Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in Sweden and Orange Rolls

This season is so exceptional, so magical. I wish I could catch it in my hand and hold it tight, but almost everything worth holding is fleeting. My charges can't wait for Christmas day, but I wish it would never come. Remember when you were little and the minutes before Christmas lasted hundreds of years each? When you get older, you wish you could hot glue gun down the hands of the clock. There's simply not enough time to just stop and feel Christmas, to sit by the fire and stare at the tree, to reflect on the meaning of the holiday, to nibble on a candy cane, to share the warmth of tradition with others. I can do all of those things, but it's never enough. I want it to last forever. I wish it could be like the movie Groundhog's Day, but instead Christmas day. Not even Christmas Day, but I'd take any day in December. I truly love it. I feel as joyful as a cool breath of peppermint and I want it to last. But, since I can't stop time, I'm going to move right along with it, and squeeze every bit of pleasure out of the juiciest season. Hop on this crazy ride with me. It's much cozier when you're here.
One of my favorite rituals during this season is the Swedish tradition of the "Santa Lucia." Every 13th of December, Santa Lucia can be seen throughout Sweden spreading good cheer and sharing sweets of the season.
Traditionally, the eldest daughter of the family assumes the role of Santa Lucia. Wearing a dress of white and a lighted wreath in her hair, she serves sweet rolls and drinks to her family, singing carols all the while. Here's our very own little Santa Lucia, waiting to serve the orange rolls. She's growing up so I need to stop and stare at her for a little while, too. She's my picky girl, but this year she finally ate a sweet roll. Yes, a sweet roll, not broccoli or brussel sprouts. Her mean mother made her take a bite of a sweet roll, and she loved it! This was a good year to send her palate out on a limb, since I made two kinds of rolls: cinnamon rolls with maple icing, and sweet orange rolls. If I knew how to say delicious in Swedish, I would say it now. But since I don't, I'll say it slowly in English: De. Lic. Ious.
I use my mom's sweet roll recipe for a base, and you'd better plan on doubling it. It makes a fine gift for the neighbors in a disposable baking round, warm from the oven. But surprise-it also makes wonderful dinner rolls if you leave out all the sugary stuff. But you can do that in January. For now, you're supposed to be enjoying all the gifts of the season, and that means sugar. And time. Lots of it. And that's all you really need for these rolls. And this season.
Sweet Orange Rolls:
Estimated Cost: $3.00 for 12
1 and 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
For assembly:
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
zest of one orange
Frosting:
zest and juice of one orange
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat milk and butter in microwaveable bowl in 30 second intervals in microwave, until warm but not hot. (Think baby-bottle warm.) The butter does not need to be totally melted. Add yeast and dissolve. If you have a free standing mixer, place butter mixture in bowl of mixture. If you're doing it by hand, just get a nice big bowl. Add sugar, salt, and flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a sticky dough. Turn out on to buttered surface and knead until dough becomes elastic and only slightly sticky. If you are using a free standing mixer, knead at medium speed for 10 minutes. Shape dough into ball, rub with butter, and return to bowl. Let rise for about 1 and 1/2 hours, or until doubled. Punch dough down and butter a flat surface. Press dough into 12 by 18 inch rectangle. Spread dough with butter and sprinkle with sugar and orange zest. Rub sugar and orange zest together with fingertips. Roll up dough, tucking in ends. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Place in buttered 9 by 13 inch dish. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes, or until light and doubled. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare icing by combining butter and zest until creamy. Add juice and vanilla and stir well. Add enough powdered sugar to make a very thick frosting. Spread over hot rolls and serve as soon as possible.
Next Up:
Christmas in Mexico

62 comments:

Seth and Julie said...

Look at that mesmerizing pool of cinnamon and maple goodness. I want to dive in head first and get lost for a few days.

I am salivating at midnight, never a good thing.

Michal said...

i want these rolls on christmas morning, but i want someone else to make them. by christmas morning i am exhausted!:) i'll have to try to squeeze them in some other day.

i, too, wish to glue gun the hands of the clock. i always swear i will reduce and simplify, but always end up over doing and not savoring enough. sigh.

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Julie Harward said...

Loved this, your little gal is so cute! I love orange rolls so much I could eat them all by myself! I think I am the only one in my family who loves them...I'll have to make these and give some away! Come say hi :D

Free Samples said...

WOW! These look delicious!

The Japanese Redneck said...

I don't want to wait till xmas, I want one now!

Katrina said...

Oh, I can't believe you made her taste of one those rolls! meanie. jk
They both sounds de-lish!

Peggy Clyde. said...

Wow, do those look delicious. Thanks.

small houses said...

Those look delicious! I never tried making one and my kids does not really fancy those orange rolls. But I think I have to give it a try.

Catherine said...

The orange rolls look delicious and Sailor looks lovely. We haven't had time to do Christmas in Sweden yet, but we're getting to it and we do we'll be using this recipe.

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wileyfamilyof5 said...

We make swedish tea rings for the holidays. Like abig cinnamon roll, cut to look like awreath. YUMMY

so Spiffy April Marie Girl Japan said...

Well Done Erin... oh it looks so wonderful! What a nice treat from the regular cinnamon ... and the tree fabulous.

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