How to make twice-baked croissants

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Or in bakers’ terms, one person’s stale croissants are another person’s favorite breakfast treat. We’re talking twice-baked croissants. Almond croissants are the most famous of this genre, but really, no need to stop there! Today I’ll give you a general formula and ideas for how to create the twice-baked croissants of your dreams, plus recipes for both almond croissants and black sesame croissants.

twice baked croissants

It starts with stale croissants

First, you need to get yourself some croissants. If you have access to good-quality day-old croissants, great! But we’re going to leave them out to dry, so I don’t bother making my own or splurging on anything fancy — plain old supermarket croissants work just fine. You can even use pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants) if you want something a little more decadent.

Twice-baked croissants work best with stale croissants — they’ll be primed to soak up more of the delicious syrup we’re going to spread on them. So leave them out, uncovered, for at least a few hours or overnight.

Simple Syrup

With twice-baked croissants, you have several opportunities to layer on flavor. With each of the elements, feel free to get creative to come up with some unique flavor combinations!

The first flavor layer is simple syrup. At its most basic, simple syrup is just sugar heated with an equal amount of water. I like to flavor mine with a little alcohol (rum, whisky, or bourbon), but that’s totally optional. You could add vanilla or almond extract, or if you want to get fancy…

  • Infuse citrus zest or herbs in the syrup (add it to the syrup after the sugar has dissolved and let infuse until the syrup cools, then strain before using).
  • Replace the water with lemon juice for a lemon simple syrup.
  • Replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar.

Frangipane

I’ve waxed on about my love for frangipane, or almond cream, on more than one occasion here. A mixture of butter, sugar, egg, and almond flour, frangipane is like the secret sauce of pastry chefs. It’s also the delicious filling and topping for our twice-baked croissants, and another opportunity for added flavor.

You can customize your frangipane in a few ways:

  • Replace some or all of the almond flour with another kind of ground nuts or seeds — think walnuts, pecans, pistachios — or in my example below, black sesame seeds.
  • Replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar or another sweetener like honey or maple syrup. With liquid sweetener, I usually use only 3/4 the amount (by weight) since they taste sweeter than regular sugar.
  • Experiment with additions: spices/citrus zests/extracts/alcohol are easy ways to start, but you can even try adding a little mashed banana or pumpkin puree or melted chocolate or cocoa powder. These additions may take some dialing in to figure out ideal proportions, but frangipane is pretty flexible and you can add a little extra flour if needed to give the cream some structure.

The topping

The final element to a twice-baked croissant is the topping. After spreading on a bit of frangipane for glue, sprinkle on chopped nuts / seeds / coarse sugar for visual interest and texture.

If you’re using a special infused simple syrup for your croissants or prefer a sweeter pastry, you can brush some syrup over the top before spreading on the frangipane.

Traditionally, twice-baked croissants get showered with icing sugar before serving. But you could definitely go a little crazy here too — citrus zest, freeze-dried fruit powder, drizzled melted chocolate, salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, etc.

Time to get creative!

So there you go: play around with the flavor elements of a twice-baked croissant to come up with your own delicious pastries! Here are a few ideas to whet your creativity:

  • Chocolate Hazelnut: Day-old pain au chocolat / brown sugar simple syrup / use ground hazelnuts for frangipane / top with chopped hazelnuts and dusting of cocoa powder or melted chocolate
  • Pistachio rose: Day-old croissant / rose-infused simple syrup / use ground pistachios for frangipane and add a couple drops of rosewater / top with chopped pistachios and edible rose petals
  • Cinnamon apple: Day-old croissant / cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup / add cinnamon to the frangipane / add a layer of apple compote or apple butter under the frangipane / top with pieces of freeze-dried apple and a shake of cinnamon
  • Raspberry, lemon, almond: Day-old croissant / lemon simple syrup / add a layer of raspberry jam or compote under the frangipane / top with extra lemon syrup, pieces of freeze-dried raspberries, and a shaving of lemon zest
  • Chocolate orange: Day old pain au chocolat / orange simple syrup with grand marnier / honey frangipane with orange zest / top with dusting of cocoa powder or melted chocolate

Baker’s notes:

  • Twice-baked croissants are a great make-ahead treat. You can prepare both the simple syrup and frangipane ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to assemble! You can even freeze leftover croissants and then defrost them night before you want to whip these up.
  • If you want to add an extra layer of flavor, spread some fruit jam, curd, or compote onto the croissants after the simple syrup and before the frangipane.

assembling twice baked croissants
almond croissant on plate

Twice-baked croissants, two ways

Makes 8 croissants | Adapted from Baked to Order

Ingredients:

For the simple syrup:

  • 65g (1/3 c) granulated sugar
  • 80g (1/3 c) water
  • 1 Tbsp rum (optional)

For the almond frangipane (makes enough for 8 croissants):

  • 100g (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g (1/2 c) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g (1 c) almond flour
  • 16g (2 Tbsp) all purpose flour

For the black frangipane (makes enough for 8 croissants):

  • 100g (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g (1/2 c) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g (1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp) roasted black sesame seeds, ground
  • 20g (3 Tbsp) almond flour
  • 16g (2 Tbsp) all purpose flour

To assemble:

  • 8 day-old croissants
  • Sliced almonds or black sesame seeds/pearl sugar, for garnish
  • Icing sugar, for garnish

Method:

  • Make the simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and stir in the rum (if using). Pour the syrup into a heat-safe container and cool to room temperature. (Syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.)
  • Make the frangipane: You can make frangipane using a food processor, electric mixer, or bowl + wooden spoon. Beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla (mixture will look curdled; this is normal). Fold in the flours until evenly combined and smooth. (Frangipane can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months; bring to spreadable room temperature before using).
  • Assemble and bake the croissants: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) with a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Split the croissants horizontally, leaving one edge attached. Brush the insides liberally with simple syrup. Spread about 1 1/2 Tbsp of frangipane on the bottom halves of the croissants (reserve about 8 Tbsp for the tops of the croissants). Close the croissants, then spread the remaining frangipane over the tops of the croissants and sprinkle with the sliced almonds or sesame seeds/pearl sugar. (If you like your twice-baked croissants extra-sweet, you can brush the tops with any leftover syrup before adding the frangipane; but I usually don’t.) Bake until the frangipane is puffed and golden on the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack, then enjoy slightly warm or at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar right before serving, if desired. Twice-baked croissants are best the day they’re baked, but you can store leftovers for a day or two in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat for a few minutes at 300F to refresh.
black sesame croissant cross section

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