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Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Christmas Tree Rolls

There’s nothing better for Christmas morning than having a beautiful batch of Christmas Tree Rolls in the freezer, ready to go for a festive and ridiculously delicious Christmas breakfast. In the fall, I made a half batch of the recipe for Buns that my mom has made since the 1960’s, and I used 1/3 of that half batch to make the small pan of Lingonberry Rolls that we enjoyed for our Thanksgiving morning breakfast. With the other 2/3 of that half-batch, I made these rolls for us to enjoy for our Christmas morning breakfast. My mom made these rolls for the family for Christmas morning sometimes during my childhood. She would make the Buns, then once she was tired of making the buns, she would use the last of the dough to make caramel rolls. Earlier on she would make Swedish Tea Ring to give away as gifts, or for us to have on Christmas morning. In later years, she would sometimes change it up and make Christmas Tree Rolls (occasionally also giving those away as gifts) and pop them into the freezer for Christmas morning. Now, I have to say, these Buns and caramel rolls have been a totally necessary item for everyone in the family for all holidays and anytime in-between. There’s nothing better slathered in melty butter, warm out of the oven. If you make the full batch of these Buns, it’s a big chore. My sister and I would help mom out (when we HAD to), but it’s a lot of work to do the whole batch. You mix up the big bowl of dough, knead it, let it rise, form the buns one by one, let them rise, and then bake them. I’m not complaining – besides learning how to make them, those warm buns were totally worth the work, and they freeze perfectly so there was usually a container of buns in the freezer (if my sister didn’t get to them – she had a thing for frozen baked goods – ha). Slowly, over time, mom hasn’t been able to continue her bun making. That means it’s time for the rest of us in the family to pick up the slack and start making them again – even if it’s for special occasions like a holiday, because they’re perfect for leftover turkey or ham sandwiches! But it’s still a lot of work to make those Buns, and when we get tired, we’ll just make caramel rolls like mom did. For now, I’m glad I only tackled a half-batch and made these melt-in-your-mouth delicious Christmas Tree Rolls for Christmas morning!

Yes – this a very well-used and well-loved recipe and recipe card!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Christmas Tree Rolls

Follow the recipe for Buns or Lingonberry Rolls.

I used about 2/3 of a half batch for these rolls.

If you want to make buns, too, use half of the batch of the original recipe to make these rolls and the rest of the dough can be made into buns.

For the frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

2-4 Tablespoons milk, or enough to make it spreadable

food coloring, if desired (I used green)

For ornaments:

maraschino cherries (I let them sit on a paper towel for awhile to dry off a bit)


Roll out dough into a long rectangle – or close to the shape of a rectangle.

Spread with about 1/2 cup softened butter, and sprinkle generously with about 2-3 Tablespoons cinnamon and about 1/4-1/2 cup sugar. You could mix the cinnamon and sugar together, if you want to, but I didn’t here. I didn’t do it here, but if you really want to make these special, you could also add chopped raisins, nuts, and cherries at this point.

Roll it up as tightly as you can, and cut it into slices to make the rolls.

I cut the tube of dough, with a serrated knife, into 12 rolls to make this tree – arranging them right on the baking sheet. They don’t look exactly the same size, but after rising and baking, they’ll be fine. You can see the cinnamon and sugar peeking through! Can’t wait!

After baking – oh yum. See – the rolls all ended up about the same size. Ha! They almost ended up right off the sides of the pan! To keep these for Christmas morning I wrapped a piece of foam core with foil (making a “platter” to set them on), taped it on the backside, and put the rolls on that so I can wrap them well with plastic wrap and a piece of foil and put them in the freezer. Just make sure that the “platter” you make will fit in your freezer before you go to all the work and have to do it all over again!

After putting the rolls onto the serving “platter”, I frosted them with the above recipe of frosting, put cherries in the middle of each roll as an ornament, and used holiday sprinkles (plus a little brown sugar for the “pot” on the bottom) all over it for added festiveness! I mean, really! Just look how festive! Perfect for Christmas morning. Or gift giving. Or a hostess gift. Or a teacher gift. It’s just perfect. Make some Christmas Tree Rolls for your Christmas morning breakfast, make a big pot of coffee to go with them (since you had a late night putting together toys, wrapping, etc.), and let the festivities begin!


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Lingonberry Rolls

I made Lingonberry Rolls, and I’m so excited! The recipe is the same recipe used for Buns that my mom has been making for years – my whole life, really. I just added a twist on it – a Scandinavian twist! Grandma would LOVE these rolls, with their tart lingonberry filling and sweet almond icing. She was all for anything Scandinavian (since she was Swedish and Grandpa was Norwegian and Danish), and I just KNOW she would love these! Anybody and everybody will love these! Seriously – they take some time to make, but they’re pretty easy to do. I used my mom’s traditional recipe for Buns and just altered it a bit. We’re going to be having these for our Thanksgiving breakfast, but they would be amazing with your afternoon coffee or anytime! Speaking of Scandinavian, I had to share this photo of Grandma’s aunt. She was on a trip to Sweden with her mother (my great, great grandmother), and they visited the home where her mother lived and where they reconnected with relatives still living there. This is where the love of lingonberries comes from, and this is where the love of sweets for afternoon coffee comes from! It’s tradition – it’s necessary – it’s family!

She’s so cute in her traditional dress! I wonder if she ever did learn to spin wool into yarn! She could have spun some yarn for me to make Norwegian Mittens (still Scandinavian)!

You can see how well-used this recipe is – I can hardly read it!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Note: This is a full recipe that my mom used to make buns AND rolls from one batch – I’m showing you the full recipe here. She would make buns until she got tired of making them, then she’d use the rest of the dough to make caramel rolls. I used half of this recipe to make two kinds of rolls. One kind of rolls is Christmas Tree Rolls that I’ll tell you about next month, but the other kind is this smaller pan of rolls that we’re going to enjoy for our Thanksgiving breakfast. So technically, I used 1/3 of a half batch for these Lingonberry Rolls and 2/3 of a half batch for the Christmas Tree Rolls (info to come in a later post next month). I hope that makes sense. You could use a half recipe to make a 9″ x 13″ pan of all Lingonberry Rolls – cutting the dough into 12-16 rolls.

Lingonberry Rolls

Mix in a large bowl:

4 cups water (warm)

1 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon salt

2 packages of yeast

Let sit a few minutes.


2 eggs

1 cup oil (I used canola)

Mix in:

2 teaspoons baking powder

10-12 cups flour

(Next time I might try 1 teaspoon cardamom in at this point!)

Knead until smooth and elastic – about 10-20 minutes.

Let rise 1 hour.

Punch down.

Let rest 10 minutes.

Form the rolls:

Roll out the dough into a rectangle – maybe about 10″ x 14″ for these 9 rolls – longer if you’re making a bigger batch with more rolls.

Spread over the top of the rectangle of dough:

1/2-3/4 cup lingonberry jam

Roll dough up on long edge to make a tube (this does get a little messy), pinching the seam.

Cut into 9 rolls and put into a greased pan (I used a 9″ x 9″ pan for this small batch).

Let rise 30-60 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.


Frost with Almond Icing (double this if making a larger pan of rolls):

Mix together until spreadable:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 Tablespoon butter, softened

2-3 Tablespoons milk, or just enough to make the icing spreadable

Sprinkle with toasted, sliced almonds.

Let the yeast do it’s thing for a few minutes.

I added just a couple of cups of flour first, got it all mixed up, and then added the rest of the flour. I think it’s easier to mix it all together that way.

Next – the kneading – and your arm and ab workout for the day. Work it!

Into the bowl with a lid or just cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for an hour.

Here it is, on to the next step. Punch it down and form the rolls.

After rolling out the dough into a rectangle, I spread on the lingonberry jam. It gets a little messy, but it will be worth it!

Cut the rolls into 1″-2″ slices and put into a greased pan.

I covered the pan with plastic wrap and let them rise again.

The frosting is easy to make and really makes the rolls special. This is the part Grandma would have liked most – the almond frosting!

I put these rolls into the freezer so we can enjoy them for our Thanksgiving breakfast. Not only are they a Scandinavian twist on a cinnamon or caramel roll, they have the tartness of the lingonberries, which remind me of cranberries, and they’re so good with that sweet almond frosting on top.

These rolls are just about perfect in every way. They have the tart lingonberries, the sweet frosting, and they’re made from mom’s recipe for Buns. I. Can’t. Wait. For. Thanksgiving. Breakfast. Period. Your family is going to love it when you bake something special for them. I know that our family sure appreciated it when my mom baked for us, and my own family appreciates when I bake for them. These Lingonberry Rolls are the way I’m doing it this Thanksgiving!



Swedish Tea Ring

Today’s recipe is a continuation of the Buns recipe I posted on October 7, 2013.

You can find the recipe for the dough here.

This is another type of treat made with the same bun dough on that post.

My mom would sometimes give this treat to lucky people at Christmastime.

It’s called a Swedish Tea Ring.

There is really no recipe for the actual tea ring, just the yummy stuff you add to it after you’ve made the dough.

We went to my mom’s place and she, being the master, made a small Swedish Tea Ring for us after we made buns.

You can make this tea ring with about one third to one half of the bun dough or whatever you have left when you’ve had enough of the bun making.

Here is the recipe as we made it:


First, roll out a portion of the dough into a rectangle, 12″ x 18″ or so (this was a smaller version).

Spread softened butter on top – she used about 1/4 cup here.

Then, sprinkle on brown sugar – about 1 cup depending on how gooey you want it.

Sprinkle cinnamon over top, making sure you cover the whole thing with cinnamon.

This makes more of a cinnamon roll type of situation but if you like more of a caramel roll type of situation, you can also drizzle on some white corn syrup.

At Christmas, she has been known to also put in chopped nuts, maraschino cherries, and raisins.


Roll up dough on long side and connect the ends overlapping dough and having seam on the under side.


Using a knife or scissors (we think a scissors works better), cut 3/4 of the way through the roll, turning slices to side to lay flat.


Let rise another 30-45 minutes.


Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.


Move to serving platter and drizzle powdered sugar frosting on top (to give this as a gift, she would use a piece of cardboard covered in foil and the whole thing wrapped in plastic wrap).

You can find a recipe for the frosting here.

Sprinkle decorating sugar on top of that depending on what time of year it is (she used orange sugar on this one for fall).

For Christmas she would use nonpareils (the colorful little ball-y things) with maraschino cherries cut in half decorating the top.


It really is a beautiful presentation.


Another tasty treat great for breakfast or afternoon tea made by the master.

Thanks, Mom!


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