The 12 Days of Holiday Cookies: Day Six

Swedish Wishing Cookies

Today's cookie post involves a bit of a travelogue.

We're going to Lindsborg, Kansas, a wheat-farming college town founded by Swedish settlers in the 1860s and proud of its Swedish heritage.

Nick Fertig eating an ice cream cone at Lindsborg Town Hall.

Throughout the year, the community holds ethnic celebrations. 

Today marks St. Lucia Fest (follow the link to a 6-minute video), held on the Saturday closest to the traditional December 13 Saint Lucia Day.

Lindsborg celebrates both its wheat-farming and Swedish identities with holiday decorations.

Christmas trees, indoors and out, are decked with red-ribboned wheat sheaves and tiny white lights.

Instead of greenery, bundles of prairie grains, also tied with red ribbon, really give you a sense of place. 

You start off the day with a Swedish Bake Sale

but you better get there early or all the best Swedish specialties will be gone. 

Then, the Swedish folk dancers in traditional costume

start their procession down the main street to the Lutheran church. Its architecture is part Swedish, part small town America.

The Swedish dancers pass out pepparkakor or crisp ginger cookies, sometimes called Swedish Wishing Cookies, to those savvy enough to line the streets.

Inside the church, the St. Lucia pageant participants gather.

There is a Star Boy.

And lots of little Saint Lucias (with battery-operated candles in the crowns!).

After the Saint Lucia pageant at the church, you might wander downtown again and come across a demonstration of sweet yeast rolls known as Lucia Buns, flavored with saffron, formed into traditional shapes, and decorated with currants or raisins before baking.

After all that, you're hungry again.

Good thing you can go home and bake a batch of Swedish Wishing Cookies to remember your day.

Swedish Wishing Cookies

Adapted from All-American Desserts by Judith M. Fertig

For St. Lucia Day in the homes of families of Swedish descent, the eldest daughter wears a white gown with a red sash and crown of tiny white lights. In the darkness of a December 13 morning, she brings a tray of saffron-flavored Lucia buns or cookies like these in to her parents’ bedroom.  In public celebrations, a teenage girl playing the role of St. Lucia offers pepparkakor or these cookies to both adults and children who attend the festivities that might include Swedish folk dancing and the St. Lucia and Star Boy pageant. When these spice cookies are rolled very thinly and cut out in heart shapes, they become “wishing cookies,” a charming holiday tradition. St. Lucia gives a child a cookie to hold in the palm of one hand and tells the child to make a wish. With the index finger of the other hand bent, the child strikes the cookie with a knuckle. If the cookie breaks into three pieces, the wish will be granted. If not, there are still those delicious cookie pieces to gobble up. 
Makes 5 dozen
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup light molasses
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated orange rind
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg, molasses, and orange rind. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture, a cup at a time, beating well with each addition. Cover and refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
Roll out the dough, a portion at a time, on a floured surface to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out with heart-shaped cookie cutters or the shape of your choice. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets. 
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until browned at the edges. Cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers.


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obat asam urat said...

just blogwalking.. Nice post and have a nice day :)