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
This chocolate hazelnut Swedish tea ring has an addictive espresso cream cheese glaze. It’s the perfect dessert for the Holidays that looks gorgeous and is made for sharing!
- 2 tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill organic all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
Chocolate Hazelnut Filling
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 heaping cup chopped hazelnuts
Espresso Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3–6 tbsp milk, depending on consistency
- Heat the milk until it reaches 105-110F. This is important because if it’s too hot or too cold, the yeast won’t activate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, pour in the milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it gets frothy.
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, butter, egg, and orange zest and mix on medium speed until it comes together. If the dough is too sticky, add an additional 1/4 cup flour.
- Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth.
- Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Rub the top in a little more oil. Cover in plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it’s nearly doubled in size – about 1 hour. I like to preheat my oven to the lowest temperature, turn it off, then place the dough inside with the door cracked. This creates the perfect environment for it to rise.
- While it rises, make the filling. Mix together the melted butter and chocolate then stir in the sugar. Fold in the hazelnuts and salt. Place it in the fridge to thicken up while you wait for the dough to finish rising.
- Punch down the dough and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface into a 12x18inch rectangle. Spread the chocolate in an even layer, leaving about an inch bare around the edges.
- Roll it up from the longest side and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Shape it into a ring then make small cuts about 3/4 of the way to the center and an inch apart all around the edge of the ring. Lightly twist the sections to expose the swirl.
- Gently cover it in plastic wrap and let it rise in your oven again (preheat on the lowest temperature, turn it off, then crack open the door) for about 45 minutes.
- Once the tea ring has puffed up, bake it at 375F for 18-20 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, you can cover it in foil and continue to bake.
- As the ring cools, make the glaze. Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Mix in the powdered sugar and espresso and then the vanilla. Start by adding 3 tbsp of milk and work your way up 1 tbsp at a time. You want it to be thin enough to drizzle but not too thin to where it runs off the tea ring.
- Drizzle the glaze while the tea ring is warm and top with extra hazelnuts. Enjoy!
Keywords: tea ring, swedish tea ring, chocolate hazelnut