This weekend marks the start of all Glögg parties. Glögg is a mulled wine. It is brewing or at least being heated up in most Swedish homes in December. Since the winter is dark and cold, we look forward to warming ourselves up by drinking a nice hot cup of Glögg served with some home-baked saffron buns and ginger snaps. We have Glögg parties all through the month. Since I love Christmas I have no problem squeezing a couple of these parties into my very hectic cooking and baking schedule for the weeks leading up to christmas.
Traditionally, the saffron buns are little “twisted” buns with raisins. But I never really liked raisins. I love dried cranberries (and almond paste), so I have eliminated one and added two… yum is the only thing I can say to describe these little bundles of joy. I have also made them round with some pearl sugar on top. For us, saffron is a typical spice for the holidays. I would say saffron, cinnamon, cloves, orange, ginger are some of the most typical smells and tastes of our christmas.
So the christmas countdown starts with first of advent, the first of the 4 Sundays before christmas. This is a much-anticipated event. Kids park themselves in front of the tv to watch the advent calendar. Every day you have to open a “door” (lucka in swedish) and find either a picture of something connected with that days show or just something belonging to christmas. If you are really lucky, you have one of the chocolate filled calendars (I never was that lucky, mine always just had a picture…figures.)
So my friends, here is a little Glögg party for all of us. Happy first of Advent. And yes, forgot to say… I apologize in advance for the next few blog entries will be all christmas stuff. What can I say, I just love it! This is my favorite time of the year (except laying on the beach in the summer of course).
1 gram of saffron.
1/2 tsp. of salt.
A few drops of alcohol (to help the saffron develop its taste).
50 grams of fresh yeast. I package. (You can also use dry yeast, equal to 1 package fresh.)
1 1/2 stick (175 grams or 6 ounces) of unsalted butter.
2 c. (5 dl) skim milk.
2/3 c. light syrup or granulated sugar (1 1/2 dl).
1 large egg.
6 1/2 c. flour (17 dl).
Mix saffron and salt together with a pestle to break the saffron up. Add a few drops of alcohol to get the saffron to start releasing its distinctive taste.
Just add enough alcohol for the saffron to dissolve.
Crumble up the yeast and add to a bowl.
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the milk, saffron and syrup. Let it become finger warm. Add to the yeast. Stir slowly to dissolve the yeast. Add the beaten egg. Add the flour. Mix very well. Preferably with a mixer. Sprinkle a little flour on top and add a towel on top. Set aside to rise for about 45 minutes or to at least double in size.
Let dough rise for about 45 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel.
The size should double after 45 minutes.
When risen, pour dough on to a floured surface. Cut into 2 parts (if you are doing half plain and half with almond paste). Start working the dough. You can make these buns as regular cinnamon buns if you want to. Just add almond paste with butter and cinnamon and spread over the dough that has been rolled out into a square. Roll up into a sauce shape. Cut pieces about 2″ thick (about 5cm). Bake either one by one or squeeze them into a cast iron skillet (small one) Let all rise once again. When done, brush with egg wash and bake in a 450-500 F (225-250C) oven.
Saffron buns filled with almond paste.
Divide the dough into equal size balls. Roll them to a nice ball. Squeeze a little cube of almond paste into the center. Cover it up by rolling it a little more. Add buns to a lined cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle over some pearl sugar or chopped almonds. Bake for about 5-9 minutes or until golden brown.
The traditional saffron bun.
Roll dough into a long “sausage”. Cut into hand long pieces. Roll each end in opposite directions. Push down a raisin or dried cranberry into the center of the rolled up end.
Brush with an egg wash and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
You can also use a cookie cutter. Not a traditional way of making these buns, but for a very few of the christmas items I am willing to experiment. As long as one don’t go to far away from the traditions.
Skillet Saffron buns.
You can also fill the buns with almond paste mixed with butter & cinnamon. Spread it out over the rolled out dough. Cut into 2″ pieces. Pack tight into a small cast iron pan, greased. Bake in a 400-425F (200-200+C) oven until golden brown. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle chopped almonds or pearl sugar on top.
“Break off” Saffron buns with almond paste filling. Baked in a small cast iron skillet.
Pack the unbaked buns with filling tight in a greased skillet.
There are many versions of Glögg. I prefer a white version but people in general drink the red wine Glögg.
1 bottle of good red or white wine.
2 pieces of dried pommerans or orange peel.
1 piece of dried ginger.
2 cinnamon sticks.
5-7 cardamom pods.
1/2 c. of sugar.
1/2 c. of port wine. (optional).
A small handful of raisins.
Heat wine on the stove. Note, DONT BOIL IT. Add the spices. Take the pot off the heat. Let sit and “marinate” for a couple of hours or over night until desired taste. Remove all spices and pour onto bottles or serve right away with skinned almonds and raisins/dried cranberries.
You can also make an alcohol free version. Jut use a good fruit juice. Black currant or blueberry is great for this. Use a more concentrated juice and let spices sit longer in the juice before removing them.
You can use store bought ginger snaps and just decorate them. (I made my own though. Will post recipe at a later date. Am making more…)
Take 1 c. of powdered sugar. Add the egg white from one egg. Add a couple of drops of white vinegar. Mix well. Add to some parchment paper shaped into a cone. Cut of the tip of the cone and start decorate the ginger snaps.
Before we had Santa, our christmas “guy” was the christmas goat. To represent him we decorate with these straw goats. I have many of them. All sizes.
A little mini advent calendar. I am so lucky. My sister-in-law usually sends us these for christmas. Thank you Jaana.
Happy first of advent.
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