A Texas-Style Christmas Morning

Chef Sarah Penrod Shares Some Breakfast Favorites from Her Bestselling Urban Cowgirl Cookbook

Article by Stephanie Hasbrouck

Photography by Tracey Liggett and Leann Squier

Originally published in Cross Timbers Lifestyle

Pumpkin Soufflé Pancakes with Hot Cinnamon Syrup

Yield: 8 to 10 pancakes


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 3/4 cups milk

4 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Extra butter or coconut oil for frying the pancakes


In one bowl, combine milk, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, melted butter and the yolks of the 4 eggs. Reserve the whites and set aside. Whisk well.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, spices and baking powder. Whisk well.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is well mixed. Reserve.

Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Gradually fold the egg whites into the pancake batter. Do not over-mix.

Heat a sauté pan or cast-iron skillet to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter or coconut oil to the pan and pour in the batter. Cook each pancake about 2 minutes on each side, watching for the edges to turn golden brown and the wet batter on the top to thicken and bubble. Serve pancakes drizzled with cinnamon syrup and dotted with butter.

Hot Cinnamon Syrup

1 1/2 cups maple syrup

1/4 cup water

2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon


In a small saucepan, pour in the maple syrup followed by the water. Add in the cinnamon and whisk well. Turn on the heat and bring just to a boil. Turn off the heat, stir and allow the syrup to infuse with the cinnamon.

Mexican Chocolate Latte with Coconut Cream and Coffee Shop Caramel Sauce

Yield: 1 latte



2 tablespoons espresso coffee made into about 3/4 cup espresso via machine or French press coffee maker

2 triangles Abuelita Mexican Chocolate (2 ounces)

Cinnamon for sprinkling


Finely chop Abuelita Mexican Chocolate and place in the bottom of a coffee cup. Pour 3/4 cup hot French press coffee or freshly drawn espresso over the crushed chocolate. Stir well until the chocolate is completely melted into the coffee.

Top the coffee with 2 heaping spoonfuls of coconut cream, caramel sauce and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Coconut Cream:

1 13 1/2-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1 1/2 teaspoons coconut sugar (or regular sugar)


Skim the coconut cream off the top of the chilled can of coconut milk. The coconut cream will have separated from the coconut water and will be floating on top. Scoop only the cream into the bowl, avoiding the water as much as possible.

Beat the coconut cream with electric beaters for about 1 minute, just until it resembles thin whipped cream. Sprinkle in the coconut sugar and continue beating until thickened. It is done when it looks like fluffy whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed.

Coffee Shop Caramel Sauce:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter

Pinch salt

Vanilla bean* or vanilla extract


In a saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5–6 minutes.  

Remove sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble madly. Stir in the unsalted butter, vanilla and salt. Transfer the caramel to a squeeze bottle when cool.  

*To use a whole vanilla bean, split bean with a sharp knife and scrape out the black fragrant contents and add them to the caramel.

Jalapeño Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

Yield: 12 rolls

Sweet Dough:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño peppers from a jar, diced
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the dough, set up standing mixer with the dough hook or prepare bread machine to knead dough. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk and 1/2 cup butter. Microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted into the milk. Pour the mixture into the bowl of the bread maker or standing mixer and allow it to cool while you gather and measure the dry ingredients.

When the milk and butter mixture is just warm to the touch, add the instant yeast, sugar, egg, salt and 1/4 cup jalapeños. Turn the machine on to begin to mix the wet ingredients. A cup at a time, add in the flour until it forms a solid ball of dough and pulls away from the bowl. (If using a bread machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

When dough is formed, detach it from the dough hook and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and place in a warm location to rise. Allow the dough to double in size, about 4–6 hours or longer in cool weather.

When the dough has doubled in size, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 14 by 24 inches.

For the filling, spread the 1/3 cup softened butter over the surface of the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Peel up the edge of the dough closest to you and roll it jellyroll-style into a log. Cut into 12 rolls.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with butter or coconut oil and place the rolls inside. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. When the rolls have doubled in size, remove the cover and bake for 20–25 minutes. While they are baking, prepare the brown butter icing.

In a saucepan, melt the stick of butter and cook on low heat until the milk solids foam, turn dark and fall to the bottom (they will look like little specks). The scent of the butter will turn nutty, and the butter will begin to turn golden brown. The entire process takes 3–4 minutes. Transfer the butter to a bowl and either whisk in the other icing ingredients or beat them in using electric beaters for a fluffier consistency. Finish with 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Spread icing on cinnamon rolls.

Sarah Penrod is a seventh-generation Texan, private chef and author of the bestselling cookbook Urban Cowgirl: Decadently Southern, Outrageously Texan, Food, Family Traditions, and Style for Modern Life. Sarah competed on the 10th season of the popular television show Food Network Star. Follow her at and  

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