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!
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.
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.
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.