book review

Saffron Buns {Lussekattor} Recipe and Free Download -Lucia Morning in Sweden

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Lucia Morning in Sweden

This beautiful book has become a read-a-loud favorite in this house. Ewa Rydåker and illustrator Carina Ståhlberg have truly captured the spirit of “living” the Lucia tradition each year.  The book tells the old story of Santa Lucia through the eyes of three children living in this time period. Set in Sweden, the story follows the adventures of Sofie, Louise, and Carl as they prepare for Lucia Day on December 13th. On that day, many Swedish people celebrate the legacy of Lucia and the coming of the light with coffe, saffron buns, ginger snaps, and wonderful singing. In addition to the story of the Svensson children, the book also includes the Lucia Song, recipes for ginger snaps and saffron buns, a short story of the Lucia legend, plus two patterns for the Lucia gown and star boy outfit.

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Something To Do

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 postive and beautiful experience.

This book sets the mood just perfectly.

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Saffron Buns or Lussekattor pronounced “Lucy cat-tor”

Lucia Saffron Buns


·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 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”.

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2.    In  a large mixing bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water.

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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 luke warm.

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4.    Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lay the saffron threads on a pieces of parchment paper and place 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.

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5.    Add the milk,butter,saffron mixture as well as the sugar, salt, eggs and drained raisins to the yeast mixture. In your kitchen aid or other mix master, 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.

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7.    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny.

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8.    Place the dough in a  lightly oiled bowl , cover with a dish-towel and let raise for 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.

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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.

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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 in completely full, cover with a dish-towel to let it rise for 35 minutes.

15.   Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

16.   Beat and egg in a bowl. Using a pastry brush paint the egg wash over the buns completely.

17.   Sprinkle with pearl sugar (optional)

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18.   Place in oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

19.   Buns are done when they are golden brown.

20.   This recipe makes about 20 buns.


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Don’t those look yummy?

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.



13 thoughts on “Saffron Buns {Lussekattor} Recipe and Free Download -Lucia Morning in Sweden

  1. Letting the dough rest very much reminds me of making Vetekranz with my Grandma. She never had a real recipe, and would just add flour until it was ‘right’. She always stopped when it seemed too sticky, but letting the dough rest made it nice and workable.
    I will have to try Luccekattor this year if I can actually find some saffron. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Hi I found you over on Twitter, this is a wonderful blog, I love books especially childrens books ..always find in the childrens department in book store!

  3. Hi Kelsey,
    Yum vetekranzt are very good. There are many easy places to find saffron. One is your local grocery store in the spice department. It’s in the S section. Another place to find saffron is in either and Indian or Middle Eastern food store or any international market. If that fails, is always a sure bet online.
    Happy Baking.

  4. Actually, saffron is very hard to get in my area. In my hometown, even though it is a Swedish town, they only carry cardamon and the standard rye bread spices in the Swedish section, and I have never seen saffron in the standard cooking spices section either. It’s a grocery store with 8 aisles, so sadly they can’t carry everything.
    However, I will look around in the city, and see if they have any.

  5. Ah förlåt, du är i Sverige. It’s hard to know where people are writing from. Where are you in Sweden? I think there is an online source for Saffran in Sweden. I’ll get back to you with that. I was talking about grocery stores in the US. Sorry. Back soon. ha det bra så länge.

  6. No, I’m not in Sweden. I’m in a little Swedish town by the name of Stromsburg in Nebraska. All but a few families in the town are Swedish, and many of the elders in the nursing home still speak Swedish, but it is very much in the USA. Sorry for the confusion.

  7. Yes, I do know Charles, and have for quite some time. I remember when the guys from Learn Sweden came to our Swedish festival– they gave me a hat!
    I made Vetekranz and Glogg today for a Christmas party– it was wonderful. I did find some saffron, but the price was enough to scare me off. Maybe next year! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Mia! The last batch I made at our house lasted ONE DAY. It is a family favorite 🙂

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