Why this recipe works Most recipes for buttery, flaky crescent rolls require laborious repeated rolling and folding to layer softened butter into the dough. At the same time, we wouldn’t think of settling for the artificial-tasting, dry canned versions from the supermarket. After dozens of tests, we found a way to avoid either extreme: You can make rolls that are only a modicum less flaky and just as tender as labor-intensive versions by simply kneading all the ingredients together. We determined that a precise 7 tablespoons of melted butter in the dough delivered great flavor without making the dough too sticky to work with. To enhance the richness of our rolls, without weighing them down, we used half-and-half instead of milk, resulting in extra-tender rolls with big buttery taste.
- makes 12 rolls
- rising time 2 to 3 hours
- baking time 20 minutes
- total time 3¼ to 4¼ hours, plus 15 minutes cooling time
- key equipment rimmed baking sheet, rolling pin, pastry brush
- 2½ cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (4 ounces) half-and-half, room temperature
- 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup (1¾ ounces) sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk, room temperature
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt
1). Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk half-and-half, 7 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, and egg and yolk in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved.
2). Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add half-and-half mixture to flour mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium- low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, about 8 minutes.
3). Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
4). Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Press down on dough to deflate, then transfer to lightly floured counter. Press and roll dough into 12-inch round.
5). Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter and cut into 12 wedges.
6). Starting at wide end, gently roll up each dough wedge, ending with pointed tip on bottom. Push ends toward each other to form crescent shape.
7). Arrange rolls on prepared sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart, with tip of dough underneath each roll. Cover loosely with greased plastic and let rise until nearly doubled in size and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 1 to 1½ hours. (Unrisen rolls can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let rolls sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)
8). Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Gently brush rolls with egg mixture and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Transfer rolls to wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
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