Saturday, December 12, 2009

TIS the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks... A NOCTURNAL UPON ST. LUCY’S DAY,BEING THE SHORTEST John Donne
St. Lucia's Day is celebrated on December 13th with the celebration beginning before sunrise. While it is still dark, the oldest girl in the household bakes Lucia bullar ( see image), or St. Lucia's buns, and brews hot coffee and cocoa for her family. She dresses in a white robe with a red sash and puts a crown like an evergreen wreath with candles in it upon her head. Then, in the darkness, she goes to each bedroom, delivering the warm drinks and treats to her family, on a tray.

Kara and have been wanting to make St Lucy Rolls for years. This recipe is adapted from about four different recipes I have been researching including one from Kirsten's , American Girls cookbook. Of course, as usual, I am light on the sugar and substitute my beloved whole wheat flour anytime a recipe calls for bleached white flour. The texture will be a bit courser, full bodied, with a nutty taste but isn't that the point for using whole wheat flour. Yes I did use fresh Saffron in my recipe. It is expensive but the only way to enjoy the unique taste of these rolls. I plan to make Swedish Meatballs and Chipino Seafood Stew/Soup when I have a full house during the holiday season so the purchase will be put to good use.

St. Lucia Buns

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon powdered saffron
3 cups fine ground whole wheat flour
Raisins for garnish
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
Sugar for sprinkling
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, eggs, cardamom, salt, saffron and three cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth.
Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double. Punch down dough; divide into 24 parts. Shape each piece into an S-shaped rope, curling in both ends.
Put a raisin in the center of each curl. Place rolls on greased cookie sheet. Brush tops lightly with butter; let rise until doubled. Mix the egg and the tablespoon of water; brush buns lightly with
the mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. .

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes
Yields about one dozen buns.

Yes, I realize there is a NOEL candle holder with this Scandinavian St. Lucy Feast Day celebration. Isn't that what life is all about, finding ways to connect, incorporate new ways into familiar traditions, create your own traditions. If you look for differences you will find them, if you look for ways to make things work together, things will work better. During this darkest time of the year sharing baked goods fresh and hot from the oven just may bring a bit of light into someones heart. Don't keep love, pass it around...

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