Today’s delicious dish – Honey Wheat Crescent Rolls
I’ve written elsewhere in this blog about my great love for homemade breads (see Potato and Herb Rolls). Here is a recipe for a fancier dinner roll with subtle flavor. Any time I serve these rolls to company, in addition to raves about the nice slightly-sweet and wheaty flavor, there is conversation about how I shaped the crescent rolls.
There’s really nothing so difficult about making a crescent roll – if you put geometry to work for you. I’ll admit that it is pretty hard to roll a ball of dough out into a triangle. Instead, I roll enough for 8 servings into a circle and then cut through the center point to make 8 triangles with slightly curved bottoms. Each triangle is rolled up, starting with the curved bottom and moving toward the tip. Finally, each roll gets a little bend. If it is important to make the rolls exactly the same size, a ruler could be used to identify the exact center of the circle and a protractor could be used to make the angle at the tip exactly 45 degrees (360 degrees divided by 8). It’s like cutting a pizza into perfectly equal slices. My family never minds if the rolls are slightly different sizes, so I have not resorted to protractors in the kitchen!
This recipe makes a big hunk of dough – about 4 pounds! I have a 25-year-old KitchenAid Heavy Duty stand mixer with a 5 quart mixing bowl, and the amount of dough in this recipe is about the limit of what my mixer can handle. If you have a smaller-capacity mixer, you will want to make a half recipe. This recipe can be made by hand – at the stage where the dough hook comes into play, you would dump the mixture onto a heavily-floured countertop and start kneading in the flour manually. That would be quite the workout.
If you don’t want to use honey in this recipe, you can substitute granulated white sugar or brown sugar. I like using honey because of its hygroscopic (attracting moisture) properties, which seems to keep the rolls from drying out. If you don’t want to use whole wheat flour, you can substitute the same amount of all-purpose flour. And if you prefer it, feel free to use whole milk or fat-free milk.
After the dough rises, it is divided into 4 chunks – each is about 1 pound. Each pound of dough is enough to make 8 medium-sized crescent rolls or 8 medium-sized sticky buns. Any dough you are not using now should be put in a zip top bag or wrapped up tightly. It can hang out in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days, or it can be frozen.
Honey Wheat Crescent Rolls
- 3 packages (about 3 Tablespoons) yeast
- 1 cup warm (not hot) water
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
Turn on oven to 200 degrees. When it gets up to that temperature, turn it off.
While oven heats up, mix together yeast and warm water and let stand for 10 minutes.
Place milk, butter, honey, and salt a microwave-safe container. Cover and microwave 2 minutes. Stir mixture and then let it stand, covered, until ready to use. Whisk together until completely combined and pour into mixing bowl.
In mixing bowl, beat together yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs, and whole wheat flour until completely combined. Scrape down bowl. Beat in 2 cups all-purpose flour and scrape down bowl again.
If using a mixer, switch to dough hook. Add 4 more cups of all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup or less at a time, kneading well after each to make a smooth dough – it may be a bit sticky. Turn dough onto a floured surface, flour the dough lightly, then knead a few times and form into a large ball. You will have about 4 pounds of dough.
Use olive oil to grease a large oven-safe bowl. Place dough in bowl, then turn dough over so the entire ball is lightly oiled. Cover with waxed paper and then cover waxed paper with a heavy dish towel and put the bowl in the (turned off) oven. Allow to rise for about 1 hour (the dough should double in volume).
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times. Divide into 4 equal pieces, each about 1 pound of dough. Put two of the pieces of dough into two quart-sized zip top bags and put in refrigerator or freezer, to use on another day or in another recipe.
Roll one piece of dough into a 12” diameter circle. Cut it into 8 equal wedges. To shape each crescent roll, start at the edge opposite the point and roll up. Place on a large parchment-lined baking sheet with point on the bottom side and the roll slightly curved. Repeat this process with other piece of dough. You will have a total of 16 rolls.
Allow rolls to rise in (turned off) oven for 30 minutes. Then turn on oven to 400 degrees and bake rolls for 15 minutes, until nicely browned.
Makes 16 rolls, plus enough dough to make 16 more, or to make 16 Honey Wheat Sticky Buns.
Nutritional information (per crescent roll): 161 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams sugars, 2 grams fiber, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 104 milligrams sodium
Cost per roll: 20 cents
Preparation time: 3 hours
What happens next?
These rolls will keep for five days – just put them in a plastic bag or wrap them up. To reheat, wrap in a paper towel or napkin, and microwave for 20 seconds. They will taste fresh and delicious! These rolls also can be frozen. If you freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then put in a zip top bag, you will be able to use a few at a time – they won’t stick together if frozen individually.
Although there’s probably nothing better than a fresh-tasting homemade roll with butter, these rolls also can be used to make some great sandwiches. One of my favorite things to put on a crescent roll sandwich is chicken salad. Split the rolls and give them a quick toasting under the broiler – then they are ready for whatever you want to put on them.
If you made the whole Honey Wheat Crescent Rolls recipe, you have two 1 pound chunks of dough waiting in the refrigerator or freezer, and you can easily make more rolls. If frozen, the dough needs to be thawed. I usually thaw it in the refrigerator by moving a bag of dough from the freezer the night before I plan to make more rolls. To make rolls, let the dough come to room temperature by setting it out for an hour or so. Then roll it into a circle, cut it, shape the rolls, let them rise, and bake them. You’ll have homemade dinner rolls quicker than you might think.
You can also use a pound of dough to make wonderful homemade sticky buns, which might give you hero status among your family and friends.
Another day’s delicious dish – Honey Wheat Sticky Buns
When you start with pre-made dough, it is an easy process to make sticky buns. These sticky buns are very like a cinnamon roll, and apparently there is a bit of controversy about what is the difference between the two. I call these sticky buns because there is a delightfully sticky gooey layer on the bottom of the pan, which gets scooped up with each bun as it is served. They also have a light vanilla glaze, which is reminiscent of the traditional cinnamon roll frosting.
There’s really nothing to it – mix melted butter with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of flour. Spread this yummy paste on a rectangle of dough, then roll it up and slice into rolls. Let them rise, then bake them. Give them a light glaze and they are ready to eat.
If you like nuts, you can add 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts to the filling. If you like bigger buns, cut the cylinder into 6, or even 4 rolls. If you want to have 4 very big sticky buns, you may want to place the sliced dough in a smaller pan with high sides – maybe two loaf pans would do the trick.
If you haven’t saved a pound of Honey Wheat Crescent Roll dough, you can still make this recipe. Use 1 pound of any prepared yeast dough (as long as it is not flavored with garlic or any other savory ingredient). I’d suggest a plain white or wheat roll dough if you can’t find any sweet dough.
Honey Wheat Sticky Buns
Sticky Buns ingredients:
- 1 pound (1/4 of recipe) Honey Wheat Crescent Roll dough
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon butter, softened
Vanilla Glaze ingredients:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon 2% milk
If dough has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature by sitting out for at least an hour.
Turn on oven to 200 degrees. When it gets up to that temperature, turn it off.
While oven heats, roll or press dough into a 12” x 9” rectangle.
Combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Spread mixture evenly over dough, pressing it down into the dough.
Roll up rectangle tightly into a 12” long cylinder. Seal up cylinder by pinching and pressing long edge and ends. Slice cylinder into 8 equal pieces (each about 1 1/2” thick).
Use 1 teaspoon soft butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9” round cake pan. Arrange buns, cut side up, in pan, with 2 buns in the middle.
Cover with waxed paper and put in (turned off) oven to rise for 45 minutes.
Remove waxed paper and turn oven on to 400 degrees. Bake for 18 minutes.
Remove from oven, and put pan of rolls (still in pan) on a cooling rack.
Mix powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla extract, and milk to make a glaze. Spread glaze evenly over rolls in pan.
Makes 8 sticky buns
Nutritional information (per sticky bun): 286 calories, 8.5 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 4 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrate, 24 grams sugars, 1 gram fiber, 33 milligrams cholesterol, 144 milligrams sodium
Cost per roll: 40 cents
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours