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Santa Lucia Buns for Santa Lucia Day

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Santa Lucia (St. Lucy) provided hope and light to the world in the depths of winter. Make Santa Lucia Buns, serve them on her saint day December 13th, and spread her message of love and hope.

Saint Lucy Day

It celebrates the Martyr Saint Lucy who brought food to Christians who were hiding in catacombs to escape prosecution. She wore a wreath of candles to light the way so her hands would be free to carry more food and drink.

It now marks a feast day in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries where it’s dark for much of the day. And the celebration of light brings hope in that darkness and is part of a bigger longer Christmas/Solstice/Turning of the season celebration.

Saffron Rolls

Celebrating in our Waldorf School

Because part of the Waldorf education is learning about saints the students learn about real-life heroes new and old. Saint Lucy is just one of many teachers can highlight while studying saints.

Santa Lucia Buns for Santa Lucia Day

On December 13th the children serve buns and spiced tea to the rest of the school. While someone dressed as Santa Lucia walks and serves with them.

In our Waldorf school, it’s customary for one or two grades to make Santa Lucia Buns for the rest of the school. The year I wrote this post originally it was our turn when my youngest was in second grade.

The second-grade parents made some of the dough for these saffron buns traditionally served on December 13th. And then the children helped shape them.

saffron buns

They spent time shaping the gorgeous saffron-tinted dough into ornate S shapes, egg-washed them, and left them to rise. Then they moved on as needed or desired to finish their projects. Some worked on present surprises, ornaments, felted wool, or knitting projects, depending on what they had left to do.

saffron rolls with raisins

This Waldorf Life

I spent a very quiet hour in a silent kindergarten kitchen knitting and baking the rolls The sunset was glorious and while I was there I reflected on the pleasure the Waldorf life has brought me.

  • A deeper appreciation of the seasons and how we move through them.
  • Different holidays and holy days from around the world are experienced as a way to have an understanding of the world around us
  • The ability to be different and enjoy it

Just to be absolutely clear I don’t know where this recipe came from, if you know please let me know so I can properly attribute it. It was passed to me, barely legible, a bad xerox copy, with red pencil scribbled on it.

If you plan to make these for a school or even just a classroom event you can double the recipe. I wouldn’t try to do more than a triple recipe in KitchenAid Mixer because it would be too much for it.

Mulled Apple Cider

These buns are traditionally served with a warm drink. You can serve coffee or tea if that works for you. Or you can make up these Mulling Spices and make a spiced apple cider to serve family and friends.

If you like old-fashioned traditional recipes look no further than this Real Gingerbread recipe!

Saffron Buns with Raisins

Yield: 24 buns

Santa Lucia Buns

Saffron Rolls
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 32 minutes


  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-2 1/2 cups of flour


  • egg 
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
  • raisins, dried currants, dried cranberries


  1. scald the milk, do not boil it just heat to the almost boiling, 180˚
  2. cool slightly and add the butter, sugar, and crumble in the saffron leave it sit until it's cool enough to add the egg
  3. once it's cool add the egg and stir to combine
  4. put the yeast in the bowl of a KitchenAid Mixer fitted with the bread hook
  5. pour the milk mixture over the top, give it a stir and then let it rest until the yeast bubbles, about 5 minutes
  6. once it bubbles start add one cup of flour with the salt
  7. mix for 30 seconds
  8. then continue adding flour until a smooth dough it formed
  9. place the dough in a greased bowl and cover
  10. let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, depending on your ambient temperature this could take a while, milk, eggs, and sugar can slow down the growth of yeast
  11. divide the dough into 4 pieces and then divide those into 6 balls
  12. roll each ball into a log about 6 inches long, place on baking sheet and form into an S shape
  13. once all the rolls are shaped cover and let them rise again until almost doubled
  14. mix the egg wash and then place a raisin or dried currant in the S at the top and the bottom as in the pictures
  15. preheat the oven to 375˚ bake 12-15 minutes or until baked through

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laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

3 thoughts on “Santa Lucia Buns for Santa Lucia Day”

  1. Well, as the only girl in the house at this time, I guess I'd have to make the buns. I'm not wild about saffron, but the rest of the recipe sounds just wonderful. And you're right, the Kitchenaid is divine for so many things, including mixing bread dough!


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