It's getting to that time of year when you start thinking about Christmas. Not just gifts but also the little rituals we indulge in around the holidays. The smell of croissants has always reminded me of Christmas morning....but of course they were just being reheated from wherever my Mum had bought them! I have always wanted to make my own croissants but fearing my inept pastry skills coming to haunt me once more I have always chickened out. But I was trying to think of a nice accompaniment to a Christmas gift for a friend who loves hot chocolate, well hot drinks in general....and while there's no shortage of ideas out there for Christmas gifts for tea and coffee lovers, I thought what a nice idea it might be to present a batch of homemade croissants with a luxury hot chocolate. After all, apart from a latte, I don't think anything goes better with hot chocolate than a croissant!
They actually are not that hard to make, it's just a somewhat protracted process! If you wanted these baking on Christmas morning, you'd have to start them on Sunday December 23rd :)
I was so proud of these little babies, there's something so satisfying about making these yourself. It's definitely worth it! And they were absolutely delicious.
But do not be tempted to make these dairy free. Using soy milk will make the dough a bit heavy. The key is to make croissants that are light and flaky!
Based on Mireille Guiliano's recipe in French Women Don't Get Fat
Sunday Night (or Friday night if you want to eat them on a Sunday morning - but I'll give instructions for Christmas morning!)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm milk. Measure out 2 ¼ cups flour and add 2 tablespoons of this flour to the milk and yeast. Whisk until smooth, and then cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 20 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Meanwhile, mix the sugar and salt with the remaining flour. Prepare your mixer by putting on the dough hook attachments. I did this in a food processor with a flat paddle blade which seemed to work fine.
Next, transfer the raised dough of milk, yeast and flour to the mixing bowl. Warm the remaining ¾ cup of milk and add it to the bowl. Turn the mixer to high (or just pulse the food processor) and gradually add in dry ingredients of flour, sugar and salt. Reduce the speed to low and allow it to mix until the dough is sticky and soft. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Monday (Christmas Eve) Morning
12 tablespoons (roughly 250g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons flour
Cover your work table with flour. Remove the dough from the fridge and begin to shape it into a 6 inch x 15 inch rectangle. It's handy having a tape measure for this! Spread the butter on the top 2/3 of the rectangle of dough leaving a ½ inch border around the outside.
Fold the dough like a letter, folding the bottom 1/3 up first and then the top 1/3 down. Turn it counter clockwise so the open flap is to the right.
Roll it out again to a 6 inch x 15 inch rectangle and fold again. Transfer to a baking pan, cover tightly with cling film and put back in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Monday (Christmas Eve) Afternoon
Remove the dough from the fridge, place on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough and fold just like during the morning. It's quite fun seeing the dough splashed with yellow butter in places! Do this two times, wrap it again and refrigerate it overnight.
Christmas Morning (almost done!)
2 tablespoons milk for brushing
1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk for glaze
Plan to start this process about 2 hours before you want to eat the croissants. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Roll it out to a 16 inch circle. Cut the dough into quarters and each quarter into 3 triangles.
To make each croissant, roll the wide base of the triangle towards the top corner. It's very easy and fun! You can also add a filling at this stage too. I decided to put a square of sea salt chocolate in two of the croissants which Tom and I both agreed was a stroke of genius ;)
Transfer each one to a baking sheet. Brush with milk and then let them stand for about 45 minutes. They should double in size. Tip: don't let them stand too long otherwise the butter will start melting! I went for a run while waiting. I figured I probably should!!
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Brush each croissant with the egg and milk glaze. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If they brown too quickly lay a piece of foil over the top during baking. Let them cool 20 minutes before serving.
Seriously, you will be so impressed with yourself that you made these! And they made the perfect accompaniment to a hot chocolate, just as I suspected :D
Have you ever made croissants before? What are your tried-and-true gifts for tea and coffee lovers?
This post contains some sponsored links.