With croissants of course.
Pain au chocolat especially.
Deliver a few of those and she’ll let me spend the whole weekend laying on the couch watching football. Laminated pastry may or may not have the same effect on your spouse but you won’t know until you try, will you? So here, if you’ve ever wanted to know, is how to make a great croissant.
Start with the croissant dough recipe here. I generally only make about half the finished dough into croissants right away. The rest I freeze for another time (even on her best dayMrs. Pastry couldn’t put away two dozen of these things).
So, starting with about a 1 1/2 pound (24 ounce) piece of dough, or half a recipe (you can freeze the other half for another time) roll it out into a sheet about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. The precise dimensions aren’t terribly important since there is always some overage and trimmings. Speaking of which, trim away any curves.
To make standard croissants, cut the dough into rectangles about 4 inches by 8 inches.
Cut the rectangles from corner to corner into triangles.
You’ll be left with a piece of dough that isn’t quite symmetrical, but that’s OK, the dough is stretchy. Cut a short slit in the fat end.
Gently tug the corners apart and fold the edge over.
Now, using two hands (not shown) gently tug the point downward as you roll the dough up. You’ll want a long, skinny point at the end…
Which you’ll tuck underneath the roll like this, see? This roll is a little long, should be a bit shorter and fatter, but you try this and take pictures at the same time!
Now all you do is lay them out on a sheet pan to proof. Brush them gently with egg wash trying not to get any on the exposed edges, which will glue the layers together. My trick is to brush outward on the various layers on one side, then flip the pan around and do the other side. Works for me.
Let them proof 1-2 hours until they’re puffy but not totally soft. Like a fresh marshmallow, not like a cotton ball which is too much. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake them for 10 minutes at 400, then lower the temperature and bake another 10-15 at 375 until very brown.
Pain au chocolate (“chocolate bread”) is even easier. For that you just cut rectangles about three inches by five inches. Drop about half an ounce of your favorite chocolate on the end. Here I have a piece of chocolate cut from bar which I warmed in the microwave to make sliceable (2 or 3 five-second shots on high). Use a dark chocolate for this job.
Then just roll it up!
Brush with egg wash, proof and bake just like regular croissants.
For best eating, let them cool down to room temperature…if you can resist them that long.