When I first moved to Little Frontenac I did not know a soul.  I was a newly arrived stranger about to embark on a journey that, to be honest, I doubted.  My dream after the military had always been to open a bakery of my own where I could create beautiful and delicious dessert for others to enjoy.  Because deep down, that is where I got my joy-- showing love through food.  And while the residents of this town were basically strangers, I wanted to show them how much appreciation I had for them.  After all, I was now part of the community.

The first acquaintances I made were at Little Frontenac's First Lutheran Church.  It always surprises people when I tell them I am a Lutheran, after all I am Hispanic and Roman Catholicism makes more sense. Just to be clear I am baptized and raised Catholic, but the experience was at times "challenging" for me.  After all what kid cherishes the memory of your grandmother telling you in stern Spanish to "stop fidgeting or you will go to purgatory"?  As soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions, I left the church and it would be decades before I gave my heart to Christ fully while in a small tent in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert.  However, I did not commit to a specific religion.  Instead I made it about me and God.  Daily conversations turned into craving for the Word and traditions.  I tried going back to Catholicism but I did not agree with parts of its doctrine.  So I studied and tried to learn more about God.  Eventually, I made my way to a Lutheran church in the town I was stationed at, and the rest is history.  I found a community that embraced me.  And for the first time, I embraced community.

I share this, because through embracing community, I learned how important fellowship after church is for Lutherans. At first it was having coffee after worship, then joining small groups and finally volunteering in various committees.  And in one of the small groups, Rachel Circle, is where I met Anja.  To describe Anja, is like trying to describe happiness.  She is there but seems like an ethereal concept.  I guess the best way to describe her is to tell you my first thought when I met her "she looks like thee older lady who played old Rose in Titanic!". Anja is a sweetheart and whenever I see her I can feel a big bright smile spreading across my face.  She seems to make everyone happy.  When we met, we immediately hit it off especially after she learned I was opening a bakery.  Before I knew it, I was spending a few afternoons at her house, cooking-- learning to traditional dishes like make lefse or Swedish meatballs-- baking and talking about life, especially about the love of her life: her husband George.

It was during these moments that I learned she was a first generation Norwegian/Swedish American.  Her mom was from Norway and her dad from Sweden, and their families settled right outside Stillwater, Minnesota.  After her parents married, they stayed in Stillwater for a few years before relocating to Lanesboro where they farmed well into their lives. Anja eventually met and married George.  To this day she remembers the first time he came came to her parents farm, looking for job as hired help. He was tall and brawny, with a hint of mischief in his eyes that made her heart leap inside her chest.  She was 19 at the time and he was 23. He worked hard and proved himself to her family (she never has spoken as to why he felt he had to prove himself) and two years after his arrival, they married.  They eventually inherited her parents' house after they died and made it into their home.  And it was in the kitchen of this amazing home full of memories that I had my first taste of Anja's Swedish Rolls-- George's favorite breakfast treat-- and fell in love with them.

The rolls are amazing.  They are like cinnamon rolls but because of how you bake them, they are more like a morning roll, slightly crispy on the outside but deliciously chewy inside. But what take these from good to awesome is the addition of some typical Nordic spices like cardamom and Swedish pearl sugar.  They make any breakfast table special.  And they are so good that Anja allowed me to serve them at the bakery, where they have been a breakfast favorite since I started serving them.  But the most important thing is that it is a constant reminder of my first true friend here in Little Frontenac, sweet Anja.

Anja's Swedish Cinnamon Rolls


For the dough:

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon table salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
butter for greasing

For the filling:

3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg for wash: 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of milk
Pearl sugar for sprinkling


1. Pour milk and butter in cup and microwave until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to for 30 to 45 seconds.

2. Place 1 cup of flour, the sugar, the egg and the salt in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

3. Slowly pour the warm milk and butter mixture into the bowl, whisking to combine.  Sprinkle yeast over top and stir. Add remaining flour to the mixing bowl and mix until combined.  You will end up with a sticky dough and this is what you want. 

4.  Grease a bowl with butter and transfer the dough to bowl, turning to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in warm area until doubled in size (about 11.5 - 2 hours).

5. After dough rises, mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.  Punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. 

6. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 12 equal slices.

7. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Place one roll in each cup. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until next morning.

8.  In the morning, bring the rolls to room temperature by preheatingthe oven for 1 minute for 350F and turn it off.  The put the pan of cinnamon rolls there to rise for 45 minutes.

9. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with sugar; bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes; let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!


Welcome to Lemon & Thyme: Stories from a Little Bake Shop. My name is Grace Riveiro, the owner this little bake shop here in Little Frontenac, Minnesota. Nestled against the shores of Lake Superior this town is full of charm and traditions.  I have been fortunate to be a member of this community for five years and have loved every minute of it-- especially the people.  When I arrived, I was a stranger with a dream of delighting people with my culinary creations and they welcomed me with open arms.  I will forever be grateful for it. 

I love it so much that I want the world to see what I see and fall in love with the amazing townspeople I now call my friends.  Every week I plan of sharing a little bit of the town, its people and a few surprises. And this blog/journal is where I gather all of my stories.  In a world that is insanely stable right now, I find comfort in the things I love.  And I have come to love the town of Little Frontenac, Minnesota.  It is my little corner of the world where the pace is dictated by the seasons, the lovely characters and the story itself. And I think we can all use a bit of that right now.

Of course, because this is a bake shop, I will also be sharing recipes from the Lemon & Thyme's kitchen.  My love for baking is one of the reasons I chose a bake shop as the setting for my stories.  It is one of my dreams to one day own one.  But until that happens, I will be here sharing my love and my stories with you.  I hope to see you back!

But before I go, here is a little treat for you.  One of my favorite cookies in the world (which is perfect to put you in that Spring mode): Passion Fruit Madeleines.   It is still winter in Minnesota and  I remind myself I chose to live here. So there is that.  That is when I have to bring a little bit of summer in winter.  And I do this with food and drinks, bringing flavors that remind me of my beautiful Puerto Rico.  Thank goodness for senses that can transport us in each single morsel or sip, to another place.  And these passion fruit madeleines, do just that with a slight hint of tropical flavor that just makes you smile when you bite into them.

For these madeleines, I used Dorie Greeenspan's recipe for your basic madeleine, expect I added the pulp of two passion fruits.  What you end up is with a beautiful batter that is so fragrant.  The key to madeleines is refrigerating the batter and the pan.  It works for me beautifully. I hope you give these a try.  They are delicious!

Passion Fruit Madeleines (Adapted from Dorie Greenspan)

2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fleur de sel or a pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
2 tablespoons whole milk
The pulp of 2 passion fruits
1. Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional) Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside. 

2. Working in a mixing bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs and passion fruit pulp and whisk on high.  When the whisk leaves tracks, beat in the honey and vanilla.

3. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, folding only until they disappear into the batter. Finally, fold in the warm melted butter and, when it’s incorporated, the milk. You’ll have a smooth, shiny batter.
Press a piece of plastic film against the surface of the batter and chill for at least 1 hour. (The batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) 
4. An hour or so before you’re ready to bake, butter the molds of a 12-shell madeleine pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess. Even if you have nonstick or silicone madeleine molds, it’s a good idea to give them the butter-flour treatment. (Alternatively, you can use baker’s spray, a mix of vegetable oil and flour.)
5. Spoon the batter into the molds—don’t worry about spreading it evenly; the oven’s heat will take care of that—and refrigerate for 1 hour more. (You can cover the batter lightly with a sheet of wax or parchment paper, but inevitably some of the batter will stick, so I leave the pan bare.)
6. Center a rack in the oven, put a large heavy baking sheet on the rack and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
7. Place the madeleine pan on the hot baking sheet and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and the big bumps on their tops spring back when touched.
8. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter.
9. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a table knife. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature. (If you’re not glazing them, you can serve them warm.
10. And there you have it.  Beautiful and delicious tea cakes to enjoy with teat (or coffee) by the warm roaring fire, pretending to be in a beautiful and warm tropical island instead of the freezer of the world. :-) Enjoy!

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