What's essential to a Swedish fika isn't just coffee. It's what goes with it. In Sweden, there are a variety of iconic recipes associated with fika, many of which you will find at almost any Swedish cafe.
But you don't have to visit Sweden to indulge in fika. Here are 10 Swedish recipes that are perfect for fika, and that you can easily make at home.
More about fika: What Is Fika? An Introduction to the Swedish Coffee Break
1. Kanelbullar - Cinnamon Buns
Visually, kanelbullar might be the most iconic of the fika recipes. They are found in essentially every single cafe in Sweden, and most people have memories of them from an early age. The dough is spiced with a little cinnamon, which is what makes for the distinct Swedish cinnamon bun taste. They aren't topped with frosting like American cinnamon rolls; instead they are sprinkled with pearl sugar, a hard sugar, that almost looks like chunks of salt, but is very sweet.
But what's great about kanelbullar isn't just the taste, it's the recipe's versatility. You can roll them into classic rolls, or twist them, or even bake an entire loaf, cutting a decorative pattern into it before baking to let the butter and cinnamon filling ooze out.
→ Get a basic cinnamon roll recipe: Spicy Sticky Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
2. Chokladbollar - Chocolate Balls
Chokladbollarare perhaps one of my favorite recipes, mostly because they are so simple to make. Since they don't have to be baked, they are perfect for making with kids, and it's the first recipe that many Swedish children learn. Chances are, you already have a lot of the essential ingredients on hand: butter, sugar, cocoa powder, oats. You then mix it all with your hands and roll them in shredded coconut. They are classically flavored with a little coffee, but I like to do a variation with orange zest. Not very traditional, but very tasty.
3. Kladdkaka - Sticky Chocolate Cake
It's hard to turn down a good sticky chocolate cake served with a dollop of whipped cream. The secret: plenty of butter. In Fika: The Art of the Swedish Break we take the classic gooey recipe and switch it up a little by using ground almonds instead of flour, which is perfect for serving to gluten-free friends.
4. Mazariner - Almond Tarts
A buttery crust with almond filling, topped with a little icing, mazariner are one of my favorite baked goods to eat when I am in Sweden. They're quite fun to make at home as well, and the only special item you need to make them are little tartlet pans. Just be sure to butter them liberally so the mazariner easily come out of the pans once they have been baked.
5. Småkakor - Small Cookies
There are so many types of cookies in Sweden that they all fall into one category: småkakor. Literally translated, "small cookies." There is usually a lot of butter and sugar involved. There are many types of småkakor out there, but for some good starter recipes, try mandel kakor (almond cookies), chokladsnittar (chocolate slices), and muskotsnittar (nutmeg slices, which are perfect if you like a spicy cookie).
6. Rulltårta - Roll Cake
A rulltårta is a sponge cake, baked in a big rectangle, then filled with something delicious (like whipped cream and jam), then rolled and cut into slices. Want to be a little different? Bake a chocolate one.
7. Kardemummakaka - Cardamom Cake
Sponge cakes are common in Sweden, and they are tweaked in a variety of ways. A very common variation is the cardamom cake. This beloved spice in the Swedish kitchen makes for an exotic-tasting cake that pairs perfectly with a strong cup of coffee.
8. Bärtårta - Berry Tart
The Swedes have a strong appreciation for all that summer brings, particularly all the seasonal produce. When it's berry season, they're put to good use in the kitchen, and a simple, summery berry tart is the perfect recipe to do just that.
9. Toscakaka - Almond Cake
Covered with caramel and then almonds, a toskakaka is hard to turn down, and a good recipe if you are looking to serve something for fika that's a little more fancy.
10. Smörgås - Open-Faced Sandwich
Good news: Fika doesn't always have to be sweet. In fact, if there's one thing that the Swedes love, it's a good cup of strong coffee and a smörgås, those open-faced sandwiches the Scandinavians are known for. Start with a dense bread, spread with butter, then top with whatever you feel like.