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Texas mornin' roll

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This roll ain't big enough for the two of us...
I enjoyed quite a few good meals when I was in Dallas on assignment a couple of years ago. The odd thing was that I never actually got to try any dish that was decidedly Texan ­­– not the barbecue ribs, nor chili, chicken fried steak or iced tea. When in a media party, you go where you are taken and eat at whatever restaurant you are bused to, especially in a huge city like Dallas. The portions, however, lived up to the everything-is-big-in-Texas reputation.

I like big breakfasts and Texas Morning Glory, Memorable Breakfast Recipes from Lone Star Bed and Breakfast Inns, a little spiral-bound book that I got in Dallas, has recipes for BIIIIG breakfasts. I didn't get those either since the other members of the party preferred just a coffee for breakfast and to eat big at lunch and dinner instead.

I don't know if I'll ever get to Texas again, whether on another assignment or on my own holiday, but I know I'll be able to at least cook some of the things the state is famous for.

I wish we had had a tour of Dallas ­­– it is historic, after all, and even if our bus had just driven pass the former Texas School Book Depository from where Lee Harvey Oswald supposedly shot President John F Kennedy, that would have been something to remember, instead of just seeing the inside of outlet malls ­­– all the organisers wanted to do was shop.

History aside, here's my slightly adapted version of Texas Morning Glory's Sunday Morning Cinnamon Rolls, from the The Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast situated outside Waco in Central Texas. The original recipes calls for ⅔ cups milk, which was too much for my dough, and the original filling did not contain nuts, which I think is a sad omission.

And now I have to mention Morocco again...

Among the food items I brought back from my trip, which I have gushed about in many earlier posts, were salted almonds* and some very aromatic cinnamon powder, and I used both in this roll. Normally, unsalted nuts are used but after trying the recipe with the salted variety, they are what I am going to use from now. They're such a good flavour enhancer.

These rolls are good and I wouldn't keep them just for Sunday mornings ­­– they're for every day. Which explains my developing double chin.

Buns on the balcony
Makes 10-12 

3 cups all-purpose flour
3½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk, plus extra just in case
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup melted butter, cooled
  • In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup milk, eggs and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients. If too dry, add a little more milk. Roll into 1.5cm-thick rectangle, about 17cm x 22cm. 
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup salted almonds*, chopped
  • Spread melted butter over dough. Mix the remaining filling ingredients together and sprinkle on top of the butter. Roll up tightly like a Swiss roll starting from the long edge. Seal edge. Cut into 2cm-thick slices. Places slices, cut side up, in a large greased baking sheet so the sides are NOT touching. Bake at 190°C for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack and drizzle with frosting with a fork or your fingers. 
* I use salted almonds for the reason I wrote about above. That's my tip for this recipe. If you don't want to use salted nuts, toast unsalted nuts before chopping to add flavour.
    Frosting (optional)
    1½ cups icing sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Combine icing sugar and vanilla extract, then stir in enough milk so frosting is smooth and thick, but with a fluid consistency.

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