5 Ingredients or Fewer

Croissant Brittle

October  6, 2018
14 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

This scrappy idea hails from Sea Wolf bakery in Seattle. There, they take day-old croissants and turn them into magic. Co-owners Jesse and Kit Schumann kindly told me about their method, which inspired my own development here. You can use any type of croissant—from a bakery or the supermarket, fresh or stale. Best served with coffee. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of our Big Little Recipes. Read more here: 3-ingredient Croissant Brittle Is as Life-changing as It Sounds. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Croissant Brittle
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Serves 8
Ingredients
  • 4 croissants
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 300°F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. Using a serrated knife, slice the croissants—horizontally, as if you were making a sandwich—into thin slices (figure 1/4- to 1/2-thick). Depending on the croissant, you should be able to get about 3 pieces out of each.
  3. Heat the half and half on the stove over low heat until very warm. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar has totally dissolved. Pour into a shallow bowl.
  4. Using your hands, dip one croissant piece in the syrup and flip over to completely coat. Gently squiiiiiish the soaked piece between your fingers to squeeze out some excess. (It should still be soaked, just not dripping.) Transfer to a lined sheet pan.
  5. One sheet pan will be for bigish pieces (roughly 5 x 3 inches). The other will be for smallish pieces (roughly 3 x 2 inches). These cook for different amounts of time, so dividing them will come in handy soon!
  6. Repeat with the remaining croissant pieces, spreading them out on the sheet pans evenly. Sprinkle each croissant piece with a little sugar.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes, rotating the sheet pans halfway through: top to bottom, front to back. At the 45-minute mark, check in with the brittle. The smallish pieces are probably done—remove that sheet pan from the oven. The bigish pieces probably need another 5 to 10 minutes. The brittle is done when it is deeply browned, with the outside the color of dark caramel and the inside, honey. It shouldn’t be crispy to the touch, but fairly firm, with very little give. (Just be quick and careful when touching, since the sugar is hot.) When the brittle cools, it should be completely crisp, with no give at all. If it has cooled for 10 to 15 minutes and still feels softish to the touch, just continue to bake for another 5 minutes, then check again.
  8. Cool on the sheet pan until you can easily remove the brittle. The easiest way to do this is slowly peel the parchment away from the brittle, not the brittle away from the parchment. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. This keeps for well over a week in an airtight container—though we don’t expect you to have it around that long.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

50 Reviews

cem December 20, 2020
These are THE BEST. Every year, I bake some sort of treat—muffins, quick breads, cookies, gingerbread cakes, mini-bundt cakes, whatever—to deliver to neighbors for the holidays. This year I made Croissant Brittle and within minutes of deliveries, a couple of neighbors called to say this was the best treat I’ve ever delivered. I did follow the suggestions in the reviews and freeze the croissants to make it easier to cut them into thin slices. And in addition to making several batches of above recipe, I also tinkered—at reviews’ suggestions—and made some chocolate batches by adding 1 tablespoon cocoa to the cream/sugar mixture and then topping with cinnamon. They were also delicious although I think you need to sprinkle the cinnamon very heavily to get its flavor; I thought I had but the flavor was pretty subtle.
 
cem December 20, 2020
These are THE BEST. Every year, I bake some sort of treat—muffins, quick breads, cookies, gingerbread cakes, mini-bundt cakes, whatever—to deliver to neighbors for the holidays. This year I made Croissant Brittle and within minutes of deliveries, a couple of neighbors called to say this was the best treat I’ve ever delivered. I did follow the suggestions in the reviews and freeze the croissants to make it easier to cut them into thin slices. And in addition to making several batches of above recipe, I also tinkered—at reviews’ suggestions—and made some chocolate batches by adding 1 tablespoon cocoa to the cream/sugar mixture and then topping with cinnamon. They were also delicious although I think you need to sprinkle the cinnamon very heavily to get its flavor; I thought I had but the flavor was pretty subtle.
 
L P. November 17, 2019
Love these. They have become my family’s most requested treat lately. I too discovered that freezing the croissants first makes them much easier to slice especially with a serrated bread knife. The slices defrost quickly and freezing does not hold up the simple process of making these at all. Topping them with sliced almonds and a shower of Bob’s Red Mill decorative sparkling sugar dresses them up and tastes great too. Not that they need that at all. Thanks for the other riffs suggested below, they sound great.
 
Carrie October 21, 2019
I keep meaning to add that, if needed, these re-heat/re-crisp VERY well in a toaster oven. Inadvertently, I cut a couple of slices too thick and/or over-soaked them so they were still a little chewy when the rest of the batch was done to perfection. Since I still had a couple of other pans to cook, I let them cool with the rest of that batch. Several folks actually preferred the slightly chewy texture, but the next day I crisped them up a bit in the toaster over, and they were great. I did the same thing with another batch which had become soggy overnight because I stored them in a closed tupperware container before they were completely cool. Truly, you can NOT go wrong with this recipe!
 
Charlotte S. October 6, 2019
This is one of the best things I have probably ever eaten! I did make 1 adjustment the 2nd time, by accident, because my husband thought he was doing me a favor and froze my croissants! I was upset at first but it ended up being a good idea because they are easier to slice when frozen!
 
Carrie September 27, 2019
Wowza! I'm mot usually in the habit of commenting on year-old blog posts that I have only just discovered, but I would be remiss in not sending a huge THANK YOU for this recipe! I too Googled "stale croissant recipes" to get here, and am so very glad I did! For my first (of endlessly forthcoming) experiments with this, I made one tray dipped in high-quality chocolate milk and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar (oh boy!) and one tray dipped in milk/cream flavored with almond extract & sprinkled with sliced almonds & extra sugar (ohhhhh, boy!!!!!) I think these will also work well using milk flavored with almost any of the syrups they sell for coffee or mixed drinks (Hazelnut, anyone?) Eventually, I'm sure I will get around to trying your original version of this, but until then I'm going to have to up my exercise program to take care of all the experimenting I plan to do with this. Thank you again (and again, and again!!)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. September 29, 2019
Wow! The chocolate milk–cinnamon sugar variation sounds amazing! Can't wait to try.
 
Carrie September 29, 2019
I'm seriously considering not making anything other than these as my holiday cookies this year! Thank you again (and kudos for being the kind of person who responds to comments on your posts -- even old ones!)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. September 30, 2019
Thank you for the kind words! Means a lot :)
 
Jenny October 21, 2019
Hi Carrie, you chocolate-almond version sounds divine, I wanna try that! One question though, did you sprinkle the almonds before baking or halfway through? I am afraid that they will burn after 45+ minutes of baking.

Also, Emma, thanks a lot for this recipe (and all your recipes in general, keep them coming please). It was so easy and tasted amazing!
 
Carrie October 21, 2019
Hi Jenny! That's a great question. I sprinkled them on first, and since the oven temp is relatively low they did not burn. Some of the extra sugar sort of crystallized on the nuts too, so it was pretty amazing! My oven is **very** temperamental though, so no telling how hot it actually was in various spots. To be safe, I'm sure you could add them part way through the process. Also, I need to (belatedly) offer a huge apology to Emma about all this. It must drive food bloggers absolutely bonkers to have someone comment with suggested changes before they have even made the original version of a recipe. Mea culpa! By way of consolation, I must also add that my ever-supportive husband, who has been manfully suffering through all of these experiments, is now *begging* me to bring the process full circle and make some "plain" ones...in the interest of research and scientific comparison, of course. His theory is that they will be better to dip in coffee if no nuts and cinnamon are involved. Stay tuned!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 28, 2019
Thanks for the kind words, Jenny!
 
Julia August 29, 2019
I am very happy with how this turned out! Perfect little snack to go with tea or coffee. Thank you! I am so happy to have found this site, your recipes never disappointed me :)
 
Author Comment
Emma L. September 1, 2019
Yay—thanks, Julia!
 
Nancy April 18, 2019
Rats. This is my first try and the bottoms are too dark I believe, very close to being black. I’d love to hear thoughts on what might have gone wrong. A few guesses would be that the baking sheets I used were too thin or maybe my oven needs to calibrated although I’ve not burned anything else and I bake a lot. I got 3 slices out of each whole croissant. Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 19, 2019
Hi Nancy! So sorry to hear the brittle got too dark on the bottom. My hunch is that it has something to do with the oven (maybe one of the racks was placed too close to the bottom? or the temp spiked up higher than indicated?). Curious to hear if anyone else has any ideas!
 
rosecedar December 19, 2018
Made these tonight and I cannot stop myself from having "just" one more bite! They are super sweet. I might add less sugar to the half+half next time.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. December 19, 2018
Yay, so glad you enjoyed! Feel free to skip the sugar sprinkle on top, if you'd like—I love the sparkling look and crunchy texture it adds, but it's not necessary.
 
rosecedar December 19, 2018
Heavens no, I would not skip the sugar on top! I experimented and used regular for some, regular demerara for others, and a special bourbon barrel smoked demerara sugar (am I allowed to say where I got it?) for others. The Demerara sugars added even more sparkle, crunch, and depth of flavor. I also found these were even tastier the next ay. I will be making these on 12/24 for serve Xmas morning - they will be a pre-breakfast "appetizer" and stop people from hovering while I am working on breakfast.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. December 19, 2018
If that doesn't work as a stop-hovering strategy, I don't know what will! :)
 
rosecedar December 19, 2018
Also, I experimented with two different croissant types, and I encourage others to do the same. The one I thought would work less well ended up being the one I preferred as well as the easier one to slice.
 
Pcodi March 11, 2020
Likes “breakfast appetizer!” (I like the way you think!😉)
 
Cathy November 12, 2018
Okay so I had been obsessing over this recipe until finally..... I just did it. I made them last night and OMG, they are soooooo gooood. I now have a fabulous new treat and I think that it may become a problem. LOL
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 13, 2018
So glad you tried and loved the recipe, Cathy—thank you!
 
ElsieB November 8, 2018
Shame on Sea Wolf Bakery for letting this recipe out! Initially, I didn't have white sugar so used caramel flavored sugar (I live in Costa Rica) and added a pinch (or 2😊) of cinnamon. Second attempt, I followed the recipe. Apparently I did something good the 1st time, by accident, as they were better! Love this stuff! Have to hide it from myself! (Brown sugar may work if caramel isn't available to you.)
 
Nancy November 5, 2018
Gahhhhh!!!! Why did I make these?? I am now addicted to these amazing delicious things. We made them for a brunch and they were raved about. Pretty much eclipsed all the other awesome things on the menu. They are just way too easy to whip up too!!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 5, 2018
Aw yay!
 
Sandra E. October 30, 2018
Crisp and delicious, simple to make, and a good way to keep stale croissants from going to waste.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 31, 2018
Thanks, Sandra!
 
Kaitlin L. October 24, 2018
ok i made mine using brown sugar (it was all i had) and full fat milk. the brown sugar made this nice caramel flavor. i did end up adding half a teaspoon more salt.. i also used some nice chunky sea salt (farmed locally in kauai from a friend). omg so good! i think next time i will sprinkle some of the salt on top with cinnamon or nutmeg for xmas!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 31, 2018
Thanks for reporting back, Kaitlin!
 
Regine October 21, 2018
Mine stayed crispy but only lasted 2 days. I think so long as you make sure they were baked to crispiness in the first place as instructed and so long you let them cool completely before storing them, they should remain crispy and fresh for 2/4 days. But this is just an educated guess. O)
 
Kaitlin L. October 24, 2018
i think where you live will play a factor too... hawaii is pretty humid so i dont expect mine to stay as crunchy for more than several days. with the constant open and close of the container.
 
Foteini October 21, 2018
Hello, I was wondering if anyone knows how long / well they keep? Are they worth making ahead to give as a gift or will they go soft in a couple of days? (Naturally I will do them anyway...!)
 
McKenna P. October 21, 2018
I had mine out for about a week and they were still crispy and crunchy! They definitely will do well as gifts.
 
kim L. October 21, 2018
I have had mine in a plastic clamshell container all week and they are still crisp! Just made a second batch! Definitely worth making!
 
ElsieB November 8, 2018
About 30 minutes.....if that! 😉
 
Claudiabeth November 13, 2018
I kept mine in the clamshell, too - still crispy. However, I made them on Sunday, and now (Tuesday) only two pieces remain!
 
Regine October 21, 2018
Super delicious. I used 3 croissants from Trader’s Joe. I was able to slice each in 3. They must have been bigger than those you used because by the time i had the last slice to dip in the syrup, I barely had some left. The croissant brittles were delicious. The only thing is that you may need to be careful so the edges of the brittles don’t scratch your gums. This recipe is a keeper.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 21, 2018
So glad to hear you enjoyed! Thanks for reporting back.
 
Robin October 18, 2018
OMG, my local grocer has good price and good quality on too-many pack of croissants. I am sooo excited to try these out. No more waste!! Thanks so much.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 18, 2018
Yay! Hope you enjoy.
 
kim L. October 15, 2018
Made them this weekend, very easy and they were delicious.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. October 15, 2018
Thank you, Kim!
 
Regine October 15, 2018
I bought the croissants and half&half to make them this week. I cannot wait to try them. What is there not too like! Croissant-flavor and sugary crispiness.

I put the croissants in the refrigerator so they firm up and can be sliced in 3 more easily. I will tell you for sure when I have actually eaten some and provide you more feedback.