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What Are Crescent Rolls?

Updated July 20, 2017

The term crescent roll refers to the shape of either a basic yeast roll or a French croissant. Though both are yeast rolls, French croissants are multilayered. The "Joy of Cooking" refers to crescent rolls as synonymous with French croissants, but "The New York Times Cookbook" differentiates between the two. Because definitions vary, in this article "crescent roll" refers to crescent-shaped rolls made from unlayered dough.

Crescent Rolls

Crescent rolls are made using a basic yeast roll recipe. After the dough is kneaded, it's brushed with melted butter and shaped into crescents. This differs from a croissant because the dough for a typical crescent roll is rolled only once. You can buy premade crescent roll dough. Pillsbury, for example, sells the premade crescent dough and offers numerous suggestions for using the product on its website.

Crescent Roll Serving Suggestions

Besides serving crescent rolls as an accompaniment to a meal, use them as an ingredient in other dishes. Prepare the childhood favourite, pigs in a blanket, by wrapping fully cooked hot dogs or cocktail wieners in strips of crescent roll dough, then baking according to the dough recipe. Spoon tuna salad or chicken salad plus cheddar cheese onto the dough before rolling and baking to create a crescent roll melt.

Croissant Rolls

Croissant, the French word for crescent, is a traditional French roll. The texture is light and flaky because it is folded repeatedly into multiple layers, each brushed with butter. Before baking, the laminated dough is shaped into the traditional crescent shape or sometimes a straight roll. According to "The New Food Lover's Companion," this rich yeast roll dates to 1686, but it wasn't made with the trademark flaky layers until the early 1900s.

Croissant Serving Suggestions

Generally croissants are considered a breakfast roll, but they can also be used for sandwiches or along with a meal. Try layering thin-sliced ham and Swiss cheese, or a sweet filling such as chocolate, on the dough before baking for a tasty variation. Also, serve croissants plain with a fruit salad and yoghurt for a well-rounded breakfast.

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About the Author

A writer for over 20 years, Erika Wiggins is an avid hiker, pilot, backpacker, caver and emergency medical technician. She spent seven years in commercial real-estate brokerage and earned a Bachelor of Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.