Cranberry-Orange Crescent Rolls

Buttery and rich, these Cranberry-Orange Crescent Rolls are studded with dried sweetened cranberries, orange zest, and a touch of vanilla and baked to golden perfection. Whether you serve them alongside something sweet or savory, this recipe makes a batch big enough to share all the holiday cheer.

Cranberry-Orange Crescent Rolls
Makes 24 Rolls
  • 4¼ to 4½ cups (531 to 562 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 (0.25-ounce) packages (14 grams) instant yeast*
  • 3½ teaspoons (10.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (63 grams) clover honey, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (5 grams) tightly packed orange zest
  • ¾ cup (112 grams) lightly packed dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
  • 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams), room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together 1 cup (125 grams) fl our, yeast, and salt by hand.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk, butter, ¼ cup (60 grams) water, sugar, 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey, and orange zest over medium-low heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium-low speed just until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add cranberries, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla; beat at low speed until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 3¼ cups (406 grams) flour, beating until combined.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky, and elastic dough forms, 6 to 9 minutes; add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) fl our, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. (Dough may still stick to sides and bottom of bowl but should pass the windowpane test; see Notes.) Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a ball.
  4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Punch down dough; cover and let stand for 10 minutes or refrigerate overnight. (If refrigerating overnight, punch down dough an additional 1 to 2 times during first hour of refrigeration.) On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half (about 580 grams each). Gently shape each half into a round; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Roll half of dough into a 14-inch circle. (Keep remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out.) Using a pastry wheel, cut dough into 12 equal triangles. Place dough triangles with smoothest side down; starting from the base of each triangle, roll up dough, pressing pointed ends into rolls to seal. Place rolls, pointed end securely tucked under, 1½ to 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Repeat procedure with remaining half of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 35 to 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  8. Reserve 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted butter. Brush rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted butter.
  9. Bake, one batch at a time, until golden brown, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together reserved 2 tablespoons (28 grams) butter and remaining 1 tablespoon (21 grams) honey. Brush rolls with honey butter. Let cool on pans for at least 30 minutes before serving. Best enjoyed same day but can be stored in a somewhat airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
*We used Platinum® Yeast from Red Star®.

Note: To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.

Be sure the pointed ends are significantly and securely tucked under your crescent rolls before the second rise and bake for best shape!



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