I’m always up for a baking challenge so when Julie over at Willow Bird Baking challenged her readers to make croissants, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I love croissants, but like donuts, I rarely eat them because of how bad they are for you. But there’s just something about making something from scratch that makes it seem less bad for you. I guess because you have to put actual time and effort into making it instead of just going into a store and buying it. Plus, it’s Brandon’s birthday this week and that is one of the 4 times of the year (along with my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I let myself eat whatever I want without feeling guilty about it.
And these croissants? Are absolutely worthy of much guilt, but they’re just way too delicious and way too much work to feel guilty about. I mean, I made these croissants. From scratch. All by myself. That is an accomplishment, not something to feel bad about. These croissants taste better than any that I’ve had from a bakery or store. It could just be because I made them myself, but still, they practically ooze buttery goodness.
When you read through the directions (that fit on 3 full pages when I printed them out) this recipe seems really daunting, but it turned out to be much easier than I imagined. It doesn’t matter if you have experience making bread or pastries. Do you know how to fold a sheet of paper in thirds to fit in a standard sized envelope? Then you know how to fold the dough correctly.
The issue is time, because you really need a full weekend to make these. The first day you mix up the dough, knead it (your mixer can do most of the work), and fold it. Folding only takes a few minutes, but each time you fold it you have to put it back in the fridge to chill for an hour. The dough is folded a total of 4 times, so that takes a while. After the folding is done, the dough chills overnight. The next day you roll out the dough, cut it into little triangles, stretching a little so they look like slices of pizza and then rolling them up into the croissant shape. Finally, they just need to rise for a few hours and then you can bake them. Even though it takes a few days, the actual hands-on time of making these is only a couple of hours.
I also like that you can make these ahead of time (up to shaping them) and freeze them individually. Pull a bunch out of the freezer whenever you want, give them about 3 hours to thaw and proof and you’ll have fresh, hot croissants for your Sunday Brunch or any other special occasion.
This recipe shows how much I suck at math, though. I halved the recipe to make 12 , but I still somehow wound up with 24 croissants. They were just mini croissants instead of full-sized! But their cute size made up for the fact that they were kind of misshapen. If in doubt, go ahead and make the full recipe and freeze half of them. That’s a lot easier than trying to figure out the correct dimensions.
So, are you up for a challenge? Julie took the time to write out all the directions really clearly and helpfully (including diagrams and videos!), so please visit her site to get the recipe. These croissants are so much fun to make and absolutely worth the time and effort. You’ll feel like a baking superstar afterward!