Cooks’ Illustrated Crescent Rolls and Inn at Temple Square’s Raspberry Honey Butter(Makes 16 Rolls)
¾ cup skim milk
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
¼ cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 ½ cups (17 ½ ounces) unbleached high-protein all-purpose flour (such as King Arthur) or 4 cups (20 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury), plus extra for work surface
1 tsp. rapid-rise or instant yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
For Egg Wash:
1 egg white beaten with 1 tsp. water
For honey butter:
½ lb. butter, room temperature (2 sticks or 1 cup)
4 ounces honey
4 ounces good-quality raspberry preserves
½ tsp. vanilla
For the dough:
1. Microwave the milk, butter, and sugar in a 4-cup microwave-safe measuring cup until the butter is mostly melted and the mixture is warm (about 110 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 1 ½ minutes. (Or heat gently in a small saucepan over medium high heat.) Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Beat the eggs lightly in a medium bowl; add about one-third of the warm milk to the eggs, whisking to combine. When the bottom of the bowl feels warm, add the remaining milk mixture, whisking to combine.
2. Combine the flour and yeast in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on lowest speed to blend; about 15 seconds. With the mixer running, add the milk and egg mixture in a steady stream; mix on low speed until a loose, shiny dough forms (you may also see satiny webs as the dough moves in the bowl), about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat 1 minutes; add the salt slowly and continue beating until stronger webs form, about 3 minutes longer. (Note: The dough will remain loose rather than forming a neat, cohesive mass.) Transfer the dough to a large bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough doubles in bulk and the surface feels tacky, about 3 hours.
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour—no more than 2 Tbsp., to prevent sticking, and punch down. Turn the dough onto the floured work surface and form into a rough rectangle shape. Transfer the rectangle to a lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough rectangle onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 20 by 13” rectangle. Use a pizza wheel to trim the edges. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut 16 triangles. Before rolling up the crescents, elongate each triangle of dough, stretching it an additional 2 to 3 inches in length. Starting at the wide end, gently roll up each crescent, ending with the pointed tip on the bottom.
5. Arrange rolls in four rows on the parchment-lined baking sheet; wrap the baking sheet with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
6. Remove the baking sheet with the chilled rolls from the fridge, unwrap, and cover with an over-turned large disposable roasting pan. (Or cover with a large garbage bag.) Let rise until the crescents feel slightly tacky and soft and have lost their chill, 45 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, turn off the oven light, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven floor, adjust one rack to the lower-middle position, and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
7. For the egg wash: With a pastry brush, lightly dab the risen rolls with the egg wash. Transfer the baking sheet with the rolls to the oven rack and working quickly; pour 1 cup hot tap water into the hot baking sheet on the oven floor. Close the door immediately and bake 10 minutes, reduce the oven temp. to 350 degrees and continue baking until the tops and bottoms of the rolls are deep golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes, serve warm.
**To make ahead of time—bake rolls as instructed, but let them bake at 350 degrees for only 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Place the partially baked rolls in a Ziploc bag and freeze. When ready to serve, thaw to room temp. and place them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12 to 16 minutes. You can freeze the rolls for up to one month.
For Raspberry Honey Butter:
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the honey while mixing. Add the raspberry preserves and vanilla. Continue to whip until completely mixed. (You may have to beat it for a little while if it has separated.)