This is the lazy person’s recipe to almond croissants which are traditionally twice baked. I’m all in for simplifying recipes as long as the taste is still amazing, which these are!! They’re super flaky on the outside, while soft and moist on the inside, and the almond filling beautifully sweet hits the spot.
Let’s talk about croissants for a sec, shall we? I lived in France for 3 months and the number 1 best thing was the numerous quality bakeries, making deliciousness from sweet pastries to savory breads. It’s a bit depressing that I can’t find anything comparable in American grocery stores. I have found certain niche bakeries that have nearly perfected croissants or the standard baguette here, but they are few and far between. Even the Walmart-equivalent superstore in France has better bread than our best grocery stores and some bakeries here.
When I was traveling, I’d often grab a pastry while running to catch a train. One of my favorite chain was Paul, a restaurant similar to Panera Bread that offered pastries to-go by train stations and literally all over France. You can’t miss it – it’s even in the airport! My favorite order was a combo of “pain au chocolat avec jus d’orange,” or simply a chocolate croissant with orange juice (which they make fresh press in most places around France). Oh so good! And of course, croissants at local bakeries were even more on point, if you could imagine pastries better than perfect.
Being back in the US, I’ve been craving these delicious pastries, but first off, I don’t want to pay the price tag of $3-4 for one croissant (compare that to <1-2€ in France!). Secondly, I’ve been making croissants even before going to France, so why not improve on my recipe? Well, here it is!
P.S. I’ve had a Parisian tell me that these croissants are amazing and as good as ones in France, so ya know, certified, bonafide recipe.
A couple notes on croissants:
- They’re easier to make than you think, if you have patience.
- They’re based on a laminated dough, which means it consists of layers of butter and dough. So, you must work with it when it is chill, so the butter doesn’t dissolve into the dough, which cause a sweet unflaky bread to be created instead. When in doubt, refrigerate it.
- They’re versatile. You can put almost any filling in them in any shape you desire. But they’re not like pie crust where you can re-roll the dough. The layers gotta stay in layers!
- French rolling pins (single piece of wood that doesn’t spin) are helpful to roll out this dough evenly.
- This recipe is like a cinnamon roll, where the almond filling is rolled into the dough. Typical almond croissants are twice baked. First as a plain croissant. Second is after filling the inside with almond paste after slicing it horizontally in half. And sometimes topped with more almond paste before going into the oven again. This is a great way to use day-old plain croissants.
And here’s the simplified version of the recipe:
- Make the preferment dough and let it grow.
- Continue making dough and create a block of butter
- Laminate dough: Roll out dough to a large thin rectangle. Place butter inside the middle and fold in thirds.
- Repeat step 3 three more times, chilling dough in between each time.
- Make filling
- Shape the dough: Do the final roll and cut out triangles and roll them into croissant shapes. Roll with filling, if desired.
- Let them rise again and bake!
Okay, now to the actual recipe!
Simple Almond Croissants
- 1 package dry-active yeast (2-1/4 tsp or 10 g)
- 6 Tbsp luke-warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3.5 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 4 tsp sugar
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 3 Tbsp oil
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 egg white
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract
- Part A: Preferment: Sprinkle the yeast on warm water and 2 tsp of sugar. Wait until the yeast foams up, a few minutes.
- Part B: Dough: Meanwhile, dissolve the rest of the sugar (4 tsp) and salt in the warmed milk.
- In a large bowl, place the flour and make a well in the center. Pour in the liquid mixtures (preferment, oil and milk). Mix with a spatula until everything comes together.
- Lightly knead the dough to help everything hold. Do this by folding the dough in half and quarter-turning it for a few times within the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a wet towel and set aside to rise for 2-3 hour, or until triple in volume. Covering the dough keeps it from drying out.
- Part C: Chilling: Prepare the butter by either melting it into a rectangular block about 8×16 in or beating/rolling it with a rolling pin between wax paper. Chill it in the fridge.
- Lightly flour a flat surface/counter. Turn out the dough onto the surface and lightly flour the top. Easiest way to flour is to sprinkle flour from high above the dough so it spreads evenly. Pat the dough into a rough rectangle and chill in fridge until cool to touch.
- Part D: Lamination: Roll out the dough to 24×16 in. Place the block of butter in the center where the its short edge meets the long edge of the dough (16 in side matches on both). Fold the two sidesof the dough in 1/3 at a time like a letter in an envelope. Chill again for an hour, and chill in doubt. The butter needs to remain cool so it doesn’t blend into the dough.
- Repeat the rolling, folding, and chilling process as follows. Each new roll keep the crease away from you, roll the long side left/right, and fold in thirds left/right. Chill in between rolls as needed, and let the dough sit for a few minutes after taking it out from the fridge so it becomes more pliable. Continue to flour the dough and surface as needed if anything starts to get sticky. Roll out the dough 3 more times to the following dimensions, folding thirds and chilling after each roll-out: 10×30 in, 24×24 in, 10×30 in
- Part E: Almond Filling: While everything is chilling, mix together all the almond filling ingredients and place it in the fridge afterwards.
- Part F: Shaping: Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment.
- For shaping, roll the dough to 8x12in. Using a sharp knife, cut it in half, chill one half. Roll out one piece again to 8x12in. Cut in half and roll again to 8x12in. Essentially you’ll have rolled out 4 pieces of dough into 8x12in. Cut out 3 triangles from each dough piece. With the scraps, you can roll them into an odd shape.
- Spread some filling near the base of the triangles, not too close too the edge or it’ll ooze out too much when rolling. Starting from the wide bottom, roll the triangles up and curve them into a crescent with all the tips pointing towards the center. Make sure that the end of the rolled tip is at the bottom of the croissant so it sticks better to itself.
- Keep the croissants fairly separated, 6 croissants to a pan.
- Part G: Baking: Whisk a teaspoon of water with the egg white and brush the egg wash on all the croissants.
- Let the croissants sit to rise (or longer if you have time) as the oven preheats to 450°F.
- Bake for 15 min, or until croissants become golden brown on the outside.
- Cool and enjoy!
- Based on Julia Child’s recipe via Barbara Bakes and Saveur’s recipe.
- The recipe can be easily halved – cut down on the rolled dimensions by about 75%
- Key to yeast is to use water slightly warm to the touch. Also, avoid using metal tools – this can react and destroy the yeast.
- If you want to speed up the initial rise, heat up your oven to the lowest temperature and let it cool back down to under 100°F and let the dough sit in there for 30 min or so.
- Ingredient notes: I use avocado oil, but most cooking oils will work too. Like most of my recipes, I do not use milk (except in butter). Although milk might be preferred, soy milk still makes beautiful and delicious croissants.
Did you make this recipe?
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