Tutorial: French Croissants

Croissants aren’t bread rolls; they’re more than half butter. Croissants, with their 70+ rich and flaky layers, are a must-try item in any French bakery. Regardless, few bakeries can beat a homemade croissant. Even if cutting your croissant doesn’t reveal a cross section with a perfect honeycomb of layers, the buttery treat is sure to impress even the pickiest of eaters.

EDIT (April 1st, 2013): I originally wrote this croissant tutorial on August 13, 2012 and wasn’t completely satisfied with the results. The croissants were delicious, sure, but they weren’t perfect. The pictures were pretty embarrassing as well since the batch came out flat due to improper lamination. I also recently realized that the croissant history I shared was not accurate. My post on French croissants was actually about German croissants. Sigh. I’ve spent a while working on this recipe to significantly improve it, and that’s what this updated post now contains.

If you want to kick your croissants up a notch, you can also check out my Ispahan croissant post with instructions for raspberry, rose, and lychee croissants. You can find it here.

Homemade, fresh, and fluffy croissants

Croissants are made with a yeast-leavened dough that is folded with butter in a process called “lamination”. While baking, the layers of butter give off steam and cause the layers of dough to separate, leaving large gaps. The quality of a croissant can be determined by studying the size of the gaps, since large gaps are a result of proper lamination.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

The world became a better place when hazelnuts met cocoa powder. It became better when hazelnut paste was mixed with cocoa and poured into a jar. It became better when jars of Nutella became bigger, a “bulk” size if you will. In reality though, it’s only a single portion. Nutella is not just a spread. It’s not just refined deliciousness. It’s magic. It can be eaten with a spoon, a fork, or with a finger. It can be eaten with bread, in a tart, or in a frosting. It is the definition of midnight snacking; it is bliss.

Chocolate-hazelnut sponge torte with praline chocolate crunch, nut ganache, and a hazelnut mousse.

How then can one function, or even survive when their Nutella supplies are depleted? How can one not break into tears when only grams of the chocolate-hazelnut spread are left? After all, I would climb a mountain for another jar of the delicious spread. Ferro Rocher is even filled with Nutella, as they’re made from the same company, and they’re delicious as well.

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