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Before we dive into today's recipe—the epic croissant brownie—I'll clarify my stance on "mash-up" recipes. In this era of cruffins and cronuts and so forth, I remain open-minded. A recipe should taste excellent, no matter what. If it happens to be creative and inspired by something funny, like smooshing together a muffin and a croissant, great! But I steer very clear of recipes that go for novelty just for novelty's (or Instagram's) sake.
At first glance, a croissant brownie might seem like exactly that. But this dessert is rightfully worthy of your time. It's delicious and decadent and, yes, a little bit more fun than a regular brownie. The idea sparked from an article I saw in an old British food magazine on Easter leftovers, including hot cross buns. The author recommended tearing up the buns and mixing them into a brownie batter.
Intriguing, I thought. Would they get soggy and soft? Would they add any flavor? Would the batter bake up properly? I decided to give the method a shot, but using a more universally available pastry: the croissant. This sounds particularly problematic, as the real draw of a croissant is the flaky, delicate layers. But somehow when you bake bits of croissant into brownie batter, they stay light and flaky.
You end up with pockets of buttery, ethereal pastry dotted throughout the brownie. Each bite is a marriage of dense, fudgy, chewy chocolate and rich croissant. Somehow the addition of the croissant changes the texture of the brownie, too. It's still moist, but it's almost airy. One taste tester said it reminded them, in the best way, of an Aero chocolate bar.
I'm not a food scientist, but I suspect that the add-ins of pastry cause the heat to distribute differently throughout the batter, breaking up the density.
Whatever the reason, they are stupendous and unusual. Given how successful this experiment was, I'm already turning over the possibilities in my mind. Why stick with one dessert you love when you can have two at once? We know and love cheesecake brownies, and now we love croissant brownies, so let's carry on! I'm considering adding bits of pie crust to brownie batter, or chunks of nougat or snickerdoodle cookie dough.
Could I tear up a cinnamon roll and mix it into brownie batter? Why not. A soft-baked sugar cookie? I think so! Cheers to a newer, better kind of a baking novelty.
- 150 grams (~10 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 200 grams (~1 cup) dark chocolate (I use 60%)
- 175 grams (~7/8 cup) sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 75 grams (~2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large croissants, torn into bite-size pieces