A while back I turned on the TV to watch an episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. A show I'd never seen was on just before it: Dessert First with Anne Thornton. She was making croissants the easy way with puff pastry. Frozen puff pastry is such a time-saver and this recipe reminded me of Ina Garten's ambrosial puff pastry sticky buns, although not quite as decadent. These simple croissants would make a super company breakfast as you can make them the night before, refrigerate and bake them in the morning. I tried them recently and we loved them. Easy peasy and why haven't I made these before?! (You probably have.) Biting into one of those warm crusty almond croissants was a little mouthful of heaven.
Ms. Thornton got a tad carried away with her cutting directions so I just did it freehand, but I'll include her involved instructions below. I only had semi sweet chocolate chips in the house, but it worked, although next time I will use a piece of bittersweet chocolate. The almond croissants ought to have had some sliced almonds on top, but I didn't have any of those either. Next time.....
Chocolate and Almond Croissants
Adapted from Dessert First with Anne Thornton
Flour, for dusting, if needed
4 (1/2-ounce) semi sweet chocolate bars, each broken into 4 equal pieces
1 large egg, beaten
Sugar, for sprinkling
1/2 (7-ounce) package almond paste, divided into 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pieces, shaped like a log or rolled into a ball
Almond slices, for garnishPreheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 1 sheet thawed puff pastry on the work surface like a sheet of paper or portrait. If the puff pastry is very sticky, very lightly flour the work surface. Using a pizza cutter or kitchen shears, cut the puff pastry in half, widthwise. Using a ruler as a guide, make an indentation at 2-inch intervals (for the base) across the bottom of each puff pastry half. Cut each half into 8 triangles, with the base of each triangle measuring 2 inches. (They will be very long isosceles triangles.) You'll end up discarding the 2 end pieces to get the most out of your puff pastry piece. This sheet of triangles will be reserved for the chocolate croissants. Repeat the cutting for the second puff pastry sheet that will be used for the almond croissants.
For the chocolate croissants: Place 1 chocolate piece just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the chocolate as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the chocolate. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and chocolate. Place the pastry rolls on the baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.)
Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
For the almond croissants: Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond paste, shaped like a small log, just above the 2-inch edge of 1 pastry triangle, folding the dough over the almond paste as you tightly roll up the dough, enclosing the almond paste. Repeat with remaining puff pastry triangles and almond paste. Place the pastry rolls on a baking sheet, seam-side down. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until the dough firms up. (You can make these croissants 1 day ahead up to this point.)
Just before baking, remove the croissants from the refrigerator, brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with sugar and sliced almonds.
Bake until the pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.