Pistachio-Rose Swedish Cinnamon Knots

Pistachio-rose Swedish cinnamon knots.

Swedish cinnamon knots are akin to American cinnamon rolls, but with a literal twist. This brioche dough variation features both spicy and floral notes from the cinnamon-cardamom filling and rose water glaze. Be sure to use high-quality rose water, as rose extract can have an unpleasant artificial aroma and flavor. I recommend the brand Cortas.

Finished with vibrant pistachios and dried culinary rose petals, these Swedish cinnamon knots are a striking and delicious pastry.

NOTE: Practice tying your Swedish cinnamon knot with the discarded scraps of dough from the recipe. But even if the finished product isn’t perfect, that’s OK – the pastries will still look charming and taste incredible.

Pistachio-Rose Swedish Cinnamon Knots

Yields | 12 knots |


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp platinum premium instant yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

Filling and Assembly

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup pistachios, roasted and salted
  • rose water glaze (recipe follows)
  • dried culinary rose petals, for garnish (optional)

Rose Water Glaze

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp rose water

| Preparation – Dough | In a small heatproof bowl, heat milk in microwave until warm to the touch (not hot, approximately 110°F), approximately 30 seconds. Sprinkle yeast over warm milk and gently stir to combine; let rest, 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, salt and orange zest. Add milk-yeast mixture, egg and butter to the bowl. On low speed, mix until dough has formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix dough, 8 minutes. Transfer dough to a large bowl and cover bowl. Set aside and let dough rise, 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.

| Preparation – Filling and Assembly | In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. On low speed, beat until just combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Transfer dough to a well-floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a 22-by-11-inch rectangle, approximately ¼ inch thick. If the dough sticks at any point, use a bench scraper to gently lift the dough and dust the counter with more flour. Turn the rectangle so that the short side is facing you. Using an offset spatula, spread spiced butter mixture over the bottom ⅔ of the dough’s surface. Fold the top third of the dough down over the middle third and then fold the bottom third up to cover that, finishing the fold (this process is like folding an envelope). Roll out folded dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, cut dough vertically into 12 1-inch-wide strips. Discard the uneven end pieces (or reserve them to practice tying the knots). Carefully transfer dough strips to a lined baking sheet; place in refrigerator to chill, 10 minutes (this will make the dough easier to shape).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

After allotted time, remove dough strips from refrigerator. Gently stretch one strip until it’s approximately 16 inches long. Grip the ends of the dough and twist in opposite directions to create a tight spiral. Grip one end of the dough between your thumb, index and middle finger; coil the dough spiral around the fingers to form a bun shape. Finish by folding the remaining dough strip over the top of the coiled dough and tucking the end under and through the bottom to create a knot. If needed, before tucking the end of the dough under and through to form the knot, gently remove the coiled dough from your fingers to make the knot easier to form (this way, you can use both hands to grip the dough and push the end through the bottom). Place dough knot on prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough strips, spacing each knot approximately 2 inches apart. Lightly cover each baking sheet; set aside and let knots rise, 45 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, heavy cream and a pinch of kosher salt to make egg wash. Lightly brush each knot with egg wash. Bake knots, 21 to 22 minutes or until their tops are golden brown.

Meanwhile, make rose water glaze (recipe follows).

Add pistachios to a food processor; process until finely ground. Pass ground pistachios through a fine-mesh strainer to sift out any dust; discard dust.

Remove knots from oven and generously brush the tops with rose water glaze. Finish each knot with a generous sprinkle of ground pistachios and a light garnish of dried rose petals. Knots are best enjoyed the day they’re made, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

| Preparation – Rose Water Glaze | In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and salt. Set over medium high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Boil, 1 minute, and then remove from heat. Let cool. Once cool, add rose water and stir to incorporate.

Teresa Floyd is a Kansas City-based food writer, editor for the online food publication feedfeed and contributing monthly columnist for Feast Magazine’s Sugar Rush. Find her current creations on Now, Forager, a pastry blog featuring seasonal desserts.

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