I've been meaning to post this recipe forever, and am just finally getting around to it. Boller are one of the most beloved and delicious snacks in Norway - the other, I'd say, is waffles, oh, and maybe skolebrød, but I digress. They are soft, fragrant cardamom buns with or without raisins (the with raisins version is infinitely superior), and they are available all over from bakeries, to grocery stores, to gas stations. But, obviously the very best are the homemade ones. Specifically the homemade ones my mother bakes. She taught me this recipe, so of course there were no measurements involved to begin with, but this is my best attempt at nailing down quantities. Served slightly warm plain, or with butter and Norwegian goat cheese, they simply can't be beat. (Oh, and for Fat Tuesday you cut them in half and serve them with whipped cream which, I think, is my all time favorite food) —fiveandspice
about 16-24, depending on what size you make the buns
2 1/2 cups
warm whole milk, about 100F
stick butter, melted
active dry yeast
ground cardamom (preferably freshly ground, if you can)
5 1/2 cups
all purpose flour, plus more as needed
raisins (this is optional, but recommended)
In a standing mixer with a bread hook, or a large mixing bowl, mix together the warm milk, melted butter, sugar, and yeast. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes, until the yeast is good and foamy. Stir in the salt and cardamom. Then stir in the flour until all incorporated, and stir in the raisins at this point too, if using (which you should. I think boller are decidedly best with raisins. My brothers would disagree, though.). The dough should still be a bit sticky or tacky, but not stick too terribly to your fingers if you tap it with a knuckle. Adding flour as needed to keep the dough from being irretrievably sticky, knead with the bread hook or by hand until supple (but probably still slightly sticky!), about 8 minutes. Because the dough should stay fairly sticky (using as little extra flour as possible helps keep the buns fluffy), this is definitely easiest to do in a mixer, but it can certainly be done by hand if you don’t have one.
Cover the bowl with a cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (an hour or two depending on the ambient temperature). In the meanwhile, line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
When the dough has risen, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface and break it into equal size pieces, a bit bigger than the size of a golf ball. Shape each piece into a ball and place them on the baking sheets.
Cover with clean dishtowels or plastic wrap and let rise somewhere warm until puffy and soft, another 30-45 minutes . Preheat the oven to 350F. Before baking, whisk the egg and brush the tops of the buns with it. Bake one sheet at a time until deep golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.
Cool the buns on a cooling rack. They’re best when fresh and still slightly warm, smeared with butter, but boller also toast up deliciously for a couple of days. I love to eat one for snack or breakfast split in half, toasted and topped with butter and a slice of gjetost.
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.