Thursday, December 13, 2012

Saint Lucy's Day and Lucia Buns

So, after the whole Saint Nicholas visit, the next tradition we have is the visit of Saint Lucy. No, we're not Swedish, but it's still so much fun. The youngest girl in our house dresses in a white gown, and wears a wreath of greenery in her hair. Maggie is old enough to carry the tray now, so it's her turn^^

And I have my recipe for my special breakfast rolls. Don't they look tasty?

Christmas Lucia Buns Recipe

2/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup dry milk
1/2 stick butter, cubed for melting (little pieces)

1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast

1 egg + egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
3 cups all purpose flour

1 egg white

First combine water, butter and dry milk.
When the mixture has cooled to bathwater-warm, add the sugar and the yeast. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes (it's a good time to seperate that egg)

Add egg and egg yolk, cardamom, and a cup of flour.
Mix well, then add the salt and the rest of the flour a bit at a time. Knead (play-dough time^^) for about five minutes, then oil the surface and cover with a towel.

Wait 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled.

Punch the dough down, then divide the dough into 20 equal parts. Form each part into ropes about 6 inches long.

Put two ropes in an x shape on a greased cookie or baking sheet, then curl/roll the ends up towards the middle. Repeat for all the remaining bits. Allow the buns to rise for about 30 minutes.

Remember the egg white? Mix that with a tablespoon or so of water. Put a raisin at the center of each arm/curl of the bun (4 for each bun), then brush the buns with the egg white mixture.

Bake at 350 F for 15 - 20 minutes. They are done when they are golden brown. The picture has a couple that are a bit too brown, but that's what I get for spending too much time gathering greens. Best eaten warm; and they keep well in the fridge.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Saint Nicholas and the Land of Sweets

Happy Saint Nicholas Day! In several cultures, this is the day Saint Nick (or Santa) comes to visit. He sure left a lot of stuff in  my stocking^^
Saint Nicholas was actually the bishop of Myra (modern Turkey) in the early 300's. He was known for his defense of children; in particular young girls being forced into marriage. In fact, he is the patron saint of children. Almost a thousand years latter he became a favorite among Scandinavian children due to the nuns that taught them; the nuns used his feast day as an excuse to collect food, clothing, and toys in time give them to the poor among their students for Christmas. 
Maggie's class also conveniently went to see The Nutcracker ballet at the University of Northern Alabama. Most of the ballet was put on by local kids, like these sweet little gingerbread men.  

What special things do you do befor Christmas?