Farm to Table: The Regal Roll
● By Kayla Butts
By: Justin & Kayla Butts Photos by: Rachel Benavides
Christmas morning, one thing is different in our house than every other day of
the year: our little ones wake up first.
We hardly hear their running footsteps before they jump on top of us in the bed to tell us about the presents beneath the tree and the signs that Santa Claus found their cookies and milk.
We start opening the presents right away. The wrapping paper flies. One grandmother arrives, then the other, then Grandpa, each with more presents. Next the cousins arrive, then Nan, then aunts and uncles, friends of family, and friends of friends.
Wrapping paper is piling up in all directions. Our Christmas tree flashes and glitters with homemade ornaments. Old-fashioned carols play on 90.3FM. Children race in shouting packs from one room to the next to try out their new toys. Someone let the dogs in and they have wrecked half the living room before we swat them out. Our home is filled with laughter, joy, and a raucous Christmas spirit.
But there is one major problem with all of this. Mom and Dad (that’s us) have not had their coffee yet! We have not had a second to make breakfast and it is still a long time till lunch. This houseful of people, starting with our sweet babes, will spiral out of control if we don’t serve some good food soon to fuel their Christmas morning.
That is where the Swedish Tea Ring comes into play. This regal cousin of the cinnamon roll is the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.
First, it is simply beautiful. The colorful ring shows all the goodness inside oozing out with icing over the top like an exquisite frost. The children gently tear apart their own pieces. Of all things in the house on Christmas morning, the tea ring gets the most respect!
This dish is not what we might call health food, but it is much healthier than your standard issue cinnamon rolls. The bread is dense and delicious. The filling of dried fruit and nuts gives a great energy boost. The cardamom and cinnamon create a wonderful, unique flavor. The natural sweetness makes this dish work.
Best of all, you can prepare the Swedish Tea Ring the day before and simply set it out for breakfast—instant goodness on the table and ready to go.
The Swedish Tea Ring completes the picture of joy on Christmas morning. A hungry family can quickly become an angry family. But this dish will keep them happy and well until lunch.
Now, where is our coffee? Merry Christmas to all!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Inactive prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tbsp active dry yeast
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
¾ cup golden raisins, or mixed dry fruit
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
Combine milk, sugar, and butter over medium-low heat and cook until butter is melted. Let cool to lukewarm (around 100°F) and add yeast. Set mixture aside and let it ferment until foamy bubbles form. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add milk mixture and egg to dry ingredients and knead (for about 5 minutes) until a smooth dough forms. Cover with a tea towel until dough doubles in size (about 1-1.5 hours).
Heat butter in a small pan over low heat until melted. Meanwhile, combine sugars, cinnamon, and cardamom in a bowl. Add melted butter to sugar mixture and mix until a paste is formed.
On a floured surface, roll dough out to an oblong rectangle (about 6”x 16”) about ½“ in thickness. With a spatula, spread a thin, even layer of sugar-cinnamon filling to cover the dough’s surface. Sprinkle dried fruits and nuts evenly across the dough’s surface. Starting with a long end, roll the dough inward, forming a Swiss roll. Bring the ends of the roll together, and pinch all of the seams together to seal them. Using a sharp knife, cut the ring ¾ of the way through, leaving the center of the ring intact. Repeat this cut, every 1 ½” with the remainder of the ring. Rotate each piece of dough until the cut portion faces upward. Cover the ring with a clean, dry cloth and let proof.
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for icing. Bake ring for 25 minutes, until dough is golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped. Let cool on a cooling rack and drizzle with prepared icing prior to serving.