Never Miss a Beat

Celebrating Swedish Christmas Traditions and Foods

On any given day, you may hear as many as six different languages spoken in my home.

My life and household have been diverse and multicultural for as long as I can remember. As the daughter of parents who emigrated from Sweden, I have been immersed in Nordic culture since childhood. So as you can imagine,  Celebrating Swedish Christmas Traditions and Foods, and also recognizing Santa Lucia has been a huge part of my holiday traditions since childhood.

Santa Lucia\

AND…FOOD is a big part of that celebration as well so I thought I would share our tried and true family recipe for saffron buns. If you get the wrong recipe the buns turn out to be like stones. The recipe in the book is similar to ours but we do some prep work that guarantees the success of our buns. It seems I’m a little biased about Lucia buns. I want everyone to have a positive and beautiful experience.

Saffron Buns or Lussekattor pronounced \”Lucy cat-tor\”



  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • ¼ cup of warm water
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 1 ½ cup stick of butter
  • 1 tsp of saffron threads
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 31/2 to 4 cups of flour
  • 1 beaten egg


  1. In a bowl place one cup of raisins in warm water covering the raisins. This is called “plumping.”
  2. In a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water.
  3. While the yeast is proofing, in a pot scald the milk and then add the butter into the milk and heat gently until it has melted. Once melted, take off the burner and let it cool until it is lukewarm.
  4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lay the saffron threads on a piece of parchment paper and place it on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Once the saffron is toasted, take it out of the oven, fold the parchment paper over and roll over the saffron with a rolling pin until the saffron is in a powder form.  Add the saffron to the milk and butter mixture.
  5. Add the milk, butter, saffron mixture as well as the sugar, salt, eggs, and drained raisins to the yeast mixture. In your mixer, beat until blended. It should be smooth and satiny.
  6. Mix in half of the flour. Once it is blended, add the remaining flour gradually until each addition is blended well.  After all of the flour has been mixed in, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a dish-towel and let it rise until doubled. This will take about 1 hour.
  9. Place parchment paper on two large cookie sheets.
  10. After the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into 32 equal pieces.
  11. Cover all pieces with a dish-towel.
  12. Taking a piece of dough, roll it into an 8-inch rope. Shape it into a bun, S shape, snail or pretzel.
  13. To make even fancier shapes take two 8 inch ropes and make crosses, butterflies, or twisted ropes.
  14. As you finish each shape place it on the cookie sheet. Once a sheet is completely full, cover with a dish-towel to let it rise for 35 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  16. Beat an egg in a bowl. Using a pastry brush paint the egg wash over the buns completely.
  17. Sprinkle with pearl sugar (optional).
  18. Place in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
  19. Buns are done when they are golden brown.
  20. This recipe makes about 20 buns.

If you would like more information about the Santa Lucia holiday traditions, Santa Lucia inspired crafts, and even more Swedish treat idea, grab my FREE pdf download HERE. Even though the official Santa Lucia holiday is passed (December 13th) there’s no better time than the present to share these ideas, traditions, and treats with your family. Consider it my gift to you this holiday season. Thank you and ENJOY.

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