Kill two birds with one stone by making crescent rolls and cinnamon rolls from one dough. Plus they are the best soft and buttery rolls you’ll ever have! You’ll be making them for every holiday!
Besides the amazing texture and taste, the best part about this recipe is that you get two types of rolls from it– Crescent Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls.
These rolls make up a large part of my diet as a child and teenager. My mom made these for pretty much every holiday– Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, and for other events like church parties, having people over for dinner, field hockey game treats (probably not the best choice for a post workout), to share with our class at school…
One of my older sisters once brought these cinnamon rolls to her physics class in high school (not sure why) but then when I happened to have the same physics teacher 6 years later he remembered the cinnamon rolls and asked me to make them for the class because he wanted some. Of course I said yes because I needed all the help in physics I could get! I love science, especially biology, but physics was just not my thing.
And here we come to the best park of a cinnamon roll– the center. When I was little I didn’t like this part and would let my brother eat it. Maybe I thought it was too gooey or something. Crazy! I covet all my cinnamon roll centers now days.
The crescent rolls are just as good as the cinnamon rolls, especially hot out of the oven and served with soft butter and homemade jam. I remember having guests over for dinner and my mom always had a batch of rolls ready for when we began dinner and then another one cooking while we ate so that those who wanted seconds (thirds, fourths…) could have another hot fresh roll rather than one that had cooled 10 minutes. haha! My mom is an awesome host. Many guests (particularly the guys) could pack down 4-5 rolls each! Good thing this recipe makes a lot!
Okay, so you’ve got a few options for making these rolls.
Option 1: Make just crescent rolls. This will yield 4 dozen (48) crescent rolls.
Option 2: Make just cinnamon rolls. This will yield 2 dozen (24) cinnamon rolls.
Option 3: Make crescent AND cinnamon rolls. This will yield 24 crescent rolls and 12 cinnamon rolls.
I almost always choose option 3, especially for holidays. After letting the dough rise the first time you can refrigerate it up to 4 days. What I like to do is begin making the dough in the early afternoon and roll out half the dough into crescent rolls to have with dinner. I then put the other half of the dough back in the fridge to roll out into cinnamon rolls in the morning for breakfast. This is a perfect set up for Christmas because you can have the crescent rolls for Christmas Eve and then Christmas morning you just roll out the dough and let the cinnamon rolls rise while you open presents and then enjoy fresh homemade cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven. It’s like opening one last present!
For “one day” holidays like Easter and Thanksgiving I make the dough the night before and put it all in the fridge and then in the morning I roll out half the dough into cinnamon rolls and bake them for brunch and continue to refrigerate the rest of the dough and then 2 hours before our holiday feast I roll out the remaining dough into crescent rolls.
When storing these rolls you can put them in a Tupperware or plastic bags but just leave it open a crack for them to vent or else they will sweat. Oh and put them high up or else your kids/babies will get to them while you’re in the shower and leave a trail of bread crumbs all over the house. Yeah, I know from recent experience.
1 Dough= Crescent Rolls & Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough:
- 2 packages dry yeast
- 2 cups warm water, 110-115 degrees F
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 cup + 6 tablespoons butter, melted but no hotter than 115 degrees F (divided)
- 6 beaten eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
For the the Cinnamon Roll Filling (For a whole batch):
- ~1/2 cup sugar
- ~4 teaspoons cinnamon
For the Glaze (For a whole batch):
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons sugar and the water and let it begin to foam. Add 1 cup melted butter (but no hotter than 115). Whisk in the remaining 1 cup sugar and beaten eggs. Add 4 cups of flour and the salt and mix well. Switch to using a wooden spoon and add 4 1/2 cups flour stirring until completely mixed (dough will still be a little sticky). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Once mixed, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let it rise until double in bulk (about 2 hours). Punch the dough down and proceed to the next step to roll it out or cover it and place it in the fridge to use later (good for up to 4 days in the fridge).
Rolling the Crescent Dinner Rolls:
- Grease 4 large baking sheets and melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a dish and set aside.
- Use the 1/2 cup remaining flour to roll the dough out. Dust the work surface with flour. Divide dough into fourths. Place one fourth of dough at a time on the floured surface and dust the dough enough so dough doesn't stick to rolling pin. Roll each fourth into a circle to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick (make sure you still have enough flour underneath as you are rolling it out). Brush the surface with some of the melted butter and cut it like a pie into 12 equal pieces (I like to use a pizza cutter). Roll up each piece starting with the wide end and rolling to the point. Place on a greased cookie sheet with the point face down on the pan. Cover with a thin towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise (about 2 hours).
Rolling the Cinnamon Rolls:
- Grease 2 large baking sheets and melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a dish and set aside.
- Use the 1/2 cup remaining flour to roll the dough out. Dust the work surface with flour. Divide the dough in half. Place one half on the floured surface and dust the dough enough so dough doesn't stick to rolling pin. Roll each half into a rectangle 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick (make sure you still have enough flour underneath as you are rolling it out). Brush the surface with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar and then cinnamon. (I use about 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon for each half of dough.) Roll the dough long end to long end. With the seam side down, cut the dough using a double piece of colored thread. (I like to make marks on the top of the dough by gently pressing with the string to make sure they are all the same size and I get 12.) Place the thread under the dough, bringing both ends to the top and cross the threads. Pull the thread through the dough to cut.
- Place on a greased cookie sheet (12 per sheet) and allow to rise for 2 hours.
To make BOTH type of rolls:
- Grease 3 large baking sheets and melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a dish and set aside.
- Divide dough in half. Use one half to make the cinnamon rolls (12 cinnamon rolls) and then divide the remaining dough in half again to roll out two circles for the crescent rolls (24 crescent rolls).
Baking the Dinner Rolls and Cinnamon rolls:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes until lightly browned. (If you oven doesn't heat evenly you might want to gently rotate the pan halfway through.)
- Brush the crescent rolls with melted butter after they come out. Glaze the cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
For the Glaze:
- Heat cream and butter together in the microwave until butter is melted. Add vanilla and beat in sugar until desired consistency. Pour over the warm rolls and then serve.
Recipe Source: Anita Bankhead