If your childhood was anything like mine you have fond memories of eating Pillsbury crescent rolls. You’ve likely watched someone experience, or you’ve experienced for yourself, the frustration of getting the tube open after not peeling the paper enough and then banging it on the counter to get it to pop open. Maybe your mom let you help roll them up and put them on the baking sheet. And then you got to enjoy their warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness with dinner. Pillsbury will always have a special place in my heart, but these homemade crescent rolls might be what my kids remember enjoying.
This recipe comes from my America’s Best Lost Recipes cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.
These were surprisingly simple to put together and bake. You do have to let them rise twice, once after making the dough and once after forming the rolls.
So you’re looking at a minimum of 2 1/2 hours from start to finish. If you want to serve them to your kids for dinner start them with enough time. I didn’t, so my kids ate them for dessert!
Be sure not to over bake these. They get a tad dry when cooked too long. Nothing that a little extra butter can’t cure, though! If you’re planning to make these and then reheat them for later (think make-ahead Thanksgiving bread) bake them until just slightly golden so you can reheat them without fear of them drying out.
You will probably need to make three sheets of rolls, 8 per sheet, unless you have large cookie sheets and a large oven. It’s perfectly fine to bake the first two sheets and bake the other right after the first ons come out. Just be sure to keep them covered.
These do rise during baking, so don’t place them too close together. Also, try to cook similar sized rolls on the same baking sheet. Unless you can roll a perfect circle of dough, some wedges will be bigger than others. They’ll take longer to bake, and the smaller ones will take less time. If you have different sized rolls on the same sheet some will be over baked while others will be under baked. I emphasize this point only because I had one sheet that had some quite small and some quite large rolls and I had this problem. Aren’t you glad you have someone to make mistakes for you?!
The only thing I might do differently would be to brush these with more melted butter right after baking. Because there isn’t much better than that.
From America’s Best Lost Recipe
Makes 24 rolls
- 1 stick plus 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1 cup warm milk (about 110°F)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour
- 1 package instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Melt 1 stick of butter and let cool slightly. Mix with warm milk, sugar and eggs.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a large bowl) mix 4 1/2 cups flour, salt and yeast.
- Add in the milk mixture and mix on low until dough comes together, then increase the speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes. If dough seems sticky add in a couple tablespoons of flour.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead a bit and shape into a ball. Place dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
- Melt the 1/2 stick of butter and set aside.
- Prepare baking sheets (you’ll need 2 large or 3 regular) by lining them with parchment.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 3 equal sized pieces. Working with one piece, roll into a 10-inch circle. Brush with butter, then use a pizza cutter to slice dough into 8 wedges.
- Take a sliced piece and roll, starting from the wide end, up to the pointed end and place pointed side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cover rolls with clean towels or plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 325°F and adjust racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until rolls are golden. Do not let them get too dark.
- Bake third sheet of rolls if necessary.
- Serve warm or let cool completely before packing up to serve later or freeze.