Buttery Sage Crescent Rolls

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Buttery Sage Crescent Rolls

star rating (6) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

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.


  • star rating 11/20/2011
  • martibeth from KAF Community
  • These were excellent, although were huge, because I made only 32 crescent rolls. I changed slightly the method of making these. I warmed up the water and milk together, then added the butter and eggs. I added instant yeast to the flour, along with the sage. I did follow the instructions to add 1 cup of flour at a time to the liquid mixture, and only had to use between 8 and 8.5 cups. I mixed the dough with a paddle with my stand mixer, and then let it rest for about 20 minutes before I kneaded it with the dough hook for about 5 minutes. I then finished kneading it by hand for about 2 minutes. This dough was so easy to work with, including rolling out the dough into the 9-inch circles, but I divided each circle into 8 rather than 9 triangles. If I remember correctly, each portion of the dough weighed about 15 ounces, so each roll was almost 2 ounces. But you just can't believe how much these rolls puffed up in the oven. I had them in there for 30 minutes or so. The one question I have is why these rolls didn't brown (as a previous reviewer mentioned). When the first batch didn't brown, I brushed an egg wash on them just before putting them in the oven, and it didn't make one iota of difference. Can't understand that at all. They did look a little pale when they came out of the oven, although they were certainly done, and tasted great. My husband was just crazy about them. Nice to find a great roll recipe that makes so many.
    The sugar in this recipe should be enough to provide browning during the bake. You could also consider the whole egg used in the egg wash for color before baking, or brush on melted butter once they are set in the oven and continue the rest of the baking time. We hope these tips help! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 12/24/2010
  • Jdgeia from KAF Community
  • I followed the recipe with the exception of the last butter brushing. It has a great buttery, light sage flavor, with a soft texture. This recipe seems to have a potential for many herb substitutions, but the main recipe is perfect!
  • star rating 10/28/2010
  • leatha from boston
  • i cut back on the flour by 2 cups and added 2 tablespoons of butter and doubled the sage. this made the rolls very tender and buttery not dry like some have said. this is a very good recipe, but needed a little tweeking. i do recommend it with the changes i made. i will make this for thanksgiving.
  • star rating 11/26/2009
  • Tommy from Durham, NC
  • These rolls were a bit on the dry side. I was expecting more moisture and more "buttery" flavor. I'm not sure if I did something wrong, or if they are supposed to be this way (?) ... The sage flavor was VERY subtle, but still apparent. When I make these again (and I will!), I plan to increase the sage by 50%.
    Sounds like you got the results others did with this recipe. Tweaking it next time to meet your taste needs is a good thing! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 11/25/2009
  • Pat from Maine
  • These are delicious rolls with a rich flavor and smooth texture. I used half KA white and half KA Special flour, but only 8.5 cups. I mixed the dough in my mixer, but because of the quantity, had to knead it by hand -- no mixer, no Cuisinart, no ZO! I brushed on a bit of additional water to soften this somewhat stiff but very smooth dough. These were to be the second kind of roll at Thanksgiving, so I wanted somewhat small crescents. I cut each of the four circles into 12 slices, for 48 rolls. I was surprised that they browned only the slightest, but I didn't want to overbake them because they will get warmed up before serving. It's a good thing the recipe makes a lot, because my husband and I enjoyed quite a few as they came out of the oven! The sage taste is delicate -- they don't taste like stuffing. A great recipe to serve a crowd, or to halve.
  • star rating 03/22/2009
  • Amanda from Oswego, NY
  • I halved the recipe and it made about 16 various sized rolls-due to my own lack of rolling, haha. It was easy to make, the only subsitution I made was I used 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp marjoram and 1/4 tsp thyme. My only complaint was that the rolls seemed a little dry, even with butter. Perhaps I didn't use a big enough egg. I sprinkled a little cheese on the last batch of rolls and it gave it a nice crust. All in all, I would make these again.