2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 C. warm water
3/4 C. warm milk
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 t. each salt
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 C. butter, softened
5 1/2 to 6 C. unbleached flour, divided
1 whole egg
2 eggs, separated
1/2 C. apricot preserves or orange marmalade
2 t. water
Pearl sugar or coarsely crushed sugar cubes
Sprinkle yeast over water in large bowl of electric mixer. Let stand until soft (about 5 minutes). Add milk, sugar, salt, vanilla and butter; stir until butter melts.
Add 3 cups of the flour. Mix to blend, then beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Beat in 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks, reserving whites for glaze. Gradually stir in 2 to 2 1/2 cups more flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto work surface lightly coated with some of the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and satiny, and small bubbles form just under surface, adding flour as needed to keep dough from sticking.
Turn dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch, divide into 2 equal portions, and let stand 10 minutes.
Roll each portion of dough out on a floured surface to an 18-inch-diameter circle. Cut each round into 12 equal triangles. Place about 1 teaspoon preserves at wide end of each triangle. Starting from wide end of each, roll toward point. Place each roll on a greased baking sheet with point on underside, curving ends slightly to make a crescent shape.
Cover lightly and let rolls rise until puffy (25 to 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat reserved 2 egg whites with the 2 teaspoons water. Brush egg white mixture lightly over rolls. Sprinkle lightly with pearl sugar or crushed sugar cubes. Bake until well browned (15 to 20 minutes).
Makes 24 rolls.