I adore a breakfast of pastries, fresh fruits, good coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. I hold a special fondness for light, delicate pastries on a spring morning, when the very air is an invention to linger. Fresh pastries on Easter Morning are especially welcome.
Once upon a time, we lived in a city that had a fabulous selection of specialty bakeries. If I wanted good croissants, true French croissants, I simply made a stop at one of several French pastry shops. Sadly, the convenience of specialty shopping is a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong – I adore my little cow town, yet I still yearn for the finer things in life. As of yet, I haven’t found a true European pastry shop nearby. Maybe one of these days . . .
A true, authentic French croissant is a labor of love. It takes days to prepare. The dough is folded and folded and folded again and again, until layers upon layers of butter between layers upon layers of pastry dough is created. There is no comparison unless you can find a true European pastry shop. Even then, croissants are best enjoyed fresh from the oven.
What I’m about to share is as close to a true croissant as possible. In a pinch, you might be able to find a decent plain or butter croissant in the bakery of name-brand grocery stores. Bel-Air, Raleys, and Nob Hill all carry croissants in their respective bakery sections. These are fully baked, and can be warmed in the oven with almond-butter. Sprouts has a superior croissant as far as the grocery-store variety goes, as does the Nugget or Trader Joe’s. Once upon a time simply finding an acceptable store-baked croissant was an adventure. It meant a special trip to the market to have the freshest selection available. Once purchased, these pastries needed to warmed that very day.
If you happen to have a Costco in your neck of the woods, then have I got a treat for you! These croissants aren’t in the bakery section. You will need to look for them in the freezer. They come 30 to a box and require time to sit on the baking sheet before being popped into the oven to bake up all warm, flaky and delicious! The croissant pastry has been prepared for you right up to the baking step, then flash frozen to preserve all those layers upon layers of buttery goodness. Better yet, since the pastries are frozen, all you need to do is remove the number of croissants desired, leaving the rest in your freezer for another day. Just be sure to seal well once opened to prevent damage to the dough.
6 Butter Croissants, plain
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
4 tablespoons Powdered Sugar, sifted
1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Removed desired number of croissants from the freezer and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Let croissants sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, but no more than 30.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter, about 90 seconds in 15 second intervals. Sift powdered sugar into melted butter. Add almond extract. Whisk together until smooth.
When croissants are ready to bake, generously brush with the butter mixture, using about half of the mixture. Set remaining butter mixture aside.
Bake in the oven about 20 to 25 minutes, until baked through, golden and flaky on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. Remove from oven, and brush remaining butter over the croissants just before serving.
Note: For a change of pace, replace almond extract with orange extract. Finely grate some orange zest into the left over butter before brushing the baked croissants.