Article first published as Strawberry Cheesecake Crescent Rolls on Blogcritics.I usually avoid bakeries because they affect my decision making capabilities. Often times there are so many delectable treats that I have a difficult time choosing what I want! I recently took a walk to a neighborhood bakery because of the good things I heard from neighbors. While there, I had a tough time choosing between sweet or savory items. I opted for savory and was inspired to just bake something sweet at home. My go-to pastry at most bakeries are filled croissants. I never tried making croissants at home but found an approachable, similar recipe that piqued my interest. Rather than making them plain, I filled them with a fruit, creamy filling. That's when these Strawberry Cheesecake Crescent Rolls were born. Bursting with chopped fresh strawberries and a sweet cheesecake filling, I may not have to step foot in another bakery for a fruit filled croissant again!
I hope I'm not the only one that has been intimated when faced with a traditional croissant recipe. There's something about folding the dough over and over and over again with butter and having to wait hours on end to enjoy it. That enough for me to just keep passing the recipe over. But I plan on tackling the traditional recipe one of these days. I'll need to stock up on butter and ensure I've built up enough patience to give it a whirl. Until then, there's this recipe for easy crescent rolls I did attempt. It doesn't have the flaky layers of a traditional croissant but the buttery taste is definitely there. Make them plain or fill with your favorite fillings, the crescent roll recipe is a great base to play around with!
Strawberry Cheesecake Crescent Rolls
recipe adapted from Holiday Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup half & half, heated to 110 degrees
1 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs - 1 whole and 1 separated
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon water
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Once it comes to temperature, turn it off. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a large bowl.
Whisk the melted butter, half & half, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a large liquid measuring cup until the yeast dissolves. Then, whisk in 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, remaining sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. With the mixer on low, add warm half & half mixture in a steady stream and mix until the dough comes together. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the side of teh bowl. Turn dough out onto a clean surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the warm oven and let it rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the cheesecake filling. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolk, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined.Set aside until ready to assemble.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 12 inch circle. Spread the cheesecake filling on the edges of the dough, about 2 inches from the edge. Cut the dough into 12 wedges with a pizza cutter.
At the widest part of each wedge, place 1-2 teaspoons of fresh chopped strawberries. Carefully roll each wedges towards the point, finishing with the pointed tip of dough over the top.
Arrange each roll on the prepared baking sheet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and return to the oven until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Remove the rolls from the oven and discard the plastic wrap. The rolls may have some filling come out but this is okay. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the remaining egg white and water in a small bowl. Brush each roll twice with the egg mixture and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
Cool rolls on baking sheet for 10 minutes and serve.