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Orange rolls brighten winter mornings

Turn a few oranges into a yummy breakfast roll. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)

Recipe: No-yeast dough produces a light citrusy treat

Rainy or foggy or just overcast, January is usually bleak. Thank goodness for citrus, which brightens up our gardens and our kitchens.

I love to use my navel oranges in baking this time of year, and I'm always on the lookout for different recipes for breakfast treats. This recipe for orange rolls was contributed to by Posie Harwood Brien, who says her mother would make it for special-occasion weekend breakfasts.

Making the rolls is not as fast as making muffins or pancakes, so I see why Posie's mom saved it for certain weekends. But the rolls come together pretty quickly, since the ingredient list is short and there's no yeast involved. The dough is like a sweet biscuit, and the orange filling is not tricky. If you've made scones, this will be an easy next step.

And now that I've made this, I'm thinking of other citrus to try with the dough. The orange is straightforward, but combinations could boost the sweet-tart factor. (Notice I added a bit of lime juice to the orange juice, and could have gone with more.) Lemon-lime next, or maybe blood orange-grapefruit? A bit of zest or a spice in the dough also might be fun. Citrus season has several months left, so there's time.
Just a few ingredients go into the orange filling.

Orange breakfast rolls
Adapted from
Makes 12-15


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (or more) orange zest, from 2 large oranges
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (plus a squirt of lime juice if you have any, optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks and chilled
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold milk, dairy or nondairy

Instructions :

To make the filling, melt the 6 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. As soon as it is melted, whisk in the 3 tablespoons flour, blending until smooth. Then stir in the orange zest and the juice, cooking until the mixture thickens, 1 or 2 minutes.

Remove the filling from the heat and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. The filling will become more translucent, like lemon curd. Set it aside to cool.

If you haven't already done so, pop the 3 tablespoons of butter, in chunks, into the freezer to chill for a bit.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 9-by-9-inch baking pan or 12-cup muffin tin by thoroughly greasing it. (A muffin tin will give you rolls with crispier edges, while the baking pan will produce softer edges on the rolls.)

Don't worry if the rolls don't quite fill the pan -- they will puff
up during baking.
To make the dough, measure the flour into a large bowl, and whisk in the baking powder and the salt. Cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives, until there are only pea-sized lumps.

Stir the milk into the flour-butter mixture with a fork just until the dough begins to come together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured cloth or countertop and knead it gently until the dough is smooth. (Some chunks of butter will be visible, but that's normal.)

Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 15 inches by 10 inches and about 1/4-inch thick. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling, and spread the rest on the rectangle, leaving a narrow strip of uncovered dough on all four sides.

Starting on one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam closed to keep filling from spilling out. Using a serrated knife or piece of unflavored dental floss, cut the log into even slices, 12 for the muffin tin or up to 15 for the baking pan (I wound up with 14).

Place each slice gently into the prepared pan. Bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are consistently golden brown.

Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge to prevent sticking. Let cool a few minutes, then drizzle with the reserved filling and serve.

Reserved filling is used as a glaze on the rolls.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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