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Plain and Chocolate Croissants

Posted Jan 25 2013 9:00am

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My second attempt at croissants was even better than the first.

First of all, I bought myself a real rolling pin – one with some weight. My old rolling pin might as well have been a toy. It was wooden and weighed nothing, like nothing at all. When I made croissants last year using that rolling pin, my arms and abs were sore for days from me leaning on it over the kitchen counter, trying to get it to roll out the layers of butter and dough.

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Second, I kinda knew what I was doing this time – not completely, but sort of.

See, I’ve got two obsessions going on right now. One is croissants, obviously. But the other is It’s Complicated, thanks to hearing about it over and over again from Jessica . I finally rented it a few weeks ago, and then I bought it the next day. And now…I’ve been watching it every few days. Sometimes more than once a day.

It’s a little bit of a problem.

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Basically, I want to live inside the movie. I want Meryl’s house and kitchen and furniture and dishes. I want to own / work / live in her bakery. I want to be her daughter and hang out with John Krasinski. I love it all.

And after one of the funniest scenes in the movie, Meryl and Steve Martin end up at her bakery making chocolate croissants, which is why I’ve been thinking about them nonstop for the past few weeks.

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Sure, she has a sheeter, since it’s a bakery – and I don’t have one of those. I just have a real life rolling pin now. But sheeter or not, everyone can make croissants….and I think everyone should, at some point.

Most croissants are made with a yeast dough, and that’s the way I made them the first time, but this time I wanted to cut a little of the prep time off and see how they worked with a homemade puff pastry dough instead.

I took my favorite pie crust recipe and make a few adjustments (mainly, taking some of the butter out of the actual dough since there’s so much folded into it later), and prayed that it would work.

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They definitely tasted a tiny bit different without the yeast in the dough, but they still baked beautifully, with layers and layers of golden dough and butter.

If you’ve never baked croissants, you’re missing out. I don’t know that there’s anything that smells as good as croissants baking in the oven, butter pouring out of the layers. It’ll make you cry a little bit – but in a good way.

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Puff Pastry Croissants (no yeast!) – Plain and Chocolate
Makes: 8-16 croissants, depending on size and filling

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter, chilled and diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water
  • 3 sticks butter, slightly softened
  • dark chocolate for filling (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and pinch of salt. Cut the diced butter into the flour mixture (using your hands or a pastry blender) until the butter is mostly incorporated into the flour and it feels a little like cornmeal.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of ice water to the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork until you have a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you need more water, add it 1 tablespoon at a time, gently mixing until the dough holds together.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before making the first fold.
  4. Take the other 3 sticks of butter and place them in between 2 sheets or plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, press the sticks of butter together and roll out until you have a sheet of butter, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. This doesn’t need to be perfect – it just needs to be somewhat flat so you can fold it into the dough. Wrap the butter and chill it for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, take the dough and the butter out of the fridge. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (about 10″x15″). Place your sheet of butter in the center of the dough and fold each side of the dough over the butter, like a letter you’re about to put into an envelope. Roll the dough back into a large rectangle, about 10″x15″, fold the sides in over the center again, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. You’re going to repeat this rolling out and folding at least 4 times.
  6. After your 4th fold, take the dough out of the fridge, roll the dough back into a large rectangle and slice into 8 pieces. For classic croissants, cut each piece into 2 triangles and roll each piece up starting with the long end. If you want to fill them, you can leave them in the larger squares or put the chocolate in the triangle shape before rolling up.
  7. Brush each croissant with the beaten egg and bake the croissants at 400 degrees on a baking sheet for 15-18minutes, until they are puffed and golden.

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