck into it. Often covered in thin lines of glaze before serving.
  • Klippekrans: rolled out into a rectangle, sprinkled or spread with a filling or pieces of chocolate, rolled up, made into a ring, then cut almost all the way through with scissors at set intervals. The parts are then stretched to alternating sides to make a design before baked. Often covered in thin lines of glaze before serving.
  • Rosinboller: raisins and “sukat,” which is candied pieces of a citrus rind.
  • Julebrød or julekake: like rosinboller but made as a loaf in a loaf pan, cut into slices, and served with butter and thin slices of “gjetost/gjeitost/brunost,” which is a sweet Norwegian cheese. In the US, the cheese can be found in larger grocery stores sold under the name Ski Queen; it’s a small, red cube.

This time, I made cinnamon rolls but shaped them into knots; then, after brushing the tops with egg wash, I sprinkled pearl sugar on the top for a little crunch.


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Ingredients

150 g vegan butter, melted

2 C / 5 dl soy milk

1 tbsp yeast

2/3 C / 1 1/2 dl sugar

2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

6 2/3 C / 1 1/2 l flour

Method

Melt the butter, warm up the milk to body temperature. Knead the rest in. Let rise until double in size. Shape/fill as desired; let rise again. Brush egg wash onto the top. Bake at 425 degrees F / 220 degrees C for about 10 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. If making a large wreath, increase baking time.

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