Thursday, April 30, 2015

Buttery Croissants, Almond or Plain


Besides their signature flaky layers, croissants are best known for their buttery taste. The chilled butter worked into the dough separates it from a basic bread and forms the layers many of us have come to appreciate. These Almond and Plain Croissants were inspired from a local pastry shop that makes some of the best croissants I've enjoyed in Los Angeles. The almond paste and glaze permeate the croissant with a delicious almond flavor and each buttery layer is thoroughly enjoyed with no need for additional condiments. Of course, if you want a croissant absent the sweetness, simply remove the almond paste and glaze from the mix. Enjoy!!

Prep Time: ~6hours
Servings: 20 Croissants

Croissant Dough
2 Packages of Active Dry Yeast, rapid rise
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
2 Cups Warm Water
5 Tbsp Butter, melted
5-6 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cup Butter, flattened
Egg Wash: 2 eggs + 1 1/2 Tbsp Water

Almond Paste
1/2c Almonds, slivered or sliced
1 Tsp Almond Extract
2 Tbsp Melted Butter
2 Tbsp Sugar

Almond Glaze
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Almond Extract
2 Tsp Water
Optional: Sliced Almonds, for garnish

Dough - Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm water. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. While the mixer is on a low speed, pour in the remaining water, melted butter and 4 1/2 cups of the flour. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, only until a dough forms. Dust a clean surface and hands with some flour, and remove the dough from bowl. Knead lightly in a circular motion to form a ball and work in additional flour if the dough is still wet. Place the dough into a large, oiled, mixing bowl, and cover for two hours to rise. After the dough has risen, punch lightly in the center of the dough and proceed with the butter layer.

Dough - Step 2 - The Butter Layer: In a large freezer bag or between two sheets of parchment paper, flatten the slightly softened butter into a large rectangle and chill in the refrigerator until just firm. After completing Step 1, roll out the dough into a large rectangle (10"x15" is what I used) and place the butter layer directly on top. Note - the butter layer should just about reach the edges of the dough after it is rolled out, so plan your preferred size accordingly.

Visually separate the dough into thirds: Starting at the left, fold 1/3 of the dough to the right, over the middle 1/3, and fold the last 1/3 to the left, over the first fold. Refrigerate until just firm (~20-30 minutes), rotate clockwise 90 degrees, lightly flatten into a rectangle, and repeat. Continue this process until desired number of layers is reached (I repeated ~2 hours).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Croissant Shape: After forming the layers in Step 2, lightly flatten the dough into a large rectangle (a bit less than 1/4" in height). Cut the dough into squares. Then cut the squares into triangles. Firmly holding two corners of the triangle against the counter, lightly stretch the triangles and roll the wide edge toward the narrow point (See Filling below). After the croissant is formed, rest the narrow point underneath the croissant and curve the ends inward and connect. Allow the croissants to rest for 20 minutes on the baking pan. Brush each croissant with the egg wash prior to baking. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until croissants have a golden crust. Set aside to cool. Note - reduce the heat by 25 degree increments if the oven tends to run at a higher intensity or reduce time to 12-15 minutes.

Filling: In a food processor, blend the almonds, almond extract, butter, and sugar until smooth. In the wide side of the triangle, spread approximately 2 Tsp of filling on each croissant before rolling.

Glaze: Dissolve the powdered sugar with the almond extract and water until smooth. Drizzle onto the cooled croissants and sprinkle with sliced almonds, if desired.

Nutrition Info (1 serving): (Coming Soon!!)
Calories , Total Fat: g, Sat. Fat: g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: mg, Carb: g, Fiber: g, Sugars: g, Protein: g

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