Buttery Crescents with/without Fresh Herbs
These rolls come together quickly and turn out a soft, dense dough. While these rolls are usually foolproof, I have had a few mishaps (they still tasted good, but they weren’t quite as presentable). On the second rising, the rolls should only go for 30 minutes—no more or the rolls get too airy. You should bake these until they’re just golden brown. The bottoms can burn if you let them go too long.
Prep time: 45 minutes + 1.5 hours rising/baking
Yield: 16 rolls
½ cup milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 package yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons)
½ cup warm water
31/2-4 cups flour
Fresh basil or parsley (optional)
- Place the warm water in a measuring cup and whisk in the yeast. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes and check that some bubbles appear on the surface (meaning the yeast is active).
- Over medium-high heat, bring the milk to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan. As soon as bubbles appear, move the pan off of the heat and add the butter, salt, and sugar. Whisk until smooth and melted in. Cool to room temperature.
- Add the yeast mixture to the buttered milk in a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer to combine the ingredients, add the flour in 1 cup increments. The dough should start holding together after 3 cups. Stir in ½ to 1 cup more until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl.
- Sprinkle flour on a cutting board and place the dough ball onto the board. With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes a smooth ball.
- Clean out the mixing bowl using warm water, then coat with cooking spray. Place the dough into the bowl and cover loosely with a lightly dampened cloth.
- Place in a warm place for 1 hour to rise. The dough won’t rise significantly.
- Divide the dough in two.
- On a floured work surface, knead one dough ball until smooth. Roll out to a 8 to 9-inch circle.
- Using a pizza cutter, slash into 8 equal pieces as you would a pizza.
- Place a washed and dried basil or parsley leaf on each slice.
- Starting from the long end, roll the dough towards the small end. Tuck the sides toward the middle to form the crescent shape.
- Place the formed dough onto a baking pan lightly coated with spray. Cover the roll with the slightly moist kitchen cloth.
- Repeat the process with the remaining dough slices and then with the other dough ball.
- Let the formed dough rise again for 30 minutes. DO NOT allow the dough to go over that time.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the pan in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until just browned. You can also whisk an egg, add 1 teaspoon water, and then coat each roll with the glaze before baking to give each roll a shiny appearance.
- You can make these ahead—but doubling the recipe, that’s a no-go. I just make one batch and then another if I need extras. To make these rolls ahead of time bake them until they’re just firm and then let them cool on the pan (you can then freeze them and put them right on the pan when you’re ready for the final baking). Once you’re ready to reheat them, preheat the oven and then brush them with melted butter (for a richer flavor) or with an egg that has been whisked with a teaspoon of water (for a shiny roll).