Swedish cuisine title

How to enjoy yummy Swedish cuisine

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Eat Swedish cuisine!

If you have not eaten Swedish cuisine, especially Swedish pastries, you have been missing out. I was invited to visit Lindsborg, Kan., Little Sweden USA, on Thanksgiving weekend. I got to enjoy all kinds of delectable dishes and touch base with my heritage.

December is the perfect time to experiment with Swedish food. St. Lucia Day is Friday, Dec. 13. St. Lucia Day is celebrated ardently in the long, dark winters of Scandinavia. As Little Sweden, Lindsborg will celebrate it during the second weekend of December.

St. Lucia comes to Lindsborg

On the second weekend in December, Lindsborg always honors Santa Lucia. Santa Lucia Festival Day begins at 10 a.m. downtown. Girls in white carrying candles and stjarn gosse (star boys) lead a procession to Bethany Lutheran Church where the community’s annual St. Lucia receives her crown. The new St. Lucia serves the crowd ginger cookies and coffee. The rest of the day is devoted to St. Lucia festivities, capped by the Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers‘ Program at Bethany Lutheran.

Getting in touch with my Swedish side

My Swedish heritage
Herbert Lockwood and Goldie Lundvall
my Swedish heritage
Herman and Esther Lundvall

Sweden runs in my blood. My maternal grandmother (farmor in Swedish) was 100 percent Swedish. When she decided to marry my grandfather, her father was deeply unhappy. Goldie Lundvall wanted to marry Herbert Lockwood, whose heritage was (gasp!) English. In Herman Lundvall’s opinion, marrying outside the Swedish community was not a good thing. She persisted and their marriage lasted. Herbert and Goldie Lockwood were married 62 years before he passed. My farmor kept some of her Swedish traditions and we have since learned to love more of those traditions.

Drinking Swedish cuisine

Coffee is a major part of Swedish cuisine. However, that was not always the case. According to “The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Weekpodcast on Nov. 20, Sweden banned coffee for years. When they weren’t banning it, they were taxing it heavily. Drinking coffee was seen as a foreign thing to do. People who drank coffee in France gathered in coffee houses to discuss radical ideas, like overthrowing the monarchy. The final coffee ban ended in 1822 and Sweden became a major coffee-drinking nation. Not surprisingly, the Nordic countries dominate the coffee-consumption charts. Finland is No. 1 with Sweden No. 6.

Drinking coffee in Blacksmith Coffee Roastery
Drinking Blacksmith Coffee is a perfect way to start your morning.

Drinking coffee in Lindsborg

Eric had one request when I told him I was Lindsborg bound: “Bring home some Blacksmith Coffee!” As their name implies, Blacksmith Coffee Roastery roasts their coffees. They have many varieties of coffee available in their shop and online. Stop in for the coffee and grab a bite to eat while you’re there. The ambiance can’t be bettered since the shop is in the original Lindsborg blacksmithy. Guests are surrounded by the original bricks, plus items that honor the building’s blacksmithing heritage.

Drinking a Dala Horse Cocktail

Coffee isn’t the only beverage of choice in Lindsborg. Under the Cork sells Smoky Hill Vineyard & Winery‘s vintages. Or make your Lindsborg-themed drink. Lindsborg’s symbol is a Dala horse. What better to drink than a Dala Horse Cocktail made with that most Swedish of fruits, lingonberries. Besides Blacksmith Coffee, we have to buy lingonberry concentrate because we enjoy this cocktail so much. We found the recipe in the March 20, 2016, edition of “Exploring Lindsborg“.

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Dala Horse Cocktail recipe


1 oz. lingonberry concentrate

Juice of half a lime

2 oz. vodka

4-6 oz. cold ginger beer

Lime slices

Crushed ice

Method: Pour lingonberry syrup in the bottom of a cold copper mug. (We keep ours in the freezer.) Stir in lime juice and vodka. Then fill the mug with crushed ice. Next, slowly pour in the ginger beer. Garnish with a lime slice. Serve, gently stirring before drinking.

Making Swedish cuisine

I was so lucky this weekend. I received a one-on-one cooking class with Carla Wilson, who was Lindsborg Artist of the Year in 2019. Wilson is skilled in all sorts of art forms, including food. Remember your mother’s scoldings, “Don’t play with your food!” Momma’s words didn’t apply for us. We played with our food, and it was great fun! We made St. Lucia saffron buns (Lussekatter rolls), vetebrod (Swedish sweet yeasted bread), brunskakor (Swedish brown cookies), and Swedish tea rings. My mother, who was not one bit Swedish, used to make Swedish tea rings. Because I remember making these with her, I’ll start with the recipe she used. Plus, I’ll include Carla’s baking tips.

Carla Wilson makes Swedish cuisine
Carla Wilson cuts the St. Lucia rolls or Lussekatter.

Pro tip

To find genuine Swedish ingredients, visit Scott’s Hometown Foods’ CookSwedish.com.

Swedish cuisine
A tray of Sju Sorters Kakor (Seven kinds of Swedish cookies) from Three Friends Baking. Every single one is delicious.

Let someone else bake Swedish cuisine for you

If you are pressed for time or would rather stay out of the kitchen, contact Three Friends Baking from Lindsborg. I enjoyed a tray full of beautiful, tasty cookies in my room courtesy of the Three Friends. A card explained the custom of “sju sorters kakor“, “seven kinds of cookies” in Swedish. In Sweden, hostesses traditionally provided guests with sju sorters kakor. Serving fewer than seven cookie varieties labeled the hostess as stingy and/or lazy. More than seven cookie varieties on the tray labeled the hostess as a braggart.


Ostkaka and Swedish tea rings already prepared for you
Scott’s Hometown Foods has Swedish delicacies available both in the store and online at CookSwedish.com.

If you want more than Swedish baked goodies, look to Scott’s Hometown Foods in Lindsborg. Scott’s is a must-stop for us every time we visit Lindsborg. They stock both ready-made dishes and imported Scandinavian ingredients. We especially love lingonberries and cloudberries.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”17300″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” lazy_loading=”true”][vc_column_text]

How to bake Swedish cuisine

Swedish tea ring recipe

Mom made tea rings with the recipe from the 1956 edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook. I dearly love this cookbook because it features lovely little stories about the recipes. I can see my mother bending over the flour board kneading the dough.

Carla said that the number of eggs in the tea ring recipe determines how many tea rings the recipe can make. This one has two eggs; therefore, it will yield 2 tea rings.



1/2 cup warm water

1/4 cup + 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 and 1/2 cup lukewarm milk

1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/4 cup Splenda and 1/4 cup sugar to lessen the calories)

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring

1/2 cup soft shortening

7-7 1/2 cups flour (Eric and I extensively use Wheat Montana Flour in cooking and baking.)


2 Tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup sugar or Splenda

2 teaspoons cinnamon or cardamom


Vanilla sugar


Vanilla flavoring

Pecan halves

Maraschino cherries



Pour water into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast, stirring to dissolve it. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a spoon until smooth. Add enough flour to handle easily. Mix with your hands. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Carla compared the correct texture to the smoothness of a baby’s bottom. Spray bowl with cooking spray. Round the dough and place it into the bowl. Once the dough has been lubricated with the spray, turn the ball greased side up. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double (about 1 1/2 hour). Punch down; let rise again until almost double (about 30 minutes). Carla put the dough bowl on the stove above the oven to keep it warm. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


When the dough has risen enough, roll it out. Carla chopped the dough ball in half with a bench scraper. We each pulled the dough into a rough elongated rectangle. On a floured surface, she rolled the dough one pass each direction longways, then three short and firm passes along the short side. Use half of the filling on each rectangle. Mix the spices and sweetener. Spread the butter on the dough, then sprinkle the spices/sweetener mix on top. Roll the dough tightly on the long side, and then pinch it together firmly to prevent leaks.

Place the dough on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Form a circle and press the ends together like a snake swallowing its tail. With a pair of kitchen shears or a knife, cut the tea ring part of the way through. Carla advised me to hold my hand against the inside of the tea ring. Cut the ring until you feel the tips of the scissors or knife. That will prevent you from cutting all the way through. Twist each slice onto its side. If you want a fancier tea ring, lay each slice opposite each other, one on the inside and one on the outside.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 25-30 minutes.


Sift a little of the vanilla sugar into a bowl. Moisten the sugar with cream or milk until it reaches a spreadable consistency. Add vanilla flavoring to taste. (For a truly Midwestern taste, get the Xtra Touch flavoring.) When the ring has cooled, but is still somewhat warm, liberally spread the icing on top of the tea ring. Optional: Garnish with pecan halves and/or maraschino cherries.

Don’t eat all the Maraschino cherries

My brother and I greatly enjoyed Maraschino cherries. When our mother intended to bake, she would warn us not to eat all of the cherries. We were mischievous children — and much of the blame lies on me. Kevin and I would eat away at the jar of cherries. We were always very particular not to eat the last cherry. When Mom was ready to bake, we could answer with perfect truthfulness that we had not eaten *all* the cherries. She soon learned not to quantify the number of cherries.

To this day, I have a hard time eating the very last portion of any bottled or canned good.

Brunskakor (Swedish brown cookies) recipe

Brunkakor cookies
A plate of our brunkakor (brown cookies).

In this case, I’m borrowing a recipe from AllRecipes.com. These are roll cookies, playing-with-your-food cookies. When we were making these cookies, I had a very difficult time preventing myself from gobbling down the dough. Roll the dough to 1 inch in diameter with a length nearly as long as your cookie pan. When the cookies are ready to bake, cut the rolls diagonally with the bench scraper. I didn’t do so well at the diagonal cutting, but the cookies taste every bit as good.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”17304″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” lazy_loading=”true”][vc_column_text]

The twisted St. Lucia buns (Lussekatter)

According to Swedish tradition, Santa Lucia brought food and drink to hungry people during a famine. In one version of the legend, a well-lit ship appeared on Lake Vannern. As it approached the shore, people saw a woman at the helm. She was dressed in white with a light around her head. She was coming to save them from the famine. Her feast is held Dec. 13. On that morning, the oldest daughter dresses in a long white gown with a red sash at the waist. She wears a crown of fresh greens and lit candles on her head. Her younger siblings can attend her. They serve coffee and Lussekatter to their parents, who remain in bed for the festivities. The greens and lights represent the hope of new life at the darkest time of the year.

Lussekatter may be formed into many traditional shapes, such as a pig, a cat, a horse, a wagon, a goat, a lily, a lyre, a baby and my favorite — the pastor’s hair. The hair shape commemorates the wigs the Swedish Lutheran pastors wore. Bakers may decorate the buns with raisins or craisins.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”17311″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center” lazy_loading=”true”][vc_column_text]

Vetebrod Swedish cuisine recipe

This recipe comes from the 1991 “Measure for Pleasure” cookbook, which the Bethany College Auxiliary publishes. I could not find the 1991 version online, but Scott’s sells the current version.


2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar (Try halving the sugar with Splenda for fewer calories.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

7-8 crushed cardamom seeds

1 cup milk

1/3 cup butter

4 cups flour (We recommend Wheat Montana Flour.)

Pearl sugar


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Place sweeteners, salt, and cardamom into a large bowl. Heat the milk and the butter to lukewarm, then add to the dry ingredients. Add the yeast and flour. Blend until it is easily handled. Place dough into a greased bowl. Let rise until it doubles in size. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into six pieces with a bench scraper. Roll each piece into 1/2 inch rolls. Braid three strands into two braids. Let rise again, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool until lukewarm. Sprinkle with pearl sugar to taste.

I’ve never been any good at braiding anything, but, with Carla’s help, I managed to make something presentable. I was greatly surprised. She made a bunch of beautiful shapes, then sliced them with the bench scraper. Cutting them was a pity. Her braids were gorgeous works of art.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Get in touch with your Swedish side in Lindsborg!

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I was a guest of Lindsborg Convention & Visitors Bureau, but all opinions are my own.


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