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Swedish Saffron Buns

1/2 tsp. dried saffron threads
1 cup half and half
2 envelopes dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbl. sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, beaten
4 cups sifted flour, or as needed
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbl. milk
1 egg white, beaten
Raisins or currants, for decorations
Lump sugar, crushed
Grated blanched almonds

The lump sugar and almonds are not needed for "cats" but are
adornments for other forms of these buns.

Crush dry saffron to a fine powder and steep in 1 or 2 tablespoons
luwarm half and half for 10 inutes. Sprinkle yeast into 1/4 cup
lukewarm water, add 1 tablespoon sugar, cover lightly and set aside
in a warm place for 5 to 10 minutes, or until foamy. Scald remaining
half and half and add 1/3 cup of sugar, salt and butter, and stir
until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Add to yeast mixture along
with strained saffron milk (if you are sure all saffron is dissolved,
straining is unnecessary) and 1 beaten egg. Mix well.

Gradually stir in flour until mixture is smooth and not sticky,
but still soft and pliable. Knead for 10 minutes, or until shiny
and elastic. Place in a lightly floured bowl, dust top of dough
with flour, cover loosely and set to rise in draft-free corner
until double in bulk - about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and
knead for 2 or 3 minutes. Shape into forms ("cats" are below;
sorry I can't show you the drawings in the book) - Let rise 30
minutes and bake in preheated 400 F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce
heat to 350 F and bake 30 minutes more, or until golden brown.

Lussekatter - Lucia Cats: Pinch off small bits of dough and roll
into sausage shapes 5-7 inches long. Place these strips together
in pairs, pinching centers to join them and coiling four ends out.
Brush with egg yolk glaze and bake. Using a little egg white,
stick a raisin or currant in the center of each coil of the hot


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