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More Than Just a Coffee Break

In Sweden, fika punctuates the day

By Leah Schroeder 

Take Time to Fika

Functioning as both a verb and a noun, the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: That’s what fika is all about.

—From Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall, available for pre-order now at

Photo by Leah Schroeder.

My family and I were thrilled to find ourselves in Sweden this past summer. Besides fantastic furniture design, beautiful landscapes and friendly natives, during our three weeks in Sweden I discovered a new love of a daily Swedish ritual, fika. In Swedish, fika simply means “to drink coffee,” but it is much more than that.

I have lost track of the many times I experienced fika last summer. I enjoyed fika on a … Read More

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Swedish Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

Recipe by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall from Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Illustration by Johanna Kindvall.

Bullar (buns) are perhaps the quintessential component to a Swedish coffee break, and vete in Swedish means “wheat.” Vetebullar is therefore the general term for wheat-based dough that can be turned into any number of bun creations.

Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) and kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) are common variations on this type of bun, and while the traditional “roll” form is common, there are twisted varieties as well. Typically they are baked and served in paper liners. Kanelbullar are such an iconic pastry that an entire day in Sweden is devoted to them (October 4, for those considering celebrating).

This recipe combines both filling varieties, and once you’ve mastered the dough, you can start experimenting with your own fillings. If a Swede knows one thing, it’s this:

No matter what the variation, bullar are always best fresh out of the oven, and make for a wonderful-smelling kitchen.

Makes 30 to 36 buns, or 2 lengths 


7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
4½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons … Read More

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Maple Vinaigrette-Dressed Spinach Salad



A hearty brunch when served over fried eggs with Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes, Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots and Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon

Maple Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons maple syrup

¾ teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together.

Spinach Salad

2 bunches fresh spinach (about 6 cups)

6 farm eggs

3 tablespoons butter

Salt for sprinkling on eggs

Melt ½ tablespoon butter in a small pan over medium-low heat. Break 1 egg in a small dish and carefully ease into the pan so as not to break the yoke. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and cover pan with lid. When egg white has firmed up but yolk is still runny, flip egg gently and turn off heat. Place each egg on a heated plate to keep warm. Dress spinach with vinaigrette and place a small amount on each egg. Add a small amount of Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes, Spiced Maple Roasted Carrots and a slice of Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon over eggs.

Maple Vinagrette is adapted from a recipe by Minda Kauffman

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Maple and Brown Sugar Roasted Bacon



¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground

1 pound bacon (see page 51 for our recipe for homemade bacon)

Preheat oven to 350Åã. In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is melted and all ingredients are blended. Lay the bacon on an aluminum-covered baking sheet. Brush the maple syrup mixture on the bacon. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the bacon is begins to turn crispy.

Serve warm.

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Duck Fat Roasted Potatoes


2–2 ¼ pounds potatoes, washed and cubed

2 tablespoons duck fat, room temperature

2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 425Åã. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10–12 minutes, until they are fork tender but still have a bit of a bite to them. Drain the potatoes and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Toss them with the duck fat and the salt. Place them in the oven and roast them for 35–45 minutes until they are crispy.

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Whiskey Custard


Recipe courtesy of Hello, Donuts!

Use this custard to fill donuts or layer cakes, or simply eat it by the spoonful after it comes off of the stovetop. (I have tried all three and highly recommend each option.)

Yield: Makes enough to fill 50 donut holes

1 cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon goodquality whiskey (like Journeyman Distillery’s Featherbone Bourbon Whiskey)

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pinch of salt

½ tablespoon butter

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the cream and whiskey in a medium-size saucepan until it is nearly boiling. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add a small amount of the warm cream into the egg mixture and whisk quickly to incorporate all of the ingredients. This will temper, or warm, the eggs so that they don’t cook too quickly and scramble. Once tempered, pour the egg mixture into the rest of the cream, whisking constantly as you pour them together. Continue whisking for about 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. If you have a few lumps in your custard, Read More

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Raised Maple Donuts



These decadent brunch treats feature bacon and a whiskey custard. If you prefer, leave out the meat and serve these up for dessert any time of the day.

Yield: 50 donut holes—send extras home in goody bags with your guests!

¾ cup warm milk (between 1100° and 115°)

Scant 1 tablespoon yeast

2 ounces butter (4 tablespoons or ½ stick), melted

⅛ cup maple syrup

½  cup sugar

½  teaspoon salt

½  teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg

1 egg, beaten

2 ounces bacon (about 1 ½ slices), cooked and finely chopped, optional

33–40 ounces oil for frying

Powdered sugar

3 ½ – 4 cups flour

Add the milk to the yeast and allow to proof until spongy. In a large mixing bowl, place the butter, maple syrup, sugar, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and bacon. Beat with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk. Add the flour 1 cup at a time until you have a nice soft dough. Lay out on a floured work surface and knead the dough for 4–5 minutes, until it is stretchy and soft and will bounce back if your finger is Read More

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Serves 6–8


½ pound sliced bacon

In a large sauté pan cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble.

2 medium onions, finely chopped

Sauté onions in the same pan as the bacon. Mix crumbled bacon back in pan with onions. Set aside.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

¼ cup all-purpose flour

Add flour, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling. Do not brown.

1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream

Remove from heat; stir in milk and cream gradually. Return to heat and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

½–1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, finely ground
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped, or ¼ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped, or ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
8–12 ounces Swiss, Gruyere or Cheddar cheese, grated

Immediately add salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, basil and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.

6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
(You can substitute 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach.)

Layer in a buttered baking dish as … Read More

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Courtesy of Caring for the Whole You, Mishawaka, Indiana. The recipe comes from the PHA Cookbook series.

4 ounces baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
3 eggs
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon ghee or butter
4 6-inch low-carb whole-wheat tortillas

Combine spinach, scallions and cheese in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. Heat a concave pan, such as a large wok, on medium-low and add about 1 teaspoon ghee. Swirl to coat evenly.

Place 1 tortilla in pan and mound half of the spinach mixture in the middle. Make an indentation in the center of the mound and pour half of egg mixture onto it. Immediately place another tortilla on top and press down; first in the center, then all around the edge. The goal is to form a seal by forcing some of the egg to the outer edge where the heat will cook it and join the 2 tortillas.

Turn heat to low and cook for a minute or 2, until edges are sealed and bottom is golden.

Top tortilla with about 1 teaspoon ghee … Read More

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For the Brenneman family, it wouldn’t be the holidays without Breakfast Morning Rolls. The recipe comes from Victoria’s mother-in-law Rachel Brenneman. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your recipe with Michiana and for all the many times you have graced the family table with these rolls.

Unlike a typical fluffy cinnamon roll, breakfast morning rolls are made from pastry dough. Eat them warm right out of the oven. Also, plan ahead to make these rolls because the dough needs to chill overnight.

4 cups regular flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2¼ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup milk, scalded

Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour (like you would for pie dough).

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Scald milk and let cool. Add yeast and eggs to cooled milk. With a fork toss liquid mixture lightly into flour. Do not over mix! Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, mix 1 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar. Set aside.

Divide dough in half. Let sit for 30 minutes or until you are able to roll the dough out. Roll out dough into a rectangle with … Read More

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