Filling the house with the smell of baked buns is one thing, but vanilla custard filled crescent rolls smell even better. The warming and soft smell of vanilla, paired with the classic baked bread, is a little piece of heaven. Biting into a roll, first you get the slightly crispy edges, super moist and fluffy bun, and then there’s the little surprise of a creamy, dreamy vanilla custard nestled in the center.
And it’s actually really easy to make too!
Vanilla Custard Filled Crescent Rolls, or Vaniljehorn (translated to Vanilla Horns), are a classic Norwegian bun. We LOVE our buns here in Scandinavia, proven by my saffron buns that we always make for December 13th, cinnamon rolls (great ANY TIME), and the yummy Norwegian vanilla custard and coconut sweet buns. Yes, vanilla custard and buns are best friends.
ALL of these bun recipes are in fact based on my basic bun recipe (WITH CARDAMOM), and this recipe is no different! Why mess with something that works? A reader told me she had never worked with a better dough in her life, I should hang that beautiful comment on my kitchen wall, right!
“Never worked with a better dough in my life”
So how do we make this beautiful dough?
If you want super thorough directions, I recommend heading back to my basic bun recipe and read that. I will cover the basics here, but the other post is more detailed. It’s exactly the same directions up until the second rising where in the classic recipe, we shape them like buns. Here we will roll them out flat and cut with a pizza cutter.
Start by finding yourself a kitchen scale, I always recommend using a scale when baking. It’s so much more accurate and ensures no-fail beautiful crescent rolls every time.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, sugar, salt and cardamom (1). Never trust a recipe that tells you cardamom is optional in buns, so delicious!
Melt butter and add in your milk. Let this mixture come to about 100F (37-38C). Crumble fresh yeast and mix with the milk mixture (2). If using instant dry yeast, you can also mix it here (or simply adding it to the dry ingredients).
Add one egg and the yeasty milk mixture into your dry ingredients. Knead together with a handheld mixer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the dough lets go of the bowl (3). It should be just slightly sticky to the touch. Cover with a towel (4) and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
How to cut and shape crescent rolls
I remember when I made vanilla custard crescent rolls for the first time, I couldn’t for the life of me understand how to cut them (even though I followed a recipe!). So I’ve made it my mission for you to easily understand how to cut and shape crescent rolls.
On a lightly floured surface, take your dough out of the bowl. Divide the dough into four large balls (5) (I know the photo says 2, but I changed my mind and made 4!), setting all but one of them aside. Now roll your ball into a flat pizza, about 11-12 inches (28-30cm) in diameter. Cut the dough into 8, just like you would slice a pizza. A pizza cutter works great (6).
Now add about 1 heaping tsp of vanilla custard (recipe below) on the biggest part of the slices, making sure to keep the edges clean (7). To form them into crescent rolls, or horns, take the largest edges and squeeze them together, and then roll your roll towards the center (small part of the ‘pizza slice’) (8). Make sure the little pizza tip is tucked in under the crescent rolls, so they don’t burst open when baking.
(If all the pizza references got you hungry for pizza, I’ve got some fantastic pizza rolls you should try too!)
Delicious Homemade Vanilla Custard
If you’ve read this blog for a while now, you probably know my affection for vanilla custard. Vanilla custard is so creamy, can be used in different ways, with whipped cream in these soft cakes with rum pastry cream and apricot or a summer berry pavlova, or without as a filling in a lemon ricotta cake or in these amaazing vanilla custard and coconut sweet buns. These crescent rolls are like the coconut sweet buns, but smaller, and the filling is inside instead of on top, making it creamier.
How to cut open a vanilla bean
When making a vanilla custard, I think it’s crucial to use an actual vanilla bean. It gets so vanilla-y and absolutely worth it. To slice open a vanilla bean is super easy too. I like to first chop it in half, and then take the sharp tip of the knife and slice it open. Now open the halved vanilla bean, and slide the blade of the knife along it to remove the vanilla seeds (1). These seeds are GOLDEN, so make sure they aren’t left in the casserole when you’re done.
Pour the milk, 1/2 of the heavy cream and 1/2 of the sugar into a saucepan. Add in the vanilla seeds and the beans (2). Heat up to the point of boiling, while constantly stirring. Set aside to cool slightly (5-ish minutes).
In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the heavy cream and sugar with the egg yolks and cornstarch (3). Pour the heated milk mixture slowly into the egg mixture while constantly whisking (4). Pour this mixture back into the saucepan (5) – make sure you got those vanilla seeds too – heat back up, until it is thickening. Remember to stir. It will thicken more once it’s cold, but I still stop at pretty thick as we’re using it right away (6).
Look at those delicious vanilla bean specks!
Proofing the rolls
Place the vanilla custard filled crescent rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pre-heat oven to 410F(210C). Let the rolls proof (second rising), covered under a towel for another 30-45 minutes, or until puffed up and about doubled in size (9). Once done, whisk one egg, and brush each rolls with the egg (10). Sprinkle with some coarse sugar (I use pearl sugar), if you want extra delicious texture (11)!
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes, or when golden brown (12) and makes a hollow sound when you tap the underside. Let them cool on a wire rack.
Scroll down to find a printable recipe card. ENJOY!
Did you like these crescent rolls? Here’s more delicious treats!
- Classic Brownie Recipe
- Dreamy, Creamy Chocolate Coffee Truffles
- Lemon Meringue Cupcakes with Lemon Curd
- 4-Ingredient Almond Crunch Milk Chocolates
- Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
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