Monday, February 21, 2011

Swedish Delights

'Semlor' simply means 'buns' in Swedish. A treat that's enjoyed every February, H tells me that it started as something the Swedes would enjoy for one day of the year, which then extended to one week. Now, Semlor (or 'semla', in singular) are available from Christmas to Easter (according to Wikipedia).

Since arriving in Sweden, H has been telling me that I must try these, as they're a huge tradition. They're simple sweet buns, filled with marzipan & cream, topped with some more cream then capped off with the top of the bun that is cut off. Not being able to eat wheat, I decided to take the challenge of making my own allergy-friendly version for Christmas this year. The first batch was a success, which I was able to enjoy with my new family while they ate their traditional Semlor. With this month's SOS challenge being stevia, I decided to create them again, this time making vegan-friendly alterations.

While these don't look the same as the traditional ones (I use hazelnut butter in place of the almonds, as I'm intolerant to almonds), they're still delicious, filling & nutritious.

It's a little bit of work in crafting these yummy buns, but it's also part of the fun. Once baked, the middle of the bun is dug out, with the filling placed in a bowl. Mixed in with the nut paste & cream, this mixture is placed back into the bun, then topped with cream. The traditional buns have a cap placed on top, but I found this too fiddly as they are quite small, & the bun can crumble. So I skip that step, but still have a delicious end result.

½ Cup (120ml) coconut flour
100mls coconut milk
25mls coconut oil, melted
1 egg (vegan substitute: 1 tablespoon (15mls) psyllium husk with 3 tablespoons of water)
1 teaspoon (5mls) vanilla
1ml white stevia
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon of bicarb soda
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

175g roasted hazelnuts (or whatever roasted nuts you prefer - almonds are traditionally used.)
stevia to taste
Coconut cream, whipped

Coconut cream, whipped

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Sift the coconut flour, vanilla, salt, bicarb & baking soda into a bowl (if using psyllium husk, add this to the bowl as well. If using an egg, whisk in a separate bowl).
3. Melt the coconut in a saucepan on low heat. Once melted, add the coconut milk & warm. Remove from heat & add to the dry mix. Add remaining wet ingredients (either the 3 tablespoons of water or the whisked egg) & stir together. (If the batter is too wet, add more flour)
4. Roll small handfuls of the batter & place into either a greased muffin tray or muffin cups. Glaze with a little coconut milk.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven & cool (yeilds about 6 semlor)

For the filling:
1. In a food processor, grind the nuts into a paste. This may take about 10 minutes. You may need to drizzle some water (I added a tiny bit of coconut milk) to get it smooth enough for a paste.
2. Add stevia to taste as it's blending (choose whatever level of sweetness you'd prefer). Once ready, transfer to a bowl.
3. Whip the coconut cream (I just gather the coconut cream from an unshaken can of coconut milk)
4. Spoon the middle of a semla into a bowl. Add nut paste & coconut cream (about equal amounts of each compared to what's been spooned out of the bun) & mix together. Spoon back into the bun.
5. Top with whipped coconut cream.
6. Enjoy! They're delicious!

H watches me curiously as I make these, & is very happy that I can enjoy some Swedish sweets. I'm going to attempt more allergy-friendly recreations. I look forward to sharing them with you!

This has been submitted to Ricki & Kim's SOS challenge & Amy's Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


  1. These look lovely--and that cream looks amazing! I am a huge fan of coconut so I know I'd really enjoy these. Thanks so much for submitting them to the SOS Challenge this month! :)

  2. Hi Natalie,

    These look delicious. Since you made a non-vegan version for Christmas, I would love to see your recipe as I can tolerate eggs, etc. My family will eat my gluten-free and sugar-free things, but for some reason, when I add in vegan on top of all that they don't like the foods. Thanks! If you don't wan to post it, can you email me? asinger at

  3. Oh my goodness! I know my husband would love these - ever since we visited Sweden last year, he loves trying and eating Swedish food. I have definitely bookmarked this!

    Can you really create coconut cream by whipping the creamy part of coconut milk up?

  4. Amy: Just replace the psyllium husk & water with one egg. Additionally, you can replace the coconut milk with regular milk, & just use regular cream for the whipped cream.

    Withoutadornment: Yes! It's incredibly easy. I hadn't tried it before I decided to experiment with it for this recipe. I just placed the coconut cream in a bowl & mixed it with an electric beater as I would normal cream. I just didn't need to do it as long to achieve the consistency I wanted.

  5. Oh wow this looks delicious! I'm a coconut lover but never have tried coconut whipped cream -- it sounds heavenly! Thanks for sharing.