10 Deliciously Sweet Ways To Hack Your Crescent Roll
Crescent rolls are a popular holiday staple, thanks to their irresistible buttery goodness. As the American response to the croissant, these flaky, soft pieces of heaven are basically perfect. But did you know you can up the crescent roll game further by hacking them into a variety of dessert dishes? There are many ways to give your crescent rolls a new lease on life, and you’ll want to include some of them on the menu of your next party or family get-together.
It would be simple enough to stuff some cream cheese or jam into a crescent roll and call it something new, but it’s actually quite easy to get much more creative than that. From serving as the base for muffins or s’mores to stepping in to amplify a pie, crescent rolls are an often overlooked MVP of the dessert world. Unexpected? Yes. Delicious? Also yes. Especially during the holidays or special occasions like a birthday, crescent rolls give you the opportunity to think "outside of the cake pan," if you will. Everyone expects cake or cupcakes at a party, but serving amped-up baklava or flakey cronuts really levels up the dessert spread. Best of all, crescent roll hacks are simple — all you’re doing is adding, removing, or substituting ingredients. In many cases, using a crescent roll in lieu of other baking items actually makes dessert creation quicker and easier. It’s a win all around.
Turn them into muffins
There’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of freshly baked blueberry muffins in the morning, but who wants to get up and make them? Homemade muffins are undoubtedly delicious, but they can also sometimes seem like too much effort for a lazy Sunday. Instead of facing anticipatory muffin anxiety, you can hack your way to bite-sized sweetness in any flavor you desire with a can of crescent rolls and whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Simply roll out your dough, add your ingredients (from blueberry to chocolate chip to cinnamon sugar, the options are endless), roll it back up, and slice it into circles that can fit into a muffin pan. According to Thrillist, croissant muffins (or cruffins, if you will) can be ready in as little as 30 minutes. Best of all? There’s very little mess to clean up, giving you the ability to maintain a key level of laziness. Want your crescent roll muffins to taste as good as the original? Use quality ingredients. Opt for fresh fruit instead of frozen, or spring for a new batch of sugar. Fresh, quality ingredients make a world of difference when you’re using a cheat like crescent rolls to get the job done.
Create a courrone
A delicious crown of glutenous goodness, couronnes became familiar to American audiences when Paul Hollywood shared his apricot courrone with the world. According to The Great British Bakeoff website, a couronne is "a soft, rich dough, filled with fruit and nuts is rolled, split, and twisted." The name is French for "crown." It is similar in tradition to a King Cake, served during epiphany. Couronnes can be either savory or sweet, with the sweet ones being a popular choice with anyone that has a hankering for a fancy European dessert.
While the couronne usually follows the typical route of flour, sugar, etc., you can make it easier and just as delicious by skipping the dough recipe and just using crescent rolls instead. While there are plenty of recipes online to teach you how to follow couronne creation canon, when you’re using crescent rolls you can keep it all a little looser. The steps are straightforward: Stretch out the dough, fill it with sweet stuff, and braid it up.
Another form of the couronne is called a Couronne Bordelaise, which according to Breadtopia involves plain bread dough rolled into balls and then arranged into a circle to bake. While the fruit-filled one is fancier and more dessert-appropriate, you can also ball up crescent roll dough and make the plainer version if you have party guests with picky palates. Whichever version you choose, crescent rolls can also solve a common couronne issue: uneven baking. Unlike dough made from scratch, crescent roll dough already comes shaped and portioned, which reduces the risk of thick and thin imbalanced areas in your completed bake.
Everyone loves cinnamon rolls, and hacking some crescent rolls into this twisty treat really ups the cinnamon roll game. There are a couple of options when it comes to transforming this ready-made dough into a treat. You can follow this simply super crescent cinnamon roll recipe for a take on the classic, or make some cinnamon twists instead.
While it’s possible nothing is ever going to top hitting the Cinnabon at the mall or airport, there are some pluses to making cinnamon desserts using crescent rolls at home. You can use reduced-fat crescent rolls to make cinnamon twists that are slightly more guilt-free, or add ingredients you can’t always find in store-bought varieties like nuts, white chocolate chips, coconut flakes, or even rainbow sprinkles. You can also make a huge quantity compared to what you’d get at a restaurant, at the fraction of the cost.
Having a bad day? Cinnamon sugar crescent roll creations can fix a whole lot. And quite honestly, this dessert doesn’t stop with the twists. There are many homemade dipping sauces you can create that go deliciously well with the flavor of crescent dough. Chocolate or caramel sauce are some basic ideas, but you can expand your dipping repertoire by venturing into peanut butter, Nutella, and marshmallow territory. During the winter season, play with a peppermint sauce, or create an orange or strawberry sauce for summertime treats. All of these flavors go incredibly well with crescent dough that has been sugared up.
S’mores are a universally loved treat, but why do we like them so much? According to Monterey County Weekly, they serve as a comforting core memory while also being as strongly American as hot dogs or apple pie. A summer experience of sitting around the campfire with good friends that we can recollect year-round while we’re stuck sitting in our desks at the office is a great mental escape from daily stress. But did you ever consider the fact you can bring the magic of s’mores into your own kitchen quickly and affordably with one simple hack? You guessed it — our good pal the crescent roll.
You don’t need a campfire or anything fancy to turn crescent rolls into summer magic. Simply stick some marshmallows into a crescent roll, bake it up, and drizzle with chocolate and graham cracker crumbles. Or, simply stick some chocolate candy in your crescent roll and heat it up until melted. While this would typically be done in the oven, you can also bring the magic of a campout into your own backyard. If you have a fire pit, start it up and create these s’mores crescent rolls over the campfire using a skillet or foil. Fair warning: It’ll get messy. But you just can’t beat the fun of open-fire dessert-making, no matter what the occasion. There are also flavored marshmallows available for purchase that go amazing with crescent rolls — strawberry is a popular choice.
We’re suckers for good monkey bread. Monkey bread gets its name thanks to its pull-apart appearance. It’s easily picked apart with your fingers, just as a monkey would eat it. Kind of a weird concept, but delightful in its ooey, gooey execution. While monkey bread dough is delicious, hacking a crescent roll into a ring of the good stuff is even better.
Crescent rolls are naturally very buttery, which adds to the final texture of the monkey bread. The composition of crescent roll dough allows it to easily be rolled into the signature ball formation of monkey bread. In fact, crescent rolls work so well for monkey bread that you will sometimes find an easy monkey bread recipe listed on the dough tube itself. If you have to make monkey bread for a crowd, using crescent roll dough can not only save you money, but also time.
Monkey bread is so quick and simple to make that you might want to consider making extras and freezing them. Simply shape your crescent rolls with all ingredients except the sauce topping. Wrap in plastic wrap and foil and freeze it. Months later, bring it out when you’re celebrating something or feel like a weeknight indulgence. The sauce can be made ahead of time and frozen as well.
Deep fry a cronut
Cronuts hit the New York bakery scene years ago (via Insider), and they have since taken the world by storm. Upon first glance, a cronut resembles a donut. But take a closer look or make some on your own to discover that it is actually a deep-fried croissant. But making homemade croissants takes a lot of time, patience, and effort — and store-bought ones aren’t usually high enough quality to deep fry into deliciousness. Enter the crescent roll.
When you create a cronut with crescent rolls instead of traditional dough, the result is not only delicious but weirdly quick. According to the Happy Housewife, prep and cook time for cronuts is a total of eight minutes, making them a great choice when you need a sweet treat stat. Since crescent dough is sturdy enough to hold toppings while also flaky enough to resemble a true cronut, you can add various flavors like lemon curd, caramel, or cherry compote.
Dessert bars make for a great sweet snack for a crowd — you can bring them to a potluck or party (or just save them all for yourself, who are we kidding). While there are many varieties to create, a surefire winner is the Quick and Chewy Crescent Bars featuring coconut and pecans. And they are literally a winner, specifically of the 1972 Pillsbury Bake-Off competition.
Crescent rolls make for a great dessert bar hack thanks to their light yet substantial texture. They can easily pass as a base crust, but won’t turn too tense. And in keeping with the laziness theme throughout this list, crescent roll dough is already pre-rolled and ready to be topped with your ingredients of choice. Not a pecan lover? Try fruit compote, chocolate pieces, or even a savory topping. There are no rules to dessert-making when you are using crescent rolls — all the "measurements" are done, and now you get to just have fun creating some worthy flavors.
Dessert bars can be so diverse in their flavors and concepts that it’s fun to have an exchange with friends and family. Challenge everyone to buy some crescent roll dough and create dessert bars in whatever flavor or style they can dream up. Package them up to trade with guests, or delegate some partygoers as judges to determine who has created the winning crescent roll dessert bar.
Mini silk pies
Let’s get into some bite-sized dessert love with some adorable little baby pies you can eat on the go. French silk chocolate pie is delicious, but can also be a predicament if you don’t have enough for a crowd. Hack a crescent roll can by transforming it into perfect one-serving portions of portable mini French silk crescent pies. The dough can be shaped and baked, and then filled with chocolate mousse and whipped cream to make a tinier version of the popular original pie. If you aren’t a fan of chocolate silk pie, you can create mini pies out of pretty much any flavor. Over the holidays, try pumpkin, apple, or even mincemeat; during warmer months, try key lime, lemon, cherry, or blueberry. Whatever is seasonally appropriate or available will work.
Craving some tiny pie but don’t have any gatherings coming up? Crescent roll dough is advantageous for this situation — as long as you keep the dough refrigerated, there is no reason you should feel pressured into using it all at once. Slice off just what you need and properly store the rest in a sealable bag or plastic wrap. Not only are mini pies adorable, they also will help you to avoid food waste.
While crescent rolls of course work great for tiny pies, it’s also worth mentioning how well a hacked crescent roll dough works for full-sized pies as well. As Pillsbury’s website notes, you can pretty much choose whatever filling you want.
Hacking crescent roll dough into a pie leaves you with a buttery and (hopefully!) solid pie base. You can also unroll some additional crescent roll dough and cut out designs and patterns to lay over your filling and create a work of art on the top crust for all to see. Just keep in mind that crescent roll dough that has been molded into a pie crust can be a bit flaky, so it’s oftentimes better to stick to pie flavors where a little bit of a mess is acceptable. Apple pie, we’re looking at you.
Not a fan of apple? Any fruit pie will do, as well as non-dessert options like chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie. Or hey, make it a pie day from start to finish, making both sweet and savory pies with crescent rolls as the crust.
Extra flakey baklava
Have you ever had amazing baklava at a good Mediterranean place in town and wanted to try making it yourself at home? This Greek treat is traditionally made with phyllo dough or puff pastry. According to Great British Chefs, baklava has been with us as a dessert for quite some time — possibly as far back as the 15th century. The Ottoman Empire conquered a large area during this period of time, and though it’s unclear where baklava specifically originated, it spread through the entire region. The recipe we use today that is closest to what is considered the "original" baklava was actually cooked up in palace kitchens in Istanbul, as it was a favorite dessert of the sultan. Baklava was reportedly handed out to soldiers during Ramadan, and it is still a traditional food for this holiday.
Now that you know that history, it’s also good to know that by simply by busting out a can of crescent rolls you can bypass all of the hard work the sultan’s chefs must’ve gone through. Yes, this Mediterranean treat that is highly revered in tradition can be hacked with this easy dough. When making authentic baklava from scratch, the trick to holding the flaky crust together well is to swoop melted butter over it. If you use a can of crescent rolls, however, then you don’t need to worry about this step, as crescent rolls are already so buttery.