Friday, November 2, 2012

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

Recently, Paul has been leaving super early in the morning to head into the office to get some extra work done before the daily distractions of scheduled presentations, conference calls, and general office banter begin. Concurrently, Mr. Matthew has been a rather light sleeper.  So, when Paul leaves the house at 5:00 AM, Matthew inevitably lets himself into my bedroom to shove his cheerful, fully awake little face into mine: "Hi Mommy! Cereal? Breakfast?"


I have tried to dissuade him from eating such an early breakfast by inviting him to climb into bed next to me and go back to sleep.  This usually ends with me dozing off briefly, only to suddenly awaken to the unpleasant realization that in lieu of sleeping Matthew has been fixated on trying to pull out my eyelashes. That forces me up and out of bed for sure. He's a smart boy.

Matthew is not the only one who is highly active in the mornings.  This little guy is normally dashing from one room to the next, chasing an imaginary mouse or rabbit.  This picture was taken during a rare moment of relaxation (he likes to perch on the kitchen chairs with Matthew).

There are constant noises of impact as Reilly slides into the baseboards, the cabinets, or slips on the wooden floor, falling flat on his whiskers.  But most annoying of all, as I am passing from one room to the next, he is inevitably ensconced to the side of the doorway, crouching, ready to pounce as soon as I walk through.  I have been tripped/frightened/insanely irritated by this little habit of his no less than 500 times. Normally, I can get him to calm down by pinning him down for a good brushing or just some good, old fashioned TLC.

Matthew loves to play with Reilly, but this usually involves tossing the kitty in his toy chest, shoving him inside the drawer under his bed, locking him up in the closet, or, as seen in the photos below, barricading him inside one of the kitchen cabinets.  At least they had fun. And hey, the crazy cat was jailed for a couple minutes so I was guaranteed not to be startled by one of his "attacks."

Mornings like this make me wish I could allow myself to guzzle more than the measly one cup of coffee recommended by my Obstetrician.

One nice thing about getting up a little earlier is that I am forced to accomplish more chores and general household tasks before lunch.  This leaves the whole afternoon to bake! And I like nothing better than baking some type of carbohydrate to serve with dinner.  Since soup has been on the menu so much lately, rolls seemed very appropriate.  When I saw this recipe for Cornmeal Crescent Rolls on Mels Kitchen Cafe, I immediately bookmarked it as a "must make soon" item.  I love corn-flavored anything. Combine that with a buttery dinner roll and it sounds like a recipe for a carb-lovers nirvana.

These rolls did not disappoint.  The most annoying part was waiting for the cornmeal/milk mixture to cool down to a temperature appropriate enough for the yeast.  Besides that, these rolls come together quickly.  They were marvelous popping hot fresh out of the oven as well as the next day.  Paul loved them so much, that he has been using them to make turkey sandwiches for his work lunches.

The only thing that I might do differently next time is add a tad bit more salt to the recipe.  I felt the dough could have used just a bit more.

These would make a beautiful addition to the Thanksgiving table!

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls
adapted very slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 cups milk
2/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
5 ½ – 6 cups flour

Heat the milk to just below a boil so bubbles are just appearing around the edges. Gradually pour the cornmeal in a steady stream into the milk, while whisking constantly.  Cook and stir until thickened, lowering the temperature if needed so the mixture does not boil. Pour the cornmeal/milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let cool until lukewarm.

Add the yeast, butter and sugar and mix until combined. Add the salt and eggs and continue to mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 5-8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl covered with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Divide the dough into three portions and roll each into about an 8-10 inch circle. Brush the top lightly with butter. Cut into 8 wedges and roll each wedge up starting from the wide end so it forms a crescent roll shape. Place each roll onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart to allow for rising. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the rolls have doubled, bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Be careful not to over-bake   Brush with butter while still warm, if desired!

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