30 Before 30, Breads, Recipes

St. Lucia Buns

Soft, buttery yeast rolls made with saffron and golden raisins. St. Lucia Buns are a Christmas treat you do not want to miss!

Soft, buttery yeast rolls made with saffron and golden raisins. St. Lucia Buns are a Christmas treat you do not want to miss!

I have wanted to celebrate St. Lucia’s Day for nearly 22 years, and last December, I finally did it. When I was eight years old, I received a Kirsten doll for my birthday. If you were a girl in the 80s and 90s [or have a little girl today!] you know how much of a Big Deal that was. I read every single one of Kirsten’s stories again and again, and all the other doll’s stories again.

With Kirsten

This photo isn’t from Christmas, but it was the best digital photo I could find with Kirsten, except for some embarrassing college photos of my friend and I with our Kirsten dolls. 😉 Yes, we were the kind who brought our dolls to college for a birthday party… wild and crazy, huh? Ha! Since Kirsten is from Sweden, her family always celebrated the Christmas season with a visit from St. Lucia… only their first Christmas in America, according to the wonderful book, Kirsten’s Surprise, all the necessary supplies for the day were stuck in town! You can imagine the drama, if you haven’t already read the book. 🙂 And you can probably predict the outcome too–Kirsten saves the day [along with some help from dear ‘ole Dad] and the family celebrates St. Lucia Day as usual. It was glorious!

Soft, buttery yeast rolls made with saffron and golden raisins. St. Lucia Buns are a Christmas treat you do not want to miss!

Traditionally, St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated on December 13th–this coming Sunday! Lucia, who died as a martyr for her faith, is the saint of light and as such, an important symbol throughout Scandinavia as a promise of light through the dark and wintry months. Typically, the eldest daughter in the family wakes the family with singing and the treat of these delicious buns. She wears a white gown with a red sash and a crown of berries, twigs, and candles. It always seemed like such a lovely tradition to me, but for some reason I never woke up earlier than my parents with a freshly baked batch of sweet, golden yeast buns! Funny! Ha.

Soft, buttery yeast rolls made with saffron and golden raisins. St. Lucia Buns are a Christmas treat you do not want to miss!

These rolls, though a bit labor-intensive, are worth every bit of the time and effort. They’re absolutely SO soft and buttery, and a beautiful shade of golden yellow from the saffron. Saffron can be expensive [ugh] but it’s pretty reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s. I’ve also seen it at World Market in the past, and found mine in the Latin section of my local Publix… a tiny amount for a few dollars. I’m sure it’s not the best quality, but c’est la vie… These buns taste amazing straight from the oven with some fresh butter, but they’re also enjoyable for breakfasts with coffee and fruit over the next few days. #perfection Hope you can try these this weekend to celebrate St. Lucia!

Soft, buttery yeast rolls made with saffron and golden raisins. St. Lucia Buns are a Christmas treat you do not want to miss!

one year ago: Art Smith’s Macaroni and Cheese
two years ago: Cranberry-Pistachio Citrus Butter Cookies
three years ago: Streuseled Cran-Apple Sweet Potato Casserole
four years ago: Cranberry Pineapple Sauce
five years ago: Cheddar Black Pepper Biscuits

St. Lucia Buns

  • Servings: 12
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from King Arthur Flour


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup potato flour or 1/2 cup instant potato flakes [I used the flakes]
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs – 1 egg will be divided [see below]
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white, reserved from dough + 1 tablespoon cold water – for topping
  • coarse pearl sugar, optional – for topping
  • golden raisins, optional – for topping


Place milk and saffron in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Heat to just a simmer [so not long at all!] and remove from heat. Stir in butter, then set aside for the butter to melt and the mixture to cool to lukewarm. This will take about 35 minutes, but you can speed it up about 10 minutes by placing the entire saucepan in the refrigerator.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast, potato flour, salt, and sugar. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, reserving the white for the topping later.

When the milk mixture has cooled sufficiently, pour over the dry ingredients. Add the eggs [2 whole eggs and 1 yolk] and vanilla. Mix to combine, then knead until the dough is smooth. In the mixer this should take about 7 minutes; by hand, 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, then cover and let rise for an hour. The dough doesn’t have to be quite doubled, but should be puffy.

Gently tap to deflate the dough, then divide into 12 equal pieces. King Arthur Flour recommended a scale–each piece should weigh about 92 grams or 3.25 ounces. You can also do the ‘ole divide in half and half and half trick too.

Roll each piece into a short log, then cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

Then roll into a thin 15-18 inch rope. It’ll shrink when you stop rolling, but that’s okay. Shape each roll into an “S,” then place a golden raisin in each of the coils if you would like.

Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat, or grease lightly. Place buns about an inch apart on the baking sheets, then cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until puffy. They shouldn’t double in size. At this time, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add 1 tablespoon cold water to reserved egg white, then brush mixture on each bun. Sprinkle with coarse pearl sugar if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Check on the rolls after 15 minutes for doneness–especially if your oven runs hot or if you used raisins, as you’ll want to tent with foil for the last few minutes to prevent burning.

Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

30 Before 30, Breads, Recipes

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

Soft, chewy whole wheat bread… a bread lover’s dream come true. Just seven ingredients to perfection! 🙂

Is there anything that smells homier than bread cooking in the oven? I think not. Homemade bread is such a treat, and it has been my quest to find an easy, foolproof, and simple recipe that I can use for toast, sandwiches, and anything in between. Well friends, I think this is IT!

Easy Whole Wheat Bread | thepajamachef.comI’m sorry the bread is a little wrinkled on top. When I made this, I couldn’t take pictures that day because it was too dark… and the bread wrinkled a little bit overnight. But it tasted amazing so I had to take pics anyway! Finding a great whole wheat bread recipe was one of my 30 before 30 goals. Spoiler alert: I turn 30 on Monday [yikes] and I am not to those 30 recipes yet. Whoops! This year was just too busy. So I’m extending my challenge into my 30th year. #mychallengemyrules

Easy Whole Wheat Bread | thepajamachef.comI found this recipe on one of the first blogs I ever started reading, The Runner’s Plate. Michelle’s mom has made this bread for years. Recipes from moms are always winners so I knew–even before I made it–that this bread would be one too! 🙂 It’s soft and hearty, with a faint honey taste, and it’s made with only 7 ingredients. I bet you have them all in your pantry right now! I know I do. It isn’t 100% whole wheat, but I bet you could experiment with using part white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose flour. Most homemade bread recipes are too heavy if you use ALL whole wheat flour, so tread lightly with substitutions.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread | thepajamachef.comWhat we loved about this bread was that it was soooo soft, almost like storebought bread. But it is homemade! Win! Though the amount of time it takes to make may be a bit overwhelming, it’s a great recipe to make on the weekend. It requires very little babysitting once the initial prep is completed so you could start it off, do some cleaning, move on to the next step, watch a tv show, move on to the next step, go for a run, move on to the next step, take a shower, then let it bake. Easy easy! That’s why it’s called Easy Whole Wheat Bread. 🙂 It’s the vehicle I used to eat this Curried Chicken Salad, some BLTs, and innumerable pieces of toast. Enjoy!

one year ago: Easy Homemade New  York Bagels
two years ago: {Green} Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
three years ago: Royal Berry Coffee Cake
four years ago: Mexican Pizza

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
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from The Runner’s Plate


  • 1 3/4 cups warm water [about 110-115 degrees]
  • 1 package active dry yeast [2 1/4 teaspoons]
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Add water to a large bowl, then sprinkle the yeast on top. Pour in oil, honey, and salt, then mix to combine. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. At this point, yeast should bubble.

Slowly mix in flour, then knead for 10 minutes by hand or 6-7 with a stand mixer on medium-low speed.

Cover with a dish towel and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down and let rise again until doubled in size. This should take less time–check on it after 20 minutes and every 10 thereafter.

Divide dough into two equal parts, then shape into loaves and place in 2 greased bread pans. Let rise until dough reaches top of bread pans, about 30 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 32-37 minutes, until golden brown on top.

30 Before 30, Breakfast, Meat, Recipes

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

Enjoy homemade turkey sausage patties seasoned as you like. My version includes a little sweet [brown sugar], a little spicy [cayenne pepper], and a little herb [oregano]. Mmm!

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties | thepajamachef.com

When creating my 30 before 30 list last spring [and BOY am I running out of time…yikes!], I put homemade sausage on my list because I thought it was, ya know, hard or something. Umm, no. Not really. Well, maybe there’s something that makes real sausage legit… but this? It tasted pretty good to me. Pretty much like sausage. These sausage patties are sweet and savory with a lil bit of spice. You should definitely try this for your next fancy breakfast or brunch. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Quick & Healthy Pineapple Fried Rice
two years ago: Healthy Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars
three years ago: Cream of Broccoli Soup with Cheese
four years ago: Pork Chops with Red Wine Sauce

Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties

  • Servings: 16
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  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – optional
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste


In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Season with pepper and salt to your taste. Divide in half, then in half again, and in half again to form 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then flatten into small patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour if not overnight. When ready to serve, cook on the stovetop until no longer pink inside.


Seasoning amounts are VERY flexible. Adjust as desired–especially the cayenne pepper. Sausage patties can be frozen for another day if desired.

30 Before 30, Breakfast, Pastries, Recipes

Apple Fritters

Apple fritters at home. Easy, no fuss, and absolutely amazing! 

Apple Fritters | thepajamachef.com

I LOVE apple fritters. Absolutely love them. When they’re among my doughnut choices, I’ll almost always take one. Cake doughnuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles are a close second, as are those fake-blueberry doughnuts. [Doughnuts are so yum, doncha think?] I’m not sure what it is about apple fritters that I adore the most–probably those soft pieces of sweet fall apples stuffed inside. Or the combination of soft, pillowy doughnut with a crunchy, spiced glaze. Mmmm!

Apple Fritters | thepajamachef.com

Since I love apple fritters so much, I decided to put them on my 30 before 30 list. I shy away from making doughnuts at home because using my baked doughnut pan is such a pain and frying scares me. But growing older means getting over fears, so I decided that I had to fry these babies at home. Because apple fritters equal yum. I made them the night I got home from a fall trip to Hilton Head Island with my family last month. Weird, I know. I mean, who doesn’t make doughnuts after an eight hour drive?!? 🙂 Well, I had to, because they were my payment to my sister and brother-in-law for driving me back to Nashville after Ben had to leave early to get back to school.

Apple Fritters | thepajamachef.com

Well, I’m really glad I faced my fears because guess what! Frying isn’t as hard as it seems. It’s kinda messy and not that great for you, so I don’t think I’ll be doing it alllll the time, but once in awhile it’s fun. You just have to go slowly and carefully to avoid scalding yourself with the hot oil. Other than that, no problem. These fritters are so darn good and so easy that you’ll want to make them every weekend.

Apple Fritters | thepajamachef.com

The fritters are extra apple-y since they’re made with apple cider AND fresh apples. And extra spicy [not spicy-hot but warm spicy with cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves alongside the aforementioned apple cider]. But that’s just in the fritter! The spiced apple glaze is simple [powdered sugar + apple cider + spices] and absolutely wonderful! I think I’ll be using this glaze on muffins and cakes and everything else imaginable from now on. It is just the perfect compliment to the fluffy doughnut. Each bite of these fritters is better than the last. You know you can just get over some sweets after the first few bites? Like it’s just too much after a bit? Well, these fritters are not that. Each bite is better than the last. I hope you love these fritters as much as we did. They’re relatively quick to make and don’t require the oven, so wouldn’t they be perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast? Enjoy!

one year ago: Chipotle-Cilantro Mashed Potatoes
two years ago: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
three years ago: Dilled Carrots
four years ago: Apple City BBQ Sauce

Apple Fritters

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from Cook’s Country via We Are Not Martha


  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, + chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oil [I used canola, vegetable or peanut are also recommended]

for glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Place chopped apples in a single layer on a clean tea towel. Top with another clean tea towel and pat dry, gently rolling to dry all sides of the apples. Remove top towel and pat dry with a paper towel to make sure you got it all. Alternatively, you can use paper towels on a baking sheet.

Next, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In large measuring cup, whisk together cider, eggs, butter, and vanilla. Add apples to the flour mixture and toss together. Then gradually pour cider mixture over apples, stirring to form a thick batter.

In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 degrees F. I think you could also use a deep skillet but you’d need additional oil to fill it up. A deep skillet would allow you to cook more at once, but the dutch oven approach works well too.

When oil is hot, scoop batter by the 1/3 cup-fulls into the hot oil. Immediately use a wooden spoon to press and flatten the batter. I fried 3 fritters at once; if I had used a skillet I think I could have done 4-5 at once. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side, being careful not to let the oil temperature go above 350 or your fritters will burn. Ask me how I know. :-/ Adjust heat as necessary to keep temperature between 325-350.

When fritters are golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and allow to cool on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to catch dripping grease. Repeat until batter is finished. Recipe should yield 12 fritters.

When fritters have cooled slightly, make the icing. I did this after all fritters were done frying and the timing worked well. Whisk powdered sugar together with cider, then add cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth, then drizzle 1 tablespoon over each fritter. I had extra glaze so I waited for the glaze to set for 10 minutes and then glazed them again to use it up.

Fritters are best enjoyed within 3 days. After the first day, they should be refrigerated.

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek
30 Before 30, Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

#PumpkinWeek: Pumpkin Biscotti

Crunchy, pumpkin spiced biscotti make a crisp fall morning extra special!

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

I first started drinking coffee eight years ago in a little corner café in Nice with ornate velvet chairs, marble tables, and the most divine pastries you have ever seen in your life. Iiiiii know. It’s as idyllic as it sounds–this is France we’re talking about, after all. The cafés in Paris did not even BEGIN to compare. This little spot is a slice of heaven on earth. I remember luxurious mornings on that summer project with Cru, sitting and reading and talking in that café with a big green awning, wishing that summer would never ever end. But it did, and I came home, and US coffee is nothing like that strong French brew, especially when said brew is layered with cream and thick caramel. Mmmmmm! I gradually journeyed from occasional fancy, caramel-y coffee drinks to an everyday coffee habit with a constant rotation of Paramount Coffee in our cupboard [no sponsor or anything, we just really like their coffee]. One thing I never understood was biscotti.

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

The concept of biscotti–cookies at breakfast–totally makes sense. But a hard cookie? That you dip in coffee? Well, that just sounds weird. I’ve never been a dip-my-Oreos-in-my-milk kinda girl. Crumbs=gross. The only biscotti I’ve ever had just was… boring and tasteless. And let’s face it–I probably tried to bite into it without enough dunking. Ooops?

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

There’s nothing gross or boring or tasteless about these biscotti! They’re full of real pumpkin, lots of pumpkin spice, and a healthy coating of white chocolate on top. These biscotti taste so good you’ll forget it’s just a normal morning at home, and instead think you’re lounging in a fancy French coffee shop! If only. 🙂

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Though I made these biscotti for #PumpkinWeek [it ends tomorrow! Tear!] they also fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Yay! Thanks to Terri from Love and Confections for hosting. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections’ #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

one year ago: Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal Cookies
two years ago: 30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
three years ago: Pumpkin Biscuits
four years ago: Maize and Blue Cupcakes

Pumpkin Biscotti

  • Servings: 24
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from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – optional
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped – optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil


If using nuts, melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat. Cook nuts, stirring constantly, until they brown. Remove from heat and cool completely before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

With a mixer, beat together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until the mixture thickens. With mixer on low, slowly add flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Dough will be thick so just mix it in a little with the mixer and then finish up by hand. If using nuts, fold in at the end. Dough will be crumbly.

Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a 3×10 inch log. Place on prepared baking sheet, then wet hands and smooth logs if necessary.

Bake until the logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. I found that without nuts, my logs didn’t firm up at all until about 35-40 minutes, but they do firm up more as they cool so go with your instincts. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then remove to a cutting board and slice with a serrated bread knife. I got about 12 slices by cutting my pieces about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.

Return cookies to baking sheets, cut sides up. Place in a single layer and bake until firm, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Once biscotti have cooled, melt white chocolate and oil together in a microwave safe bowl, heating on 50% power in 30 second bursts, stirring in between to melt. Drizzle, brush, or dip with white chocolate.

Store biscotti in airtight container. It’s best within the first four days, but will keep for 3-4 weeks.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Check out all the #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Chia Granola by Love and Confections
Meatloaf-Stuffed Mini Pumpkins by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
White Chocolate Reeses Pumpkin Blondies by The Spiffy Cookie
Pumpkin and Corn Chowder by Curious Cuisiniere
Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes by Life Tastes Good
Pumpkin Spice Cookie Blossoms by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Curried Roasted Pumpkin Hummus by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Praline Frosted Pumpkin Brownies by My Catholic Kitchen
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter by Making Miracles
Pumpkin Biscotti by The Pajama Chef
White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake by Dizzy Busy and Hungry