I recently served these crescent rolls at a special birthday party. Each person had on their salad plate a crescent roll and a salad inside an edible salad bowl.
Crescent rolls are, all at once, elegant and cozily homey. They look difficult to make, but are actually pretty easy to do. If you want to make them ahead of time, they freeze beautifully.
Crescent rolls are usually made with butter, but I keep my rolls dairy-free by using oil. You can use a neutral tasting oil (like safflower oil) or an extra-virgin olive oil.
Crescent Rolls (dairy free)
11/2 cups warm water (12 oz.)
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup oil (2 oz.), plus more for coating dough
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 cups flour (20.25 oz.)
In a mixing bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve and let stand 5 minutes. Add the oil, salt and 4 1/4 cups (about 19 oz.) of flour. Mix to make a soft dough (don’t worry if the dough is a bit sticky). Let dough rise in a warm spot, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until doubled.
Use some of remaining 1/4 cup flour to dust your work surface. Put the dough onto work surface and coat with flour to make the dough less sticky. Cut the dough in half and shape two balls. Let the dough rest 10 minutes for easier shaping.
On a greased work surface, roll out each ball of dough into a 14″ circle (I press out the dough by hand, but you could use a rolling pin). Brush surface of each circle with oil (or spray with cooking spray). With pizza wheel or knife, cut each circle into 12 equal wedges. The easiest way to do this is to cut each circle into 4 equal pieces (quadrants), and then cut each quadrant into three equal wedges.
Starting at the wide, curved edge, roll up each wedge rugelach fashion. You will get nicer looking rolls if you stretch out the wedge a bit to lengthen it before rolling it up.
Place the rolls, 2 inches apart, on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the rolls so that the point of the wedge is tucked underneath (this will help prevent the roll from unraveling a bit when it rises). Curve the rolls a bit to give them the crescent shape. Brush the rolls with more oil, or use cooking spray to lightly coat them.
Cover rolls and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake rolls 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden.
Makes 24 rolls