Enduring Traditions

Swedish Tea Ring

My mother and I were looking through her recipe box, filled with recipes from my great grandmothers and my grandmother.  We do this every Christmas when looking for my Great Grandma Yates’, tried and true, sugar cookie recipe (which no Christmas is complete without).  However, we came across a recipe that my grandma would make each Christmas for her neighbors, so I wanted to do the same for mine.

Tea Ring

5 1/4 cups  All-purpose flour

2 packages active rise yeast

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

2 eggs

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 T milk


Date-Orange Filling

2 cups chopped dried dates

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon sugar


2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 T milk (more if needed)


Prepare filling.  In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer about 3 minutes, until thickened; cool completely.  If filling becomes too thick, add orange juice to thin.  Filling for 2 large tea rings.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well.  In a microwave proof bowl or small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 F to 130 F; butter does not need to be melted).  Add to flour mixture.  Add 2 eggs.  Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed.  By hand, gradually stir in remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Knead on a flour surface until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough.  Divide into 2 parts to make 2 large rings.  On a lightly floured surface, roll each half to a 15-by-12 inch rectangle.  Spread with half of the date filling for each rectangle.  Starting with the longer side, roll up tightly.  Pinch edges to seal.  Form ring, pinch ends to seal. Place each ring seam side down on a greased cookie sheet.  If small tea rings are desired for a more modern take, slice each roll in half (to make 4 small rings) and join ends.  With scissors, make cuts 1-inch apart through top of ring to 1-inch from center.  Turn each slice on it’s side.  Cover let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled, about 30 minutes.  Combine egg and 1 tablespoon of milk; gently brush tea ring.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 200 F and golden brown.  Remove from cookie sheets and cool.

Mix icing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over cooled tea rings.

xo Amanda



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