Fresh almond croissants baked start to finish are a project fit for a freak out-of-season snow day (or several).
But there's an Ina Garten-how-easy-is-that-esque solution for pulling sugar-slapped, almond-oozing pastries from the oven before your guests/children/hunger pangs wake up: Buy the croissants, but make the almond cream and the sugar syrup.
The day before you want to bake, acquire the croissants, plain or chocolate. (Clotilde says they should be high-quality and in the ideal world, that's true, but this is also your opportunity to take the supermarket croissants that come in vacuum-sealed baggies and give them dignity.)
That same day, make a simple syrup with 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar (3 tablespoons of rum, too, if you'd like a subtle booziness to offset the sweetness). You could even infuse this simple syrup—what, with all the extra time you have.
And then take out a food processor and make almond cream: Try Dorie Greenspan's (more sweet) or Chad Robertson's (less sweet), used in the two recipes pictured above.
The next day, cut the now-stale croissants in half through their bellies, leaving them hinged. Brush the insides with plenty of simple syrup, then spread each with a couple tablespoons of the almond cream. Close the croissants back up, smear with another tablespoon of the almond cream, and sprinkle sliced almonds over top.
Bake at 350° F for 12 to 15 minutes, until the almond cream on the top is set. (If some cream is oozing out of the croissant, this is a good, delicious thing.)
Dust with confectioners' sugar.
Dazzle all of your guests!
And, if you want a chocolate-almond croissant but can only find plain croissants to start with, Clotilde has a trick for that, too: Just add 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the almond cream, sprinkle about a tablespoon chocolate chips inside each croissant, and dust the finished pastries with more unsweetened cocoa powder. Ça va bien!
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Of course if you do want to make chocolate-almond croissants from the very beginning, we have a recipe for that:
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.