The Mailbox: Recipe requests from readers

A Coronado salad dressing memory

There was a restaurant in Coronado that was called the Mexican Village. It has been closed for a number of years now. They served the best salad dressing. It was their own creation and I’m pretty sure it had garlic and Romano or blue cheese in it.

I have tried to re-create it with not much luck. My family used to bring it back to the Bay Area by the case. Does anyone know the recipe for Mexican Village salad dressing?

Charles Rhodes, El Dorado Hills

Needed: Desserts that are less sweet

Does anyone have dessert/baked good recipes using the sweetener Stevia as a sugar substitute? My husband and I are trying to limit our sugar intake. Thank you.

Marcie Bombola, Rocklin



If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email or fax (916) 321-1109. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

Sam Brannan cafeteria cinnamon rolls

Prep time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes about 50 rolls

Joan Olsen of Elk Grove attended Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, graduating in 1969. Olsen says that the cafeteria served the best cinnamon rolls. They were not browned or crunchy, but soft, light and fluffy; one filled you up for the whole day. She was hoping for the recipe so she could make these rolls for her family.

From time to time, we hear from former high school students who have fond memories of the cinnamon rolls served in their high school cafeterias.

A few years ago, Ivy Kichor of Citrus Heights was looking for the cinnamon roll recipe prepared by Mabel at Highland High School in the 1960 and early ’70s. Judy Ford Bravo of Fair Oaks responded to Kichor’s request by sharing her story. Bravo began her 34-year teaching career at Highland High in September 1966. She began her day, like everyone else there, with one of the warm, scrumptious cinnamon rolls dispensed by Mabel Stickel from the snack bar for 15 cents. Mabel baked 400 rolls every morning. Bravo noted that one could never duplicate Mabel’s rolls (even though she shared the recipe with those who asked) because she added a part of herself to every pan she baked. Mabel was loved by everyone at the school. When she retired, she was honored by being chosen Highlands Homecoming Queen for that year.

Mary Goodin of Port Angeles, Wash., shared this recipe that was in The Bee many years ago. It’s thought that the same recipe was used by all of the schools in the district, so this may be the one Mabel used at Highlands High and may be a match for Olsen.


1/3 cup active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)

10 3/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour

1 1/3 cups instant nonfat dry milk

3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons salt

3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2cups water (68 degrees)

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups raisins


For best results, have all ingredients and utensils at room temperature. Dissolve dry yeast in warm water. Let stand for 4 to 5 minutes. Place flour, dry milk, sugar and salt in mixer bowl. Using a dough hook, blend on low speed for approximately 2 minutes. Add oil and blend on low speed for approximately 2 minutes. Add 2 ½ cups water. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add dissolved yeast and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.

Knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in warm area (about 90 degrees) for 45 to 60 minutes. Place dough on lightly floured surface.

Divide into 2 balls. Combine cinnamon and sugar. Mix well. Set aside. Roll each ball of dough into a rectangle 25 inches by 10 inches, ¼-inch thick. Lightly brush each rectangle with the 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle ½ cup cinnamon-sugar mixture over each rectangle. Sprinkle 1 cup raisins over cinnamon-sugar mixture on each rectangle. Roll each rectangle on the long side to form a long, slender roll. Cut each roll into 25 uniform pieces, 1-inch thick.

Place on lightly oiled sheet pan (18 inches by 26 inches by 1 inch) in rows of 10 down and 5 across. Place in a warm area (about 90 degrees) until doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Per roll: 211 cal.; 5 g pro.; 8 g carb.; 5 g fat (1 sat., 1 monounsat., 3 polyunsat.); 0 mg chol.; 293 mg sod.; 2 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 19 percent calories from fat.