Cooking with Claire: Rolling in the dough

The final product of Galvin's foray into the crescent roll world: Nutella cinnamon buns. (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

I have heard wonders about cooking and baking with Pillsbury Crescent Dough. I have loved the crescent rolls for years but never gave the variations a try. Until now.

Cooking with the crescent dough has several advantages. One, you don’t have to mix up any dough ingredients. Two, you don’t have to knead or roll any dough. (Quick pro-tip, in a jam use a bottle of wine instead of a rolling pin. Which one are you more likely to have on hand?)

Here are two recipes, both using crescent roll dough. I used the cheaper store brand from Price Chopper instead of Pillsbury.

Pepperoni cheese crescents made with Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls. (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

Pepperoni cheese crescents made with Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls. (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

Peperoni Cheese Crescents

Ingredients:

  • One (8 ounce) can Pillsbury™ Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
  • 24 slices (about 5 ounce) pepperoni
  • 2 ounce (one-half cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • One cup tomato pasta or pizza sauce, heated

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into eight triangles; pat out each triangle slightly.

2. Place three slices pepperoni, slightly overlapping, on center of each triangle. Top each with about one tablespoon cheese.

3. Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle and rolling to opposite point. Place rolls, point side down, on un-greased cookie sheet.

(Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

4. Bake at 375°F for 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm crescents with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

Nutella Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

For the rolls:

  • Baking spray or butter, for greasing the muffin tin
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • Two-thirds cup Nutella
  • One and one-half tablespoon cinnamon
  • Salt

For the icing:

  • One-half cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • One-half cup cream cheese, at room temperature
  • One and one-half cups powdered sugar
  • One-half teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 12-muffin tin or a pie/cake plate with butter or cooking spray.

2. Unroll the crescent sheet onto a clean work surface. (If the dough is sticking, sprinkle the work surface and the dough with all-purpose flour.) If your dough has perforated triangles, knead any seams together with your fingers, so that you have a smooth sheet.

3. Spread Nutella over the sheet in a smooth, thin layer, leaving about a one-quarter inch border on all sides, then sprinkle with cinnamon and a pinch of salt.

Galvin spreads Nutella over the sheet in a smooth, thin layer before rolling the dough into individual rolls. (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

4. Starting from the bottom, carefully and tightly roll up the dough. Using string (like unflavored dental floss or baker's twine), slice the dough into even-sized pieces, pulling up from underneath, being careful not to squash each roll as you go. (If you don't have string, a sharp, serrated knife works too.)

5. Arrange the rolls in greased baking plate or pie pan (they should all be touching), or muffin tin. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they're just starting to brown.

The beginning stages of making Nutella cinnamon rolls with crescent roll dough.  (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

The beginning stages of making Nutella cinnamon rolls with crescent roll dough.  (Claire Galvin/The Daily Campus)

6. Take the rolls out of the oven and let them cool for at least 20 minutes before icing.

7. With a rubber spatula or electric mixer, mix softened butter and cream cheese until fully combined. Sift in powdered sugar, mixing after every one-quarter cup or so, then add the vanilla extract and stir until everything is smooth.

8. Once the rolls have cooled a bit, spread icing directly onto them with a knife.

Reviewing the final products:

The pizza roles were delicious, quick and easy. I would absolutely make them again, probably for a party or just to eat as snacks through the week.

The cinnamon rolls, on the other hand, were disappointing.

I used a total half-cup less sugar in the icing than the recipe called for, because even at the beginning it seemed excessive. It turned out sickly sweet. I love sweets and will eat just about anything sweet, but this was too much for me.

As seen in the pictures, the consistency of the icing was off too. I used granular sugar instead of confectioners and I think that was a problem. But the appearance didn’t bother me, just the taste.

I still decided to include the cinnamon roll recipe in this week’s column to make a point. Even though I’ve been cooking for years and cooking for this column for almost a whole year, I still make mistakes and recipes still go haywire. I don’t sweat it though because I know the next recipe will make up for it.

Next time, I’ll spend the extra $3 or $4 and purchase the right kind of sugar. It will probably improve the recipe immensely.

Recipes adapted from Buzzfeed.com and Pillsbury.com.


Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus.   She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.