Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

Ham and cheese crescent rollI spend a lot of time trying to come up with interesting lunch items for my son. I’ve long been dissatisfied with school lunches, and so has he. This year, I’ve been making his lunches for the week on Sundays so I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week. I like this recipe because it takes care of a side dish for Sunday dinner, and it provides lunches for a week (the recipe makes eight crescent rolls and eight ham and cheese rolls.

If you don’t want to make your own crescent roll dough, you can always use refrigerated crescent rolls, although they aren’t nearly as flavorful and they’re pretty small.

A quick tip on baking – I prefer regular yeast to rapid rise yeast. The reason is I believe that a dough that rises more slowly has time to develop better flavors. You can use a quick rise yeast, which will cut the rising time by about half. You can also replace the shortening with softened butter, although shortening gives the rolls a more tender crumb. If you like, you can sprinkle the ham and cheese rolls with a bit of cheese before baking.

Ham and Cheese Crescent Rolls

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water at 110 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups flour plus more for kneading and rolling
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, very soft
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in small bowl.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine sugar, salt, eggs, and shortening. Use a mixer to beat on high speed until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Add yeast mixture and flour. Stir until a smooth dough forms.
  4. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and knead until dough is springy and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat dough in oil.
  6. Cover and allow dough to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 90 minutes.
  7. Punch down dough. Divide into two equal balls.
  8. Roll out each ball on a floured surface into a round that is about 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Spread each round with half of the softened butter.
  10. On one round of dough, lay out slices of deli ham to cover the entire round. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  11. Cut the rounds into eight wedges (pizza style). Roll each wedge into a crescent roll from the wide end to the point.
  12. Place rolls on parchment lined baking pans. Cover and allow to rise for an hour, until rolls are doubled in size.
  13. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. Bake rolls for 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on the outside.
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