Yield: Yields 15
Making your own croissants is not difficult; there’s no special equipment or hard-to-find ingredients required. What is necessary is good technique. Once you understand the basics of creating multilayered dough like this, you’re well on your way to wowing your friends with delicious croissants.
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Make Ahead Tips
The croissants are best served barely warm. However, they reheat very well, so any that are not eaten right away can be reheated within a day or two in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. They can also be wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil and frozen for a month or more. Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat.
Chocolate Croissants: Chop some good-quality bittersweet chocolate and distribute it along the length of the notched end of the dough triangle after you’ve stretched it—use about 1/2 oz. or 1-1/2 Tbs. for each one. Roll it up just like a plain croissant but without stretching out or bending the legs. Proof and bake the same.
Ham and Cheese Croissants: After stretching but before rolling up each croissant, put a thin layer of sliced ham on the dough at the notched end. Tuck it in if it lies more than a little outside the surface of the dough. Put a layer of thinly sliced or grated cheese—good Cheddar or Gruyère is best—on top of the ham. Without stretching or bending the legs, roll the dough tightly. Proof and bake the same.
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The flavor and texture of these are perfect. The instructions are very detailed which worked out great when showing this recipe to my intern. However, the baking temperature is WAY too high. Ive been an executive pastry chef for 11 years and have NEVER baked croissants at that temperature. That being said, I baked two at that temperature just to test and sure enough, they came out burnt. I baked the rest at 375. 20 min was perfect. The almond ones (I pipe frangipane inside them, then roll them) I baked for 25 min at 360.
These croissants are excellent! I lived on a French island, and I never thought I'd taste croissants as good as I had there until I found this recipe. I make some important adjustments, though:
1) 425 degrees is WAY too high for the oven. I bake my for exactly 22 minutes at 375, and they're always perfect.
2) I only bake enough for my husband and I (see #3 below), so I always use a cast iron skillet. This way, I can proof and bake in the same pan (the skillet has a lid that I use when the croissants are proofing). I use parchment paper. They come out perfect every time. If using a regular cookie sheet, it may take longer or need a slightly higher temp (not 425, though) than I indicated in #1 above.
3) The biggest adjustment I made and one that is the saving grace for this recipe is that I always freeze my croissants after rolling them but before proofing or baking. I originally did this because I did not want to cook 15 croissants at a pop when only a few would be eaten for breakfast, yet I also wanted super fresh croissants rather than cooked and reheated ones. So, I start the croissant process 4 days before I want the croissants. After rolling the croissants into their shapes on day 3, I freeze them (on a cookie sheet in my freezer and then, once frozen, I transfer them to a tupperware or even just a large freezer bag).
When I want croissants for the next morning, I take out the needed number of frozen croissants and proof from frozen for 4-5 hours (covered). Then, I bake as specified in #1 & #2 above.
I've found that, for some reason (I don't know the science behind it), the croissants taste better after being frozen than if I had baked them on day 3 from fresh dough.
I love the idea that I can have fresh, just-baked croissants whenever I feel like it.
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