anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Archive for the ‘Love from Sweden’ Category

Celebrate Lucia Day with Swedish Saffron Buns (or a Cake)

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Swedish Saffron Buns by Anna Brones

December 13th marks the celebration of Lucia Day, an essential tradition on the Swedish holiday calendar. This is where all of the photos of children dressed in long white dresses with red sashes and wreaths in their hair come from. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of light – which is no surprise given the dark, Swedish winter – and whoever is crowned Lucia wears a wreath of candles in her hair.

The traditional treat served on Lucia Day is saffron buns. Bright yellow from the spice, these sweet, yeasted buns are formed into a variety of shapes (some of which are pictured in this vintage illustration) and served with a cup of coffee or mug of glögg.

advent lussekatter

Want to celebrate Lucia Day yourself? Here are a few recipes to help:

Swedish Saffron Buns – This is the classic recipe, complete with a few more illustrations of different forms that you can make.

Swedish Saffron Cake

Saffron Cake with Hazelnut and Whiskey Filling – I always like making a cake out of the saffron bun dough, and filling it with almond paste. This year I did something a little different and made the filling out of hazelnuts. With a dash of whiskey for good holiday cheer!

Saffron Bun Cookies – A gluten-free recipe, inspired by the traditional saffron buns. The cookies are made with rice flour and ground almonds, then twisted into the classic saffron bun shapes.

Glad Lucia!

Images: Anna Brones, Viriditas

Written by Anna Brones

December 11, 2015 at 21:33

Glad Midsommar!

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Midsummer Flowers by Anna Brones

Today is the celebration of Swedish midsummer, my personal favorite holiday of the year.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 20, 2014 at 09:30

Glad Midsommar!

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swedish cottage

Celebrating the day of endless sun, whether or not in Sweden.

Written by Anna Brones

June 21, 2013 at 00:01

Glad Lucia!

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It’s the day for celebrating light in Sweden: the tradition of Lucia.

As the child of a Swede that was intent on preserving tradition, I always knew what would come the morning of the 13th.

In the midst of the pitch black of a winter morning, my mother would gently knock on my door, the sign that I was meant to get up. Propping it open, she would walk away, leaving only the melodic sounds of Lucia sången coming from the downstairs speakers. I would rub my eyes and sleepily crawl out of bed. Outside of my door, a white robe was carefully hung, a thick red sash draped on top.

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Swedish Midsommar 101

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It’s summer solstice this week, which means it’s high time for Swedish midsommar, the best of holidays. Why? Because it’s a classic Swedish tradition that celebrates the longest day of the year, with food and drink at the center. In other words, an event to celebrate the sun. Put good food, a few glasses of aquavit and a table of friends together and you have yourself a party. Read the rest of this entry »

Listening To: Urban Cone – We Should Go to France

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A little indie-electro pop from Swedish group Urban Cone, which is the kind of song you should be listening to on a sunny afternoon.

Image: Urban Cone

Written by Anna Brones

April 13, 2012 at 14:10

Baking Swedish Semlor

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My favorite Swedish pastry? The semla. There are of course dozens of amazing Swedish baked goods, but this one is special because it only comes once a year. Baking a batch in the middle of summer or early fall? Unacceptable. The semla is meant to be consumed on Fat Tuesday, but of course that can be stretched out to include anytime between New Year’s and Easter.

Back to the semla.

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Written by Anna Brones

February 21, 2012 at 09:03