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Think of Thanksgiving and you'll find the aromas of childhood coming back: apple pie, pumpkin pie, cinnamon and nutmeg, sage-y stuffing, cranberry relish, creamed onions, sweet potatoes broiling with that sticky, gooey mass of miniature marshmallows on top, and of course, turkey. These fragrant sage rolls make the whole house smell great. They’re easy to make and can be done a day ahead of time, or you can freeze them and pull them out whenever you need them.
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1 stick softened butter or margarine
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon salt
9 cups (approx.) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons melted butter (to rub on the dough before rising)
1/2 cup melted butter (to brush on the crescents)
Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the water. Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Let this sit for 10 minutes, to give the yeast a chance to get going.
Add the milk, butter, eggs, sage, and salt. Stir well. The butter will be lumpy; don't worry, as the lumps will get broken up in the kneading process. Add the flour a cup at a time, until the dough has formed a shaggy mass.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, until the dough has formed a smooth and satiny ball. Put the dough into a bowl and coat with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and knead it to expel any air bubbles. Divide the dough in four pieces. Roll one piece of the dough into a circle 1/4" thick and 9" in diameter. Cut dough into 9 triangles (as if you were cutting a pie).
Roll each triangle into a crescent shape, starting with the curved side and rolling toward the point. Place the crescents on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Make sure that the tip of the crescent is pinched well to attach it to the roll and that it is underneath the roll. Curve the ends to form a gentle C-shape. Repeat with the remaining triangles. Brush the completed rolls with melted butter. Roll out, cut, and form the remaining pieces of dough.
Cover the crescents with a damp towel and let them rise for 25 to 35 minutes, or until puffy but not quite doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the crescents for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Yield: 36 crescent rolls.
This is one of those recipes that is easily adaptable to many shapes. You can make a few rolls in each shape for a festive-looking assortment. Here are a few of the classics shapes:
Cloverleaf Rolls: Butter muffin tins. Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Divide the dough into 48 pieces. Take each piece and divide into three pieces. Roll the three pieces into balls. Roll each ball in melted butter and place three balls in each muffin cup. Let the rolls rise as directed and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Fan Tans: Butter muffin tins. Melt 1 stick of butter. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle 1/4’’ thick. Butter each rectangle and place them on top of one another so that you have a stack of 4 layers. Cut the stack into 2’’ squares. Place each 2’’ stack , one of the cut sides up, in each muffin cup. Let rise as directed and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
Simple Round Rolls: Melt 1 stick of butter. Divide the dough into 48 pieces. Roll each into a ball. Place each ball on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and let rise as directed. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
Monkey Bread: Who knows how or why this got the name of “monkey bread,” but it sure is good. Grease two tube or Bundt-style pans. Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Divide the dough into 48 pieces. Roll into balls and dip each ball into the melted butter. Place 24 balls into each pan. The balls will be on top of each other. Let the dough rise as directed and bake in a 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving (1 roll, 56 g): 164 cal, 7 g fat, 4 g protein, 22 g complex carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 32 mg cholesterol, 247 mg sodium, 55 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 64 mg calcium, 41 mg phosphorus
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 9, November 1992 issue.