If you would have asked me what a Swedish Tea Ring was a few years ago…I’d have no clue. It wasn’t until I tried a tea ring that my brother-in-law’s dad makes every year for the Holidays that I was shown the light. It’s a delicious bread ring filled with sugary goodness. His is a classic cinnamon raisin tea ring with a cream cheese frosting. I look it up a notch with this chocolate hazelnut Swedish tea ring with an addictive espresso cream cheese glaze!
When I thought of making a tea ring, I just couldn’t land on a flavor that excited me. I asked on Instagram what I should do and I was blown away by the responses! Now I have an archive of flavor combinations for any dessert. Ultimately, I landed on a recommendation from Katiebird Bakes for either chocolate hazelnut OR espresso. I thought why not do both!
The cream cheese espresso glaze is absolutely amaaazzzinng. It would be perfect for cinnamon rolls if you just cut back on the milk. Like I might actually do that soon. The hazelnuts add a delicious crunch to break up the monotony of the soft bread and chocolate and plus, hazelnuts are just so tasty.
I used Bob’s Red Mill organic all-purpose flour because I always make sure to use a high quality flour, especially when baking breads. There’s always a bag in my kitchen because it may sound crazy, but you really can taste the difference!
What is a Swedish Tea Ring?
This isn’t the most common dessert but it sure does need to be! A Swedish tea ring is a sweet yeast bread, similar to cinnamon rolls, that is placed in a ring and shaped for easy sharing. It’s typically filled with sugar and spices, also like a cinnamon roll, with additions like nuts and dried fruit.
It’s also not as “gooey” as a cinnamon roll as it’s more bread-like in texture. It’s best when served warm, especially for this recipe, because the chocolate interior stays melty which pairs well with the soft bread.
Tea rings are typically enjoyed around the Holidays as that’s when they’re most popular in Sweden. Like most European baking, they aren’t overly sweet like American baking…but I bent the rules a bit on this one to create a rich filling and glaze.
How to make a Swedish tea ring
I like to compare tea rings to babka because they’re absolutely stunning but are much easier to make than it seems. If you’ve made cinnamon rolls before, then you’ve already gone through all of the steps of making a tea ring, minus forming the ring.
You start with a yeast dough and a little bit of patience. The dough must be left to rise two times – once after making the dough and once after shaping the ring. That’s just the price you pay for sweet sweet bread!
The most distinct part about a Swedish tea ring is just that…the ring. You start by filling and rolling up your dough just like a cinnamon roll. With your dough log tightly rolled, you transfer it to a baking sheet and bring both ends together to form a ring.
To get those beautiful swirls, you cut along the edges of the ring with a sharp knife. Make slits 1 inch apart and 3/4 of the way through (NOT all the way through). Lightly twist the pieces to expose the swirl. Pinch of Yum has a short video that shows this process.
Serving your Swedish tea ring
The difference between a room temperature tea ring and a warm tea ring is like night and day. It’s like the difference between a warm and fresh loaf of bread to when it’s been sitting out a couple hours. It’s just so much softer and flavorful.
So, I recommend serving it warm but the trick is to get the glaze just right. Make it a little bit thicker than you think it should be just so it has room to melt on the tea ring. This is why you should serve it warm but not hot, otherwise you’ll have a soupy glaze mess.
The best part is that tea rings are made for sharing. You just pull off your own piece, no need for knifes or serving spoons. There’s also plenty of glaze to go around. Add a little extra on top of your serving because trust me…you’ll want to!
Looking for even more Holiday desserts? Try out these recipes:
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram if you make this chocolate hazelnut Swedish tea ring. I love seeing my recipes come to life in YOUR kitchen! To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!Print