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My Norwegian buddy spoke to me about a little bun which is one of the most traditional  and beloved snacks of Norway. Much like the croissant is to France, the boller, or bolle, is to Norway. They are eaten for breakfast, lunch, tea, snack and dessert. They are a milk-based bread, not overly sweet and with just a hint of cardamom. I just LOVE cardamom, such an exotically fragrant spice. They come with or without raisins, although from all the recipes I’ve read, you must be crazy not to want the raisins in them. Baked fresh daily in all bakeries, available in grocery stores and, apparently, even in gas stations. Sadly, only in Norway. Or you can make your own, as Charlotte and Emma did. I wanted to surprise my Norwegian buddy, so rather than ask him for a recipe, I did some research and landed on Mor’s boller by fiveandspice.

Makes about 12-14

  • 2 1/2cups warm whole milk (about 100 degrees F)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 5 1/2cups of all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (this is optional, but recommended) *I soaked the raisins in some warm water until ready to use.
  • 1egg white, for an egg wash

In a large bowl mix together warm milk, melted butter, sugar and yeast.

Remember to check that the milk is around 100 degrees F.

Let stand 10 minutes, until yeast is good and foamy.

In the meantime I had the girls remove the cardamom seeds from their pods. You could buy already ground cardamom but I like to grind them myself for the freshest taste possible.

Stir in the salt and cardamom. Begin to stir in the flour, one cup at a time, stirring until incorporated. Stir in the raisins, drained of their liquid.

The dough should be pretty sticky, making it difficult to handle, but this is key to getting a properly soft and pillowy texture in the buns. Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until about doubled in size.  

Grease 2 cookie sheets. Punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it briefly, a couple of minutes.

Break off pieces of dough and form into balls slightly bigger than golf balls. Place them on cookie sheets. The recipe says it will make 12 to 14 buns; we were able to make 24.

Cover and let rise somewhere warm for 30 to 45 minutes. We let ours rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush the buns with the egg white. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top. Allow to cool on cookie sheet before you dive in.

The enticing aroma that wafted through the kitchen as these little buns were baking had the girls running into the kitchen, asking if they were ready. As I took them out of the oven, they again came running, begging for a taste. How I managed to hold them back for 15 minutes while they cooled was a task in itself. When the time came, we pried them open to release their fragrance and took a bite. Still warm, soft and chewy, a slight touch of sweetness…and then the cardamom. You don’t taste it at first. And then suddenly it’s there, lingering at the back of your throat. Just perfect! Emma had the brilliant idea of slathering on some butter. Oh my word! Even better!

The next morning I cut one in half, popped it into the toaster and spread some butter on top. Crunchy, with the cardamom hitting you full on this time. Amazing!

My Norwegian buddy suggested I try one with Jarlsberg, a deliciously mild, buttery and nutty cheese from Norway. So I did. Oh, could this get any better?

So, now that I had eaten one for breakfast, snack and lunch, all that was left was having one for dessert. So I chopped up some chunks of dark chocolate and stuffed them into a toasted boller. Oh sweet heaven!