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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!
Of course if you do want to make chocolate-almond croissants from the very beginning, we have a recipe for that:
And if you're looking for even more ways to use up stale or sad croissants, look here:
What's the best croissant you've ever had? Tell us about it in the comments.