Easy chocolate-almond croissants

I'm sure you've seen many recipes for making shortcut croissant or pain au chocolat using store-bought puff pastry.  So while this is hardly earth-shattering, I'm actually pretty psyched about it because this almond version has a baton of almond paste tucked into it that makes it a world better (in my opinion, anyway) than those without.  Admittedly, I'm biased because almond paste is one of my favorite baking ingredients.  Hopefully, you enjoy it too...
This was really just an exercise on my part to use up ingredients.  I have puff pastry in the freezer after my last experiment and thought I'd use some of it to make a simple breakfast.  Not surprisingly, my son enjoys pain au chocolat so I thought I'd make a few.  To make things a little more interesting, I went with this chocolate-almond version.  They're filled with dark chocolate and a baton of almond paste (just almond paste rolled into a baton or log shape).  It's convenient that I often have leftover almond paste in the refrigerator so this all came together very easily.
Dark chocolate and almond paste filling
The almond paste warms but stays intact after baking and in a bite, the fragrant, sweet almond flavor plays really well with the dark chocolate.  It also adds a touch of chewiness against the crisp, flaky texture of the croissant.  There's certainly nothing wrong with a regular pain au chocolat - in fact, I made an extra, plain one for my son - but the almond paste inside and the sliced almonds on top add another layer of flavor that we really, really liked.
A plain pain au chocolat on the left
Since I have no faith in my ability to produce that croissant shape, I went with the simple fold/roll-up method that's the signature shape of pains au chocolat anyway.  I've attempted the croissant shape before, with embarrassingly unattractive results.  I never can seem to get the hang of twisting the dough correctly so that it comes out looking like a croissant rather than a twisted crab.  I'll be sticking with this simple method from now on.

I literally made just 3 of these babies for our breakfast.  If you're using a sheet of puff pastry, you can make 6, cutting the dough downward along the folds into three pieces first, then slicing again crosswise to make a total of 6 rectangles.  I assembled them the night before and covered them snugly with plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator.  In the morning, I topped them off with a little egg wash and sliced almonds before baking.
I believe that traditional, or "true", almond or chocolate-almond croissants are made with day-old croissants that are split in half and filled with almond cream and topped with almond slices before baking again.  To me, using almond paste and store-bought puff pastry is a good shortcut.  No doubt, these chocolate-almond croissants would be markedly better made with homemade puff pastry.  If you've done that yourself, I applaud you.  But since making puff pastry is not on my to-do list, this is the kind of recipe for me.


To make the chocolate-almond croissants, take a sheet of defrosted puff-pastry, unfold it, and cut straight down following the folds to make 3 long strips.  Then cut each into 2 crosswise for a total of 6 pieces.
For each piece, take a teaspoon of almond paste and roll it between your palms to make a log shape a little shorter than the width of your pastry.  Lay it in the center of the cut pastry.  Take about a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips (or chopped/broken up chocolate of your liking) and place it around the almond paste.  (If making plain pain au chocolat, simply use about double the amount of chocolate and omit the almond paste.)
Fold the bottom third of the pastry over the almond and chocolate filling.  Brush the top third of the pastry with some water (or egg wash if you've prepared it already since you plan to bake these right away) and fold it down to make an envelop.  Gently press on it to make sure it's firmly sealed.
Turn the package seam side down and set it over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  It's not necessary but if you want to make a neater presentation, you can take a sharp knife and trim the edges of the pastry (where the openings are).
If making this in advance, cover with plastic wrap before storing in the refrigerator overnight.  I also placed a sheet of damp paper towel over the plastic to make sure it was securely covered (to prevent drying).  I'm a little paranoid sometimes.

If baking right away, brush the tops of the pastry with some egg wash (a lightly beaten egg mixed with about a tablespoon of water) and place some sliced almonds on top.  
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until golden and puffed.  Let cool slightly and enjoy them still slightly warm.
These turned out might tasty and so easy to make.  Now...time to think about what else to try for breakfast!  : )


Recipe:

Easy Chocolate-Almond Croissants
Adapted from Daphne Oz's recipe via The Chew

- Makes 6 petite croissants - 

1 sheet (half package) of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
6 teaspoons almond paste 
6 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 egg (for egg wash)


If planning to bake croissants right away, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Make egg wash by lightly beating the egg with 1 tablespoon water.

Unfold defrosted puff pastry onto a work surface.  Cut down along the folds  to make 3 rectangular strips.  Then, cut each rectangle again crosswise to make 6 equal rectangles.

For each croissant, take one teaspoon of almond paste and roll it between your palms to make a log shape a little shorter than the width of the pastry.  Lay it in the center of the pastry and add a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips around it.  Fold the bottom third of the pastry up to cover the filling.  Wet the top third of the pastry with egg wash (or water works also) and fold it over the pastry to make an envelop.  Press down gently to make a tight seal.  Place seam side down onto the baking sheet.  If making in advance (up to 12 hours), cover with plastic wrap to prevent the puff pastry from drying out and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Before baking, lightly brush the top of the croissants with egg wash.  Place some sliced almonds over the top of each.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden.  Remove croissants from the oven, let cool a bit, and enjoy while still slightly warm if possible.




50 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Turned out better than I expected, which is always a good surprise. Thanks, Angie!

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  2. Monica, these look awesome!! I love almond paste as well!

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    1. I looove almond paste...Thank you for checking in!

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  3. Monica, These look as gorgeous as those from any pastry shop. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.

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    1. You're too sweet, Joan...thanks so much! Hope you try it...super fast and easy.

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  4. I make really similar croissants, too! They are so easy and delicious!

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    1. I agree, Georgia! I've done them before with chocolate - it was a Nigella Lawson recipe I saw on her show. Mine came out horrific looking but still tasty. I'm glad I learned to keep things even simpler with the basic fold!

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  5. Chocolate croissants are high up on there on my list of loves. Is there anything better than a chocolate croissant to start your morning off? Really great recipe, thanks!

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    1. Pamela - can I be totally honest and say that croissants are not actually something I usually crave. I made it more at first for the boys in the house. Croissants are much better with chocolate but now I found out they're far better still with almond paste!

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  6. Love how pretty these croissants look Monica! The almond paste and chocolate filling sound amazing together - the perfect combination! What a fantastic breakfast to start off the day too and love how easy this is to put together too. Yum, I'm craving one now, these look so delicious:)

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    1. Thank you for the kind words always, Kelly! You are very sweet. These did come out surprisingly decent (given my poor track record) and I do recommend the almond paste-chocolate combo for anyone fans of them individually!

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  7. There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking shortcuts, in my opinion! Who has the time to make dough from scratch all the time? I have some almond paste in the pantry so I think I'll have to give this one a try! Sounds yummy and I adore croissants of any kind. Thanks for sharing this post with us Monica! :)

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    1. Oh yes - quick, easy recipes are the driving force of my life, too. Sometimes I want a project but most of the time, easy (and tasty) is much preferred! I know lots of delicious things are busy coming out of your kitchen but hope you have time to squeeze this in...

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  8. I just made a galette de Rois but didn't think to make a version with chocolate. Great idea!

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    1. I had to look up what ...de Rois...was! Got it! Sounds way harder than this though! : )

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  9. Oh this looks delicious, Monica! I love that this uses almond paste, and I'm sure it tastes amazing with Nutella too! (:

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    1. I'm a broken record on this: I love almond paste! And I'm a big fan of nutella on pretty much anything or just on a spoon.

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  10. This is one of my favorite treats, can't wait to try making them at home.

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    1. Hope you do! Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. They look pretty neat and attractive. If I can find gluten free puff pastry from somewhere I will take no time to make this.

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    1. You should see the ones I made where I tried to get them croissant shape - not attractive at all! I hope there's such a thing as gluten free puff pastry so you can make it.

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  12. they're beautiful! and i am ALL ABOUT using store-bought puff pastry for this; i'm still afraid to try making that from scratch. someday, but for now, premade puff RULES. :)

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    1. Thanks, Shannon. I just have no desire to make puff pastry...mostly because it's not something I want to eat in any major quantity. Oh, and the crazy about of work involved could be another deterrent. I'm happy with this shortcut too.

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  13. They look really good!! I can impress my family with this recipe for sure ;)

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. It is one of those things that looks fancy when all you did was defrost, stuff, fold, etc.

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  14. Very pretty results! I think I might have a bit of frozen puff pastry and a bit of almond paste that could be paired this way. Awesome! At one of our local bakeries, I actually prefer the almond croissants (they call them twice-baked, I guess with the whole day before, baking again thing) over the chocolate twice-baked ones.

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    1. That's not the first time I've heard that preference. I think the "real" almond-croissant was created as a way to use up day-old croissants...pretty smart. This is pretty different but really tasty.
      You can try it with and without the chocolate to see which you prefer. I'm sure it would be good without the chocolate but since I use almond paste instead of almond cream, the chocolate helps add that bit of melty, warm goodness...

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    2. I guess you're right about the almond paste. It would be different. Good thought with the chocolate. :)

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  15. thanks for the recipe, i love to have that right now.

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  16. I make croissants using Pillsbury or Trader Joe's. I never thought of making croissants with puff pastry! I want to give this a try!

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    1. Hope you try it next time to make croissants, Nami.

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  17. So, these are not only almond paste stuffed but almond paste AND chocolate-stuffed!! You're killing me here!

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    1. Yes, why not, eh? : ) Since I'm using almond paste instead of almond cream, the chocolate adds a nice, looseness to the filling, I figure...

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  18. Just mouthwatering....looks delicious!

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  19. hehe...I always take my "short cut" and make croissants out of puff pastry too. They are so easy. Your chocolate almond croissants look so delicious. :P

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  20. Puff pastry croissants?! I want this in my life!!

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    1. You could whip this up in a heartbeat, Kiran! : )

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  21. Puffy chocolatey croissants? Heaven!

    Cheers
    CCU

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  22. Hi Monica!

    It looks delicious! I ment to say thanks for stopping by my new site - its still a work in progress. (Lol) And also, I know it has passed, but Happy Birthday to your son. You did a great job as usual.

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    1. I really appreciate the birthday wishes for the little one, Arlene! Thank you! I loved checking out your blog - it looks fantastic! I want to see more food, please! : )

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  23. This has so many yummy things in it. I know my husband would LOVE it. He was just telling me at dinner today how much he love croissants!

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    1. Thanks, Amy! I'm sure you can pick up some mighty fine croissants in the city so there's probably little motivation for you to make some but if you ever have extra puff pastry, why not!

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  24. I'm in agreement--using store-bought puff pastry is perfectly okay! The idea of warm chocolate almond croissants straight out of the oven is irresistible :) Now I'm craving them.

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    1. Thank you, Tiffany. I'm all for easy if the end result is something yummy.

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  25. Almond croissants are my absolute favorite! You are a wonderful baker - these look amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tricia! I love almond-flavored baked goods and most nuts in general.

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