Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

A few weeks back, my Aunt Marilyn sent me a new roll recipe that uses cornmeal and milk as the base. Enter: major skepticism. But I trust my Aunt implicitly, so I gave them a go. Before I offer my verdict, let me explain that I don’t need a new roll recipe. I have several that I love and use all the time. I’d much rather spend my time looking for new double-chocolate-anything recipes than roll recipes.

But let me tell you, these cornmeal crescent rolls have skyrocketed to my new favorites. I feel slightly disloyal to my other faves, but the truth cannot be withheld. They are deliciously unreal.

If making them six times (yes, six!) in the last three weeks, including making 100 of them for a church function, is any indication, then yes, they are my new favorites.

Light, flaky and absolutely soft and tender, these rolls are decadent in their butteryness and while you can’t taste the cornmeal as a main, strong flavor, the subtle texture and lightness it provides is essential to the success of these beauties.

I can’t stop making them. I really can’t. Please, oh please, someone join me in my happy carb-induced nirvana.

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

One Year Ago: Schoolyard Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: The Best Blueberry Muffins
Three Years Ago: Solid Peanut Butter Cups

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

Yield: Makes 2 dozen rolls

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

Note: if you need/want to use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, change the amount of yeast to 2 tablespoons active dry and dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let the yeast mixture activate and foam (approximately 5 minutes) before adding it to the cornmeal mixture with the butter and 1/3 cup sugar.

Also, as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

Lastly, I often use half to 3/4 finely ground white whole wheat flour with good results - and sometimes I get crazy and use 100% whole wheat flour (always finely ground white wheat) but the bread is a bit more dense with 100% whole wheat flour. If using part or all whole wheat flour, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 ½ – 6 cups flour (see note)

Directions

  1. Heat the milk to just below a boil so bubbles are just appearing around the edges (this is called scalding milk). Add the cornmeal and cook and stir until thickened, lowering the temperature if needed so the mixture doesn’t boil (see picture below the recipe for an idea of what the consistency should be). Pour the cornmeal/milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast, butter and sugar (if you dissolved active dry yeast with a bit of water and sugar until it foamed, add it now). Mix. Add the salt and eggs. Mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 5-8 minutes.
  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl covered with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  3. Divide the dough into three portions and roll each into about an 8-10 inch circle. Brush the top lightly with butter. Cut into 8 wedges and roll each wedge up starting from the wide end so it forms a crescent roll shape. Place each roll on a lightly greased or silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart to allow for rising. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Brush with butter while still warm.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/buttery-cornmeal-crescent-rolls/

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my Aunt Marilyn who got the recipe from her friend, Anne K.

Here is a picture of what the consistency of the cornmeal/milk mixture should look like when it is done cooking and thickening.

133 Responses to Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m no baking expert but I have made these multiple times. I think for those who are having the problem of a clumpy cornmeal mixture, it’s because the cornmeal/milk mixture is too hot. I’ve had it happen to me before. Today when I made them I made sure that the milk/cornmeal never boiled and I did not have any clumps in the mixture at all. Just my 2 cents!

  2. Cindy Hovey says:

    I finally made these about 10 days ago. Wow. It’s a good thing I splurged on the big bag of cornmeal because I have made 3 batches since then. My family stops everything when these come out of the oven. We had them with your favorite clam chowder last night and my husband was worried about going into a food coma. Thanks for keeping us all happy over here!

  3. Salem says:

    Here’s to making these amazing rolls for church functions! I sign up for rolls every time and then come home and make these. Although today my husband suggested we just buy some, and I was shocked!! :)

    Thanks for great food!

  4. Salem says:

    So Mel, when you put these on the pan to bake, how do you arrange them? I never know how to do it.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Salem – I usually try to fit three rolls across lengthwise across the top and five or six down (on a large 12X18-inch baking sheet) for a total of 15 or 18 per sheet. Does that help?

  5. marlow says:

    I tried this recipe on thanksgiving, wasn’t sure if they would turn out like yours, but to suprise they were wonderful and the most picky of my family were delighted with them, thanks again, have a wonderful holiday.

  6. marlow says:

    I just tried this recipe for thanksgiving. I wasn’t sure if they would turn out like yours, but to my suprise they were wonderful. Even the pickest of my family agree they were the best. thanks again.

  7. Carolyn D. says:

    I can’t wait to make these after reading all the posts about them. Is the butter that is brushed on the rolled out dough in addition to what you have listed in the ingredients?

  8. Cindy says:

    Here is our latest thing. Before we roll these up, we stick in a mozzarella cheese stick and some pepperoni slices. Oh my! Don’t worry, we eat them the regular way at least twice a month too.

  9. Barbara says:

    You can’t possibly know how much I’d love these, but 2 dozen for two old people is way more than we can handle. Do you suppose that it would be just as successful if I cut the recipe in half? (I’d still have plenty to freeze.) Oh, I do hope it would work well because I just know I’d love these! If not, I’ll be sharing with at least two other people, and probably three. I have several widowed neighbors who help me eat cookies, LOL!

  10. Sarah says:

    If I want to add a filling to these crescent rolls, at what point in the recipe would you do that? Thanks! Love your website :)

    • Mel says:

      Sarah – If you are thinking a filling like, say, nutella, I’d spread it on before cutting the dough into wedges – then just roll up, let rise and bake. Good luck!

  11. Bri says:

    I’m thinking these are going to be my Easter rolls this year!

  12. Lori S. says:

    Went searching fora recipe for Beef Barley soup and found yours. You suggested making these to go along with it. Am I ever glad I took your suggestion – these are fabulous! (The soup was mighty fine as well!) I am not the patient type so after I put the cornmeal mixture into the bowl of my stand mixer, I added cold butter and once it had melted, beat it in and continued beating the mixture until it got to the lukewarm stage. Worked very well! I also used a fine white cornmeal. Next time I try these I am going to try the cinnamon sugar filling!! Thank you for your awesome recipes!!

  13. Beth W says:

    I made these last night and were they ever a hit! I have a couple questions, though. First, mine turned out huge and not nearly as pretty as yours in your pictures. About how big are yours when they’re done? Also, how do you store them? Even though we’re a family of 6, it’s going to take us a week or so to work through 24 big rolls. Thanks!!

    • Mel says:

      Beth W – I’ve never specifically measured the finished rolls but they are probably a couple inches across (maybe 3?) and an inch or so in width. If they came out too big, you could cut more triangles and get more per batch. If we have leftovers, I usually store them in a freezer ziploc bag in the freezer and pull them out as we want them.

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