If you’ve ever wondered what makes a croissant so delicious, the answer is this: a croissant is entirely comprised of butter rolled into flour.
After baking apricot danishes for my birthday—photos of which I plan to post in the near future—I realized croissants were mine for the making since both are created in the same way (I used recipes from The Joy of Cooking for both). First you need to make a rectangle of butter with a bit of flour patted into it. Next, create a dough of flour mixed with a bit of milk, yeast, and butter. Then it’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait.
Making butter pastries require rolling the butter square into the rolled out dough in sequential single turns (a term used to describe rolling the dough into a rectangle then folding the bottom third up and the top third down like a letter then rotating so the folded side is to the left). For the croissants, it was two single turns the into the fridge for 30 minutes. Then two more and into the fridge for another 15 minutes—you never want the butter to warm up, hence all the cooling. Finally, I rolled the dough into two strips of 24-inch-by-12-inch panels and yes, refrigerated one after they rose for five minutes and I set to cutting the dough into triangles.
But then it was time for the fun. I rolled 12 croissants plain and filled another five with chocolate chips. For the final six, I covered them with the almond paste I’d made for another birthday pastry and had kept in the freezer until today came. (At this point, I made another addition to the freezer, wrapping half the croissants to freeze for another day.) After letting the remaining croissants rise on the counter for an hour and a bit, it was into the oven at 375F for 20ish minutes.
At this point the post office was threatening to close and I needed to run out and mail some packages. Fortunately, croissant-loving Rob was there to hone in on the perfect golden brownness and pull the pastries from the oven when they were done. When I returned, the air in the apartment smelled sweet and the croissants were cooling on a rack.
We had friends stop by and saved the sampling for their visit. The results were overwhelmingly yays—though I’ll likely think twice about the caloric content in a croissant next time I go to order a breakfast sandwich. They were a most excellent, decadent treat though.